• Wooden Stamps

Length of Project:
Project theme:
Suitable for grades:
Tools & Materials
Material List
  • Wood – 1” to 2” (2.5-5cm) diameter dowels, clear branches, etc, or scrap rectangular blocks
  • Materials to make texture indents, ie, various nuts, screws, old screwdrivers, awls or punches
  • Water-based paint and paper to test stamps
Tool list
  • Hand saw
  • Sandpaper (various grits)
  • Vice
  • Hammer
  • Safety glasses
  • Paint brush
  1. Cut your branch or dowel or scrap wood to approximately 2” lengths. Gently sand the rough edges of your stamp.
  2. Secure your stamps one at a time in the vice so that the face you want to put your design on is raised by about ½" or 1cm.
  3. Wearing your safety glasses, experiment with making patterns in the top of your stamp by placing objects on top and tapping them with your hammer. For example, use a Roberts head screw driver to make a pattern of little squares all over your stamp. Deeper patterns tend to give better results when you get to the paint-stamping part, so make sure you hit with the hammer hard enough to indent the wood by about 2mm or 5/64”, or experiment until you find what depth gives the best effect.
  4. Gently sand the stamp face again to make sure there are no high points that could pierce your paper.
  5. Try your stamp out! Paint the designed face with water-based paint, and stamp it onto paper. Experiment with different amounts of paint you apply until you get the desired effect.
Extension Challenges
  1. Try drawing a simple shape or letter into the stamp face and carefully chisel out the letter itself or the spaces around it.
  2. Search online for “block printing fabric” to learn some history about wood stamps and to find inspiration for more complex designs and ideas.
  3. Try this with used corks for a unique background effect in your stamp.
  4. Use fabric paint and stamp a texture or design onto a t-shirt, reusable shopping bag, old jeans, canvas sneakers, etc. Be sure to experiment thoroughly on scrap fabric before stamping into your final product.
  5. Use your stamps to make texture on clay projects in art class.
  6. Add a scalloped or textured edge by scraping with a round or triangu file.
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