Wooden Stamp

Length of Project:
Project theme:
Suitable for grades:
Tools & Materials
Material List
  • Wood branch or dowel (approx 1" or more in diamater)
  • Acrylic paint
  • Paint brushes
  • Nail
  • Sandpaper (various grits 80-220)
Tool list
  • ruler or tape measure
  • Hand saw
  • Vise or clamps
  • Hammer
  • Safety glasses
  • Dust mask
  • Gloves
  • Optional Extras for extension challenges

  • Corks
  • Different kinds of wood sticks
  1. Using the saw, cut your branch or dowel or scrap wood to approximately 2" to 3” lengths. Each of these will become a stamp. If you don’t want to use a saw, you can make one large stamp instead.
  2. Sand the rough edges of your stamp. Lay your piece of sandpaper on a sturdy table. Holding the paper in place, rub the surface of your wood in a circular motion over the surface of the sandpaper. Start with the roughest grit and move towards the finest grit until you get a very flat surface. You can test this by inking your wood on a stamp pad and pressing it on a scrap piece of paper. If the whole surface prints, then it’s nicely flat.
  3. Secure your stamps one at a time in the vise, or with clamps, so that the face you want to put your design on is raised by about 1⁄2" or 1 cm from the vise, clamps, or table surface .
  4. Wearing your safety glasses, experiment with making patterns on the top of your stamp by placing objects on top and tapping them with your hammer. For example, use a Roberts-head screwdriver to make a pattern of little squares all over your stamp. Deeper patterns tend to give better results, so make sure you hit with the hammer hard enough to indent the wood by about 2 mm or experiment until you find what depth gives the best effect.
  5. Gently sand the stamp face again to make sure there are no high points that could pierce your paper.
  6. Try your stamp out! Use your brush to cover it in water-based paint, and stamp it onto paper. Experiment with applying different amounts of paint until you get an image you like.
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 other wood sticks you can find around your neighbourhood, or with corks, for a unique background effect in your stamp.
  4. Use your stamps to make texture on clay or with fabric paints to decorate tee-shirts.
  5. Add a scalloped or textured edge by scraping with a round or triangular file.
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