Howdy there!! Welcome to 2012 (a month late)!!
After a long time away from my dear blog I’m back and ready to bring this thing back to life. I’ve had a difficult time balancing the normal stresses and time constraints of motherhood, family duties, volunteer work, work work, and my extra activities but I’m determined to find some more time to post here because it makes me happy and keeps me sane. So thats that.
DIY Custom Rubber Stamps (portrait stamp design)
For my sister’s 30th b’day I wanted to do something a little extra special. I racked my brain for a while and visited Etsy and Pinterest in hopes of finding inspiration. I make my sister stuff all the time, and didn’t want to bombard her with yet again another handmade doo-dad, but her hubby said that my handmade stuff is what she likes most. She already has paintings of mine hanging in her house, she has plenty of jewelry from me, what else could I do. Think. Think. Think. Browse. Browse. Browse. Ding! Lightbulb moment. I came across this amazing website called Simon’s Stamps. My sister likes making handmade cards and such (she is super crafty and makes all kinds of adorable things) so it hit me that I could design her some custom stamps and get her some funky colored ink pads. YES. DONE. Thank you Simon, I think I will.
But what kind of stamps? Hmmmm…. After much scribbling and doodling and debating, I finally remembered that a friend of mine had once had a stamp of her face that she used on some of her price tags on her craft fair merchandise. I remember thinking how much I coveted her cute stamp and how I needed to remember that for later. Well hello later! So I decided to make Christen (my sis) a stamp of her gorgeous face so that she could use it for her handmade stuff that she often makes for craft fairs and gifts for friends and family. But then I thought she could probably use a stamp of her and her hubby to use on invitations and cards as well. Needless to say, in the end I ended up designing and ordering 4 diy custom rubber stamps: One of her face, one of her and her hubby, one of their son (to add to her and her hubby’s if she ever feels the need), and one of their name. Once I started designing them, I couldn’t stop! I even ended up designing one for me and Daniel! I also ordered her a few fun colored stamp pads to go with it. Anyway, Simon’s Stamps is really reasonably priced, easy to use, and had quick delivery. I’ll definitely be using them again. Maybe I’ll make a custom pet stamp of her dog Charlie to add to the collection. :)
Well, would you like to know how I made my designs? You’ll be surprised by how easy it was and once you know the tricks, you’ll be addicted and will want to make one for every face you know!
Okay then, here we go:
Cost: $9 + depending on what size stamp you order (mine were mostly 1.5″x1″)
- A good photo of the person’s face who you are making the stamp for.
- Access to the internet (to use Picnik) or access to other simple photo editing software.
- A printer.
- A black marker.
- A window.
- A scanner (if you don’t own a scanner, you can do a bit more work on the photo editing and omit the “artsy” part of this project. Or you can download a scanner ap on your phone and use that).
1. First thing to do is find your photo(s). I perused my sis’s facebook page to find the photos I used to create her stamps.
I used the one above (but I just gave her bangs since she typically wears bangs) for her individually portrait stamp as well as for her couple stamp. Its about the only picture where her and her hubby are close together and he is actually smiling with teeth. ;)
The one below is the pic I used to create the stamp of their son Carter. He seriously looks like the “Gerber baby” in this pic. So cute!
2. Now just simply save your photo to your computer and upload it to your photo editing program. As you know I use Picnik, its cheap, easy, and I love all the features. Open your photo up in your editing program.
If you need to, crop around the faces to get rid of the excess photo space.
3. Play with the exposure and contrast a bit until you begin to see more defined lines. What we’re trying to do is create somewhat of a posterized line drawn image.
4. Now just use your “Effects” tools (if you’re using Picnik) to get as close to a posterized look as you can without losing too much detail. Be conscious of the fact that you want the end product to really look like the person, so try to keep distinct characteristics present while editing. I turned my pic to black and white, boosted the contrast (using “Boost”), and slightly posterized it by using “HDR-ish” and “Posterize”.
5. Once you have a pretty good template made up that you think you can work with, save it and print it off. *TIP* The larger you print the pic, the easier you will be able to “tweak” it with your black marker by hand.
6. Now is where you summon up the courage to get a little artsy. Take your printed image and another clean sheet of computer paper to the nearest window (or light box if you happen to own one). Use a piece of tape to tape the image to the window and tape the clean piece of paper over it.
7. Now, simply trace over the most prominent lines, smoothing out any rough spots or bumps. Omit anything that just “muddies up” the design. Do this IN PENCIL first. Then, take down your pics and tweak your new design until you get it simple and smooth enough. Then simply color it in with your black marker. C’mon, its not that hard, I know you can do it!! :)
Above is what my design looked like after I had done step 7 and scanned it into the computer.
8. Scan your new black and white design to upload it back on to your computer. Be sure to choose “black and white” in your scan options (it will save a step later).
9. Unless I wanted all those little white spots to be in my final stamp, I needed to “color them in”. I did this by using Picnik’s “Doodle” tool which is basically a paintbrush to go over all my dark areas that needed it until I saw negative (white) space in all the right places. I also used the “Posterize” tool at the end again to just round out any rough edges.
The end result and finished design was this!:
10. Now simply save your new design to your computer and then follow the instructions on Simon’s Stamps page (go to “Custom Made Art Mount Stamps” in their sidebar, and decide how large you’d like your stamp to be). Upload your design, order it, and wait for your friends and family to be amazed, thrilled, flattered, and impressed when you give them their very own custom portrait stamp!
Here is a look at the Schneider family stamped on paper:
So CUTE right? Anyway, Christen LOVED her new stamps and I LOVED making them. I hope you do too!
P.S. These would make fabulous wedding or engagement gifts! Also, you could use this same technique to create custom artwork (Warhol style?) and other fun stamps of all kinds of things, people, creatures, etc. Go. Stamp it up my friends.