As a creative person, you’ve most likely seen the gorgeous artwork and photography of Geninne Zlatkis over the years: you can’t miss her signature watercolor and ink designs, her photography that captures the dreamlike lighting and quietly beautiful details of her surrounding landscapes, and her innovative use of pattern throughout her artwork, hand-carved stamps, and all-around aesthetic. (If you’re like me, you’ve also fallen in love with her dog, who makes appearances from time to time in her photos.)
Geninne’s book, Making an Impression: Designing & Creating Artful Stamps, is a tangible extension of her style and talent, and it’s filled with everything you need to know about carving stamps and using them in uniquely brilliant ways. Today we’re sharing one of Geninne’s projects with you, Stamped Gift Tags, which is perfectly timed for summer birthdays, weddings, and all-around pretty gift giving.
Creating and using hand-carved stamps is a very accessible craft: once you learn the basic process of carving a stamp (safely!), you can create works of art ranging from petite embellishments to layered, repeating patterns designed for fabric, walls, and more.
The few tools and materials you need to create stamps are readily available and easily stored, which makes this a great project for popping in your on-the-go summer bag and working on while you have pockets of free time. The Hand-Stamped Gift Tags are designed to be made with blank tags of varying shapes and sizes, and we’ve included a template for the fish design at the end of the project instructions.
Download the free PDF of the Hand-Stamped Gift Tags from Making an Impression by Geninne Zlatkis, and continue reading to hear what Geninne has to say about her own introduction to stamping, her preference for stamping on paper, and tips about types of ink pads.
To make these stamped gift tags you’ll need:
Tracing paper (for drawing and then transferring your design)
Bone folder or small spoon
Rubber carving block or white rubber erasers
Linoleum cutter with No. 1 and No. 5 tips
Craft knife or utility cutter
Ink pads in colors of choice
Blank tags in a variety of shapes and sizes, or an assortment of decorative paper
Here’s what Geninne has to say about selecting paper for your stamps:
“Always choose acid-free, archival paper; it will ensure your creations won’t deteriorate with time. But you can stamp just about any type of paper. Watercolor paper in various finishes, smooth to rough, is a versatile heavyweight paper to use. The projects use just about any paper you can imagine. Make sure you have ample scrap paper around, too; you’ll use it when testing out your newly carved stamps to make sure the impressions are even.”
And here are Geninne’s tips about ink for your stamps:
“All of the projects in this book were done using pre-inked, acid-free, archival, picment ink pads. You can easily find them in a range of colors in craft stores or office supply shops. When printing on fabric you must purchase ink pads that are specifically made for textiles. Most fabric inks must be heat set with an iron.
Ink pads come in different shapes and sizes. The standard rectangle shape is perfect for most applications. However, the smaller cat’s-eye pads come in handy when I want to apply a dab of extra color to a stamp.”
In Geninne’s words:
“I’ve been passionately curious about how things are made since I was a little girl. I was always fascinated by office supplies like date and number stamps, seals on my passport, and chops on different official documents. When I was a kid, playing teacher wouldn’t have been the same without having a stamp to use on all the make-believe tests I had to grade from my dolls.
The first time I ever thought about making my own stamps was a long, long time after my school years. I saw a beautiful wooden tray full of hand-carved wine corks in Gwen Diehn’s book, The Decorated Page. I was intrigued with the possibility of not only creating my own designs but being able to print them in multiples.
After I purchased a linoleum cutter, a box full of white erasers, and a black ink pad at the local office supply shop, I was instantly hooked. I found I could spend hours at carving, which, to me, was both relaxing and meditative. It made me smile when I remembered that my paternal great-grandfather was a master wood-carver and that he must have also spent hours and hours enjoying this wonderful craft.”
Learn more about Geninne at her blog: http://blogdelanine.blogspot.com/
Follow Geninne on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/geninnesart
Find Making an Impression online and at your local bookstore.