written by:
December 10, 2010

Hello, friends! Welcome to Home Work, a new column on dwell.com. We’ll be visiting artists, designers, and creatives you know and love and introducing you to some whom you haven’t yet met; checking out the latest—and greatest—DIY, crafting, and how-to books; and sharing projects large and small for you to take on along with us. My hope is that each post will ignite a little spark and inspire you to start something new, or give you an idea to add to something you’re already working on. First up: 'Tis the season for sending your love via holiday cards.

Many moons ago I bought a stamp-making kit on a whim and to date it has been one of the best, most satisfying purchases ever. Between all the random prints here and there, I’ve been meaning to make (and send! gotta send ‘em....) holiday cards forever. Fin
Many moons ago I bought a stamp-making kit on a whim and to date it has been one of the best, most satisfying purchases ever. Between all the random prints here and there, I’ve been meaning to make (and send! gotta send ‘em....) holiday cards forever. Finally, on this grey, rainy, cozy weekend in San Francisco, I up and went for it. In the time it took to watch a few films—I opted for an Alan Rickman holiday-double-feature of Die Hard followed by Love Actually—I had a stack of festive postcards printed and ready to post. Here’s what you'll need to do it yourself. Materials: -1 pencil with an eraser -1 transparency sheet -water-soluble block printing ink (a 1.25oz tube will work, in however many colors you’d like to use) -1 hard rubber brayer -A2 (4.25”x5.5”) notecards (I went for postcards because they’re cheaper to send than regular letters and you don’t have to futz around with an envelope, but you can, of course, use whatever you like) -1 linoleum cutter -a couple sheets of scrap paper -e-z cut printing block
1 / 14
Ah, deciding what to stamp. Here’s where the pencil comes in handy. Doodle around on a piece of paper first just to get a little something down, if you like. For the stamp itself, I always draw straight onto the rubber because I’ve found the less precious
Ah, deciding what to stamp. Here’s where the pencil comes in handy. Doodle around on a piece of paper first just to get a little something down, if you like. For the stamp itself, I always draw straight onto the rubber because I’ve found the less precious I can be about getting things precise and perfect, the better they seem to turn out—so I’m all for putting aside a pattern and seeing what comes to you. You can erase lines you don’t like (just be sure not to etch into the slab with your lead)—just have a go and start drawing. If you’re a newbie, the bigger and less intricate designs will be the easiest to carve. And don’t forget, if you’re using words, you have to write backwards. I have made that mistake many a time without realizing it until finishing my first print. D’oh!
2 / 14
Keep that in mind that whatever you carve away will be inkless. If you want an inky background, carve into the lines of your design, and if you’d rather have your design hold the ink, carve around the line on either side—making it whatever thickness you’d
Keep that in mind that whatever you carve away will be inkless. If you want an inky background, carve into the lines of your design, and if you’d rather have your design hold the ink, carve around the line on either side—making it whatever thickness you’d like—and cut away the rest. This may seem pretty basic but I have gotten mixed up myself before and unexpectedly made stamps in reverse-relief. That being said, sometimes the best results come from accidental moments; If you think you’ve messed up, don’t abandon ship. See what you can make of it.
3 / 14
When you’ve got your stamp the way you want it, you’re ready to ink it up.
When you’ve got your stamp the way you want it, you’re ready to ink it up.
4 / 14
I use a transparency but you can probably use any non-porous, flat surface for the inking. Give a little squeeze of ink in the middle, roll the brayer around until it's covered, then roll it over your stamp. You can also see pretty clearly at this point i
I use a transparency but you can probably use any non-porous, flat surface for the inking. Give a little squeeze of ink in the middle, roll the brayer around until it's covered, then roll it over your stamp. You can also see pretty clearly at this point if you haven’t carved in deep enough in some places (those spots will hold the ink where you don’t want it), so feel free to go back and etch out any parts you forgot.
5 / 14
Here are a few testers I did before I started printing on my cards.
Here are a few testers I did before I started printing on my cards.
6 / 14
Place the stamp on the paper (you can see a previously failed attempt on the reverse of my cone here). I tap the back a bit all over, just to make sure all the surface has touched, then carefully lift it off without rubbing it around across the card.
Place the stamp on the paper (you can see a previously failed attempt on the reverse of my cone here). I tap the back a bit all over, just to make sure all the surface has touched, then carefully lift it off without rubbing it around across the card.
7 / 14
Voila! Success! Re-roll the brayer on the ink and stamp before you use it each time. I knew I was going to have the red Santa hat to add, so I made a bunch of these golden cones, laid them flat all over my apartment, waited for them to dry, then did the n
Voila! Success! Re-roll the brayer on the ink and stamp before you use it each time. I knew I was going to have the red Santa hat to add, so I made a bunch of these golden cones, laid them flat all over my apartment, waited for them to dry, then did the next round of red inking on each.
8 / 14
The festive finished product.
The festive finished product.
9 / 14
It’s cool when you see your motley crew of prints together because they’re all a little different.
It’s cool when you see your motley crew of prints together because they’re all a little different.
10 / 14
Here are a few others stamps that I have done. Strangely, they’re all flora or fast food. Hrm.
Here are a few others stamps that I have done. Strangely, they’re all flora or fast food. Hrm.
11 / 14
This big burger came very close to being be-Santa-hatted on these cards instead of the ice cream cone.
This big burger came very close to being be-Santa-hatted on these cards instead of the ice cream cone.
12 / 14
Works on so many levels.
Works on so many levels.
13 / 14
And this one speaks for itself. Happy stamping!! And stay tuned for further make-and-do fun, including a sneak peek video for Meg Mateo Ilasco's brilliant book, Crafting a Creative Home, a little something special with the always-awesome Christine Schmidt
And this one speaks for itself. Happy stamping!! And stay tuned for further make-and-do fun, including a sneak peek video for Meg Mateo Ilasco's brilliant book, Crafting a Creative Home, a little something special with the always-awesome Christine Schmidt of Yellow Owl Workshop (get her book, Print Workshop!), and adventures in crocheting.
14 / 14
Many moons ago I bought a stamp-making kit on a whim and to date it has been one of the best, most satisfying purchases ever. Between all the random prints here and there, I’ve been meaning to make (and send! gotta send ‘em....) holiday cards forever. Fin
Many moons ago I bought a stamp-making kit on a whim and to date it has been one of the best, most satisfying purchases ever. Between all the random prints here and there, I’ve been meaning to make (and send! gotta send ‘em....) holiday cards forever. Finally, on this grey, rainy, cozy weekend in San Francisco, I up and went for it. In the time it took to watch a few films—I opted for an Alan Rickman holiday-double-feature of Die Hard followed by Love Actually—I had a stack of festive postcards printed and ready to post. Here’s what you'll need to do it yourself. Materials: -1 pencil with an eraser -1 transparency sheet -water-soluble block printing ink (a 1.25oz tube will work, in however many colors you’d like to use) -1 hard rubber brayer -A2 (4.25”x5.5”) notecards (I went for postcards because they’re cheaper to send than regular letters and you don’t have to futz around with an envelope, but you can, of course, use whatever you like) -1 linoleum cutter -a couple sheets of scrap paper -e-z cut printing block

Click through to the slideshow for a quick-and-easy way to stamp your very own.

Stay tuned for further make-and-do fun, including a sneak peek video for Meg Mateo Ilasco's brilliant book, Crafting a Creative Home, a little something special with the always-awesome Christine Schmidt of Yellow Owl Workshop (whose chock-full-of-awesome book, Print Workshop, comes out Deember 28), and adventures in crocheting.

Join the Discussion

Loading comments...

Latest Articles

45 dva 2270 persp1 cmyk 0
The prospect of retirement doesn’t just signal the end of a career; it offers the chance to recalibrate and re-prioritize in life.
July 25, 2016
18
You don’t have to choose between sustainable energy and curb appeal.
July 19, 2016
jakemagnus queensland 1
Each week, we tap into Dwell's Instagram community to bring you the most captivating design and architecture shots of the week.
July 06, 2016
content delzresidence 013 1
Each week, we tap into Dwell's Instagram community to bring you the most captivating design and architecture shots of the week.
June 29, 2016
abc malacari marwick stair 01 0
A simple set of stairs is a remodel’s backbone.
June 28, 2016
Design Award of Excellence winner Mellon Square.
Docomomo US announces the winners of this year's Modernism in America Awards. Each project showcases exemplary modern restoration techniques, practices, and ideas.
June 27, 2016
monogram dwell sf 039 1
After last year’s collaboration, we were excited to team up with Monogram again for the 2016 Monogram Modern Home Tour.
June 27, 2016
switch over chicago smart renovation penthouse deck smar green ball lamps quinze milan lounge furniture garapa hardwood
A strategic rewire enhances a spec house’s gut renovation.
June 26, 2016
young guns 2016 emerging talent coralie gourguechon treviso italy cphotos by coralie gourguechon co produced by isdat planche anatomique de haut parleur1
Coralie Gourguechon's paper objects will make you see technology in a whole new way.
June 26, 2016
green machine smart home aspen colorado facade yard bocci deck patio savant
Smart technology helps a house in Aspen, Colorado, stay on its sustainable course.
June 25, 2016
Compact Aglol 11 television plastic brionvega.
The aesthetic appeal of personal electronics has long fueled consumer interest. A new industrial design book celebrates devices that broke the mold.
June 25, 2016
modern backyard deck ipe wood
An angled deck transforms a backyard in Menlo Park, California, into a welcoming gathering spot.
June 24, 2016
dscf5485 1
Today, we kicked off this year’s annual Dwell on Design at the LA Convention Center, which will continue through Sunday, June 26th. Though we’ve been hosting this extensive event for years, this time around is particularly special.
June 24, 2016
under the radar renovation napa
Two designers restore a low-slung midcentury gem in Napa, California, by an unsung Bay Area modernist.
June 24, 2016
Exterior of Huneeus/Sugar Bowl Home.
San Francisco–based designer Maca Huneeus created her family’s weekend retreat near Lake Tahoe with a relaxed, sophisticated sensibility.
June 24, 2016
light and shadow bathroom walnut storage units corian counter vola faucet
A Toronto couple remodel their home with a special emphasis on a spacious kitchen and a material-rich bathroom.
June 24, 2016
Affordable home in Kansas City living room
In Kansas City, an architecture studio designs an adaptable house for a musician on a budget.
June 23, 2016
modern lycabettus penthouse apartment oak vertical slats office
By straightening angles, installing windows, and adding vertical accents, architect Aaron Ritenour brought light and order to an irregularly shaped apartment in the heart of Athens, Greece.
June 23, 2016
kitchen confidential tiles custom cabinetry oak veneer timber house
A modest kitchen addition to a couple’s cottage outside of Brisbane proves that one 376-square-foot room can revive an entire home.
June 23, 2016
feldman architecture 0
Each week, we tap into Dwell's Instagram community to bring you the most captivating design and architecture shots of the week.
June 22, 2016
Blackened timber Dutch home
A modern dwelling replaces a fallen farmhouse.
June 22, 2016
hillcrest house interior kitchen 3
Seeking an escape from bustling city life, a Manhattan couple embarks on a renovation in the verdant Hudson Valley.
June 22, 2016
angular
Atelier Moderno renovated an old industrial building to create a luminous, modern home.
June 21, 2016
San Francisco floating home exterior
Anchored in a small San Francisco canal, this floating home takes its cues from a classic city habitat.
June 21, 2016
modern renovation addition solar powered scotland facade steel balcony
From the bones of a neglected farmstead in rural Scotland emerges a low-impact, solar-powered home that’s all about working with what was already there.
June 21, 2016
up in the air small space new zealand facade corrugated metal cladding
An architect with a taste for unconventional living spaces creates a small house at lofty heights with a starring view.
June 21, 2016
young guns 2016 emerging talent marjan van aubel london cwai ming ng current window
Marjan Van Aubel makes technology a little more natural.
June 21, 2016
urban pastoral brooklyn family home facade steel cypress double
Building on the site of a former one-car garage, an architect creates his family’s home in an evolving neighborhood of Brooklyn.
June 20, 2016
Modern Brooklyn backyard studio with plexiglass skylight, green roof, and cedar cladding facade
In a Brooklyn backyard, an off-duty architect builds a structure that tests his attention to the little things.
June 20, 2016
the outer limits paris prefab home living area vertigo lamp constance guisset gijs bakker strip tablemetal panels
In the suburbs of Paris, an architect with an eco-friendly practice doesn’t let tradition stand in the way of innovation.
June 20, 2016