Stamp Making

31 05 2010

Many years ago, I heard about this hobby called Letterboxing, which is sort of like a low-tech, crafty version of geocaching. The idea is that you create yourself a stamp and a booklet, then follow clues you find online to various letterboxes. The boxes include a book of their own and a stamp that belongs to that box. You exchange stamp marks with the box, so that everyone who has been to a particular box leaves their unique mark there and then your own book ends up looking like a traveler’s passport. Or this is how I understand it, anyway, I have never actually done this. Yet. Part of what is holding me back is that I tried it once, at the Olympic Training Center here in town, but the box was missing. But a bigger part is that I didn’t really understand how to carve my own stamp and it somehow seems less personal to buy a pre-made stamp. And it’s not like I have a major resource full of free craft-making instructional videos at my fingertips. So, a few weeks ago, this subject came up at our knitting (and other fibers) group and there just so happened to be a mama there who’d been carving stamps since she was a kid, so she brought a kit and taught us all how to do it. Here’s what I learned.

Michael’s didn’t have the fancy stamp-carving kit I was hoping for, but they did have a set of carving tools. The stamp-carving ones were smaller, but these work fine for me, a beginner. I happened to have a few white erasers leftover from last year’s Back to School clearance, so I pulled them out and got to work. Since the stamp for your letterbox should be personal, I decided I’d use the zebra belly from this blog’s banner, which was originally from a photo I took years ago on a trip to the zoo. I can’t imagine being anything but ZebraBelly at this point.


I sketched the design onto a piece of paper (you can also trace a design using tracing paper), and made sure to leave a nice, thick layer of pencil lead (or whatever it is these days). Positioning the paper, drawing side down, where I wanted it on the eraser, I rubbed it with my thumb nail to transfer the pencil to the eraser.

image applied

When I carved, I made sure to carve the parts that I wanted to appear white.


When I was finished, I neatly rounded the edges and tested it out. You can re-carve as needed, but I was happy with mine. Next step: create or buy a book to record stamps in! And then to find my first real letterbox!

stamp finished!



12 responses

31 05 2010

love this! can i link to it on my blog? great job bons.. love the zebra belly in all its forms.

31 05 2010

Totally! Thanks! 🙂 ♥

31 05 2010

done ❤

31 05 2010

um. cuz “done” is less than three.

31 05 2010


31 05 2010
bethany actually

Very cool! I love the zebra stamp. It’s perfect for you.

31 05 2010
you made it so: hand-carved stamp | i made it so.

[…] bonnie also mentioned letterboxing, which is the second time today that i’ve heard that term. well, she explains it all here. […]

31 05 2010

Cute, cute!
Great tutorial!

31 05 2010

that is so cool!! 🙂

31 05 2010
Nancy S

Go find a letterbox now! It is so much fun. I got lost trying to find my first box but I found the next three with no problem. Last Friday I posted about letterboxing on my blog. I don’t know if my post will enlighten you any further but I put up a picture of one of the stamps from a journal (I took off the name part of the stamp to be discreet) so you can get some idea of what kind of artwork you’ll find. Treasure hunting meets art. Perfect.

1 06 2010

That is so cool! Your stamp came out very nicely.

1 06 2010

I so very much want to make a stamp now! You could even say I crave making one. Har, har, har.

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