Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Making a Soap Stamp

Finished tea pot stamp
Handle ready to attach to stamp
I need a stamp for my soap and even though I have found a few I liked they are not cheap.  Since I don't have a lot of spare money right now, I thought that I would make my own.  This will also allow me to make what I want.

The attempt in hot glue
I decided that I wanted to use my "trademark" for it.  I may make another one if I can get this one to turn out the way that I want it to.  I started by printing out the letters in the desired size.  After my glue gun heated up I started to layer the glue over the paper.  BTW, I covered the printed area with packing tape so the glue would come off of the paper.
First finished stamp

After getting several layers of glue together, I tried to carve the glue and let me just say that the inside edges were less than easy to carve.  After several attempts, I figured that there had to be a better way.  So I started trying to think of anything that would last and hold up, but that can be carved.  I came up empty for several hours, then I thought of using oven baked clay.
Ready to go into the oven

I worked up the clay and got it nice and smooth.  Next I took a printout of the figures that I wanted to use and cut around all of the edges.  I cut into the clay to leave an outline.  This gave me the beginnings of my design.  The clay was easy to carve, but I had to be really careful not to smoosh ( I know it's a highly technical term.  ;) ) my design in the process.
Sanding the surface of the stamp smooth

 After getting the carving done, I then shaped a handle out of clay.  This was the easy part.  After that I placed all of the pieces in a cake pan, placed another cake pan upside down over the top and clipped it with flat metal clips.  Then I put the entire thing in my toaster oven for half an hour.

Trimming edges
After the pieces came out of the toaster oven, I put the handles on the backs of the stamps.  I looked at the stamps surface and saw that the surface was irregular.  I knew that you could sand the clay after it was baked, so I pulled out a piece of sandpaper.  Be aware that sanding the clay produces a LOT of very fine dust.  This is not good to breathe so be careful if you do this.  After sanding, I took my Exacto and trimmed the edges that needed trimming to make them smooth.  After getting everything smooth and trimmed, I went to make an impression on clay.  The letters were backwards.  ARRRGGGG!

Re-make due to backwards orientation

So I used the stamp to make an impression on a thick chunk of prepared clay.  Then I cut out the design using the stamped image as a guide.  After I got everything cut out I used a small paintbrush handle to smooth out the inside areas.  After I baked the second stamp, I finished it the same way that I finished the other one.  As you can see, the stamp works nicely on clay.  I hope it works half as well on freshly cut soap.  I don't currently have any freshly cut soap at the moment, but as soon as I do I will show you the results.

Stamp in clay

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