This is going to be a bit of an epic post as far as photographs go. We had a lot of fun messing around with lumps of plasticine and an old stamp pad, and I figured you'd probably like to see a load of examples of what went on, to give you lots of ideas. I've always been rather fond of rubber stamps and my kids love playing with rubber stamps too, but they are expensive, and so we only have a set of upper case and lower case alphabet ones from their great grandpa Norman and a couple of random cheap plastic ones. If you are like us and want a cheap and creative alternative to an expensive rubber stamp collection then this might be just right for you.
I started off not with plasticine at all, but with a few of the red wax wrappers from babybel cheese. I was wondering if we could use them to make our own stamps with, so I smooshed them onto a lone Jenga block and made some patterns in it.
It worked, but the wax was a bit too hard for the kids to comfortably make the shapes they wanted, so I got out the box of plasticine that we use with goggly eyes to make creatures (remember from this post from April last year?) The kids still played that game inbetween all the stamping fun. Here's the "circle time with a teacher" that my four year old made :) I think the plasticine we used was Rose Art, but it's so old that I'm not entirely sure. That's something else that I love about plasticine - it's virtually indestructable (unlike playdough, which we use for many crafts, but would be awful for this one). This plasticine is at least two years old and still going strong. I have fond memories of our primary school's plastic tray draw full of gnarly lumps of grey playdough that must have been at least as old as the teacher :)
The plasticine was much much easier for the kids to manipulate into the stamps that they wanted. I had a lot of fun with this too! The stamps that you can make in this way have an interesting property to them, in that the more you stamp them, the more the shape changes because the plasticine is so pliable. That might seem like a disadvantage, but it actually gives things a really nice organic flowing and unexpected feel that I quite like. No two impressions from each stamp are exactly the same.
I suppose if you wanted to have a stamp that remained the same for many impressions then you'd just have to stick it in the fridge for a bit to make the playdough harder. I kind of like how temporary these are though and that you have to keep making more from the older ones.
Here are a few examples...
I made the leaves and petals and stamped a sunflower with them, which Carys coloured in. Ffion had a go at making her own sunflower.
Carys asked for me to make her a sun, so I made five stamps, one for the rays (you can see how the shape changes during multiple stampings quite well from the rays of the sun), one for the mouth, one for the eye, one for the nose and one for the eyebrow. Later on she painted it beautifully and it's now up on our wall in the livingroom. I love the texture of how the ink applies to the paper with this!
We also tried rolling out a layer of plasticine onto some scrap wood for the kids to draw into and print from. That worked out really well too. We dabbed the stamp pad all over it and then squished the paper on top.
In the afternoon we stamped the kid's names using impressions from our fridge magnets. We smooshed the magnets front face into the plasticine and pulled them back out again to make the backwards letters that would print the right way around. Then we decorated the edges of each letter stamp.
The cool thing about stamping the letters in negative was that the kids could colour them in with pencils after.
We cut out a lot of our experimental stamps and they made collages and coloured them too.
Once the kids were in bed I had a play around with the plasticine and stamp pad myself and made some postcard note thingies. I'm liking how instant and yet temporary this process is. You can't make more than a couple of cards before you need to fashion a new stamp, so even though you are stamping, each card is unique. I think I might splash out on a couple of different coloured stamp pads now. White would be very cool to stamp on the brown paper! Totally a grown up craft as well as a kid craft!
Whilst writing all this up I thought I'd go have a look on the interwebs to see if anyone else had posted anything about stamp making with plasticine and to my astonishment there was only one thing I could find. A post here on Paper Crafts for Children, showing one stamp used with paint. This technique is so much fun and so flexible and open ended that I figured surely we wouldn't be the first people to wonder about experimenting with it, but there you go, so that's why I decided to put so many images in this post. You should so have a go! Using the stamp pad with the plasticine doesn't ruin the plasticine either in case you were wondering.
We've done a couple of other unusual printing techniques over the years. In case you are interested, here are a couple of links to them.
1. Printing with laser cut felt shapes (last year).
2. Printing with foam shapes on rolling pins (two years ago).