Sep 19, 2010

plasticine stamp printing

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).

Happy stamping!

97 comments:

Chantal said...

This is brilliant! I love that you can design as you wish but then also create moulds - like off that pirate coin. My kids are going to love this (maybe as much as me!) Thanks for sharing!!

Susan said...

Fabulous! That is some serious creative thinking! It looks like such fun too. One question from my non-artistic brain ~ how did you get use one stamp for the sun's eye and have it look proper on the face? The thickness towards the nose is on both sides and looks proper. I can't figure out how to do that with one stamp.

Lindsey said...

Oooh, good point Susan! I should have said I did one eye and then squidged the one side of the stamp and pinched the other to get the shape right for the other eye. It was easy peasy to do. Same with the eyebrow :)

Basia said...

My son has just discovered stamping using some foam stamps I bought from a craft shop. He's turning 3 next month and this will be a great activity for him when he's a little older. Saving the idea for the future!

Mismikado said...

I cannot wait to try this with my art students! Thanks for the idea :) btw here's a little present for you http://mismikadodownthesidewalk.blogspot.com/2010/09/this-is-one-lovely-blog.html

Maggie Macaulay said...

I love your site! You inspire creative fun. I will put a link to your site in the September 28 issue of Parenting News You Can Use, our free weekly e-zine for parents and teachers. More on Parenting News at www.WholeHeartedParenting.com. I will check back often for more ideas! Thanks again.

liz said...

I love these! You guys rock. The finished sun painting looks fantastic, too.

I've never used plasticine. Is it about the same consistency as modeling clay?

A Daft Scots Lass said...

This would make wonderful gift wrap.

Anji* said...

Great ideas! I love the effects you got, must try it, I know my kids would love this too.

eva said...

Hello! I am very glad to find your blog! This is just a godsend for me and many others, and loving parents to their children:)))
You open to children WHOLE WORLD WITHOUT BORDERS! It is so important and valuable! Awesome idea for work with children, great ideas for creative people!
But most of all I admire that courage with which you entrust your children to the house and yard! "Not every parent is capable of for the sake of creativity in such experiments:)))
Anastasiya.Rossiya.

Jenni and Joel said...

These are lovely! My little girl isn't nearly old enough to do art yet, but I really enjoy reading about all the amazing projects you and your girls do, and collecting all these brilliant ideas for later!

Max California said...

LOVE THIS SO MUCH!

I love it. I'm pretty sure we have plasticine here. could you use clay? like umm what's it called?

Fimo? modelling clay? that's plasticine isn't it?

Also, that first photo, the stamp totally lookes like a vagina :P ((but that's just what I have become since marrying the dirtiest-minded boy in the world))

RedTedArt said...

Oh my! You are one clever lady! This are simply too awesome for words. I am in awe... and I thought I was crafty! Nothing compared to these.

Love all of it. The stamps, the artwork, everything. Wow.

Maggy
Red Ted Art
PS if you ever, ahem, fancy it, would love this or anything you fancy as a Guest Post over my way: http://www.redtedart.com

Regina said...

This is absolutely fantastic! I love the gorgeous prints you and your girls created. We're having a lazy day over here and I'm going to try my luck re-creating this with some old fun-tak since that's what I've got lying around the house!

Brimful Curiosities said...

Wow, I've actually never used plasticine before. Your stamp project is awesome. I especially like the alphabet stamps.

shar said...

Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant!!! Thanks so much for this post. I can't wait to try it out :)

xo, Joan said...

Wow! Yet another amazing fun craft idea from you...When you say "plasticine" do you mean the kind of clay that is advertised as never drying out or does not need baking? I have used polymer clay to make molds and bake for embellishments to my artwork, and I am anxious to try your technique...but first I must buy some plasticine, and not sure what to look for. I am familiar with RoseArt, and that's usually a cheaper brand, which is good :) Thanks for sharing all your wonderful ideas! When is your book coming out :D

Charlotte said...

Brilliant and Amazing!

Maiz said...

You are my hero! This is the BEST idea!!!

Janelle said...

Wonderful post - thanks for all the inspiring images! May I ask what you used to clean ink from the stamp as the clay changed from shape to shape? And did you use water-based or permanent ink pads?
Thanks!

Eva said...

wow! love it! I JUST tried out your bath craft foam murals now I can't wait to try this out and I really want to have a go at those bandana skirts :) thanks for all the inspiration!

susie said...

Lindsey, You have the luckiest little girls in the world! OMG I would love to come join you at your craft table. Everything turned out so beautifully! I love the little faces you made and also the flower... Actualy I loved everything. Do you ever use these on fabric? xx. susie.

Gail said...

I have a ton of plasticine in the art room at school just begging to be used for a stamp. Thanks for the insight, I can see many applications in the future!

Lindsey said...

Hiya peeps!

The "plasticine" I am referring to is the kid's modelling clay that doesn't dry out and that you do not need to bake. I'm sure that Fimo or Sculpy would work for this, but it would be a more expensive way of doing it. The Rose art plasticine we used is this stuff and is nice and affordable... I guess plasticine must be a brand name in the UK or something.

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_bryxLa-WW5g/ShbFX1UNLKI/AAAAAAAAByc/czCa9mIwMnQ/s400/007.JPG

As far as getting the ink off the stamps to reuse went, we used a water based ink pad and the ink just stamped clean off the plasticine with no need to wipe it or wash it or anything. It was surprisingly clean.

Hope you guys do try this and have as much fun as we are having with it :)

mayaluna said...

this is fantastic!! I'm so excited to try this out... would be wonderful with a group.

natacha said...

Quelle bonne idée... utiliser de la pâte à modeler... je mets cela dans un coin de ma tête!!! MERCI !!!

Julianna said...

The graphic quality of this project is just stupendous. My brain is whirling... Another amazing post!

Anonymous said...

Hi Lindsay, Great post, love the pictures and info. Can you say a little bit about the type of ink and ink pad you used please. We did a bit of printing a few weeks ago and used "proper" printers ink and a brayer roller thingy but I guess there might be some more small child friendly options out there. Cheers, Lyndsay in Oban, Scotland.

Lindsey said...

Hi Lyndsay,

We only had the one stamp pad. It was a black washable ink stamp pad. You can see it in the picture with the fridge magnets at the top of the bit about how we stamped the kid's names. Nuthin' fancy, just a cheap stamp pad from a craft store or office supplies place.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Lindsay, I missed the picture of the ink pad, doh! I did a bit of research though and found a suggestion for making your own ink pads. Get a pot with a lid, cut out a sponge to fit the base, add 3 tbsp kid poster paint and 1 tbsp white kid glue and squish it up. After use, stick the lid on to keep it for later. I am off to the shops to get some plastecine (being in the UK I know what that is :o) and have a go! Cheers, Lyndsay

Emily@theNest said...

Simply fantastic, I have just subscribed to your blog and am looking forward to going through the archives!! I came over from The Craft Crow. X

kellyi said...

Love the idea - we've only got teeny ink pads though so need to buy one decent one to do this, but we do have scabby plasticine in abundance!

We shall try it out soon.

Nadene said...

Brilliant! Just the right activity for that ugly grey lump of plasticine! I especially LOVE the letters!

Marisa said...

That sunflower is amazing. You could make and sell a set of cards with that sunflower. Beautiful.

All we have in the house is bakeable Sculpey. I might try it with that anyway, and when I get a stamp I like, bake it. If it works, I'll let you know!

rachelle @ tinkerlab.com said...

Lindsey -- your blog is full of fabulous ideas, and I love this one especially. The letter stamps came out good enough to design your very own font. Thanks for sharing.

Val said...

What an excellent idea..many thanks for sharing!

Jackie said...

I love this idea, no boundaries just plenty of imagination. We're going to have to try this one.

TwigandToadstool said...

oh my goodness!!! how friggin' brilliant are you?!
LOVE your refreshing creativity and great ideas!
xo maureen

katepickle said...

Oh this is SO COOL!!!! so so so SO cool!!!

Rebecca Newman said...

This is fantastic, we have some plasticine in the cupboard that hasn't seen the light for a few months and my kids will love doing this activity in the school holidays. Brilliant. :-) (I found you through twitter via @katrinagermein)

Trish @ a dream house for Trish said...

I love this idea, loving your blog! We just used your craft foam bath art idea & the kids loved it. I hope you don't mind but I have included a link to you blog in my latest post!!
Cheers Trishx

Marie {Make and Takes} said...

Beautiful stamps! So fun and easy.

Erin said...

LOVE THIS!!! This is one of the coolest ideas I have seen in a long time, it is so simple that it is pure genius. I am SO going to do this with my class at school. Thank you!

The Bailey Family said...

This is just brilliant. I've been scouring the dollar bins in stores looking for cheap rubber stamps and never thought to make them out of modeling clay!! I have an entire bag of it waiting for a project tomorrow (now off to find washable stamp pads...)

Love this site. I made the newspaper swords for my kids yesterday and we spent most of Sunday making the foam bath toys, which they loved. You have such great ideas, and take things to such a phenomenal level. Amazing!

rachelle @ tinkerlab.com said...

Hi again! Still thinking about this idea -- I love it and hope you don't mind that I just posted a link to this off my facebook fan page :) http://www.facebook.com/tinkerlab

GeorgyG design said...

What a great idea and very effective. My four year old daughter just loves making things, drawing and painting. I am always looking for new ideas so will be following this blog. Thanks G

Christine @ Origami Mommy said...

I love this! This is great. I wonder if I can get plasticine in Japan. I wonder what it's called. ....

polwig said...

Such a great idea, and so creative... can't wait to try it

Teacher Tom said...

Yay for you Lindsey! I have a HUGE box of this stuff that's been around for years, but never had a desire to use it. This is the thing! I wanted to try something new in class and this will be it. Oh yeah!

It sounds like you're kind of nerding out about this the way I did when you introduced me to plastic bag clothing decals when I first started reading here. I just might start nerding out about this one myself!

Angela (Cottage Magpie) said...

These are just beautiful -- I can't wait to try this both on my own and with my son. What fun!
I did have one question -- what kind of paint did you use to paint the pictures afterwards (poster, watercolor, tempura...)?
Thanks!
~Angela :-)

Melony Bradley said...

Super cool idea- you get to be creative making the stamp first and then double the fun stamping with it. LOve, love, love it~

Homesteadgirl said...

You truly are brilliantly creative and resourceful! I'm going to do this with my kindergartens once they know the letters of their names!

Is@Hz said...

Por favor, mira

http://recreodecolores.blogspot.com/2010/09/papiro-egipcio.html

y gracias por tus maravillosas ideas.

Elizabeth said...

Oh, how I love your blog! We tried making our own stamps yesterday. Here's what we ended up with: http://sixgoldencoins.blogspot.com/2010/09/homemade-stamps.html

cygnetsmall said...

Just fantastic. I can't wait to try this, we will have to get some plasticine though. We have done some stamping but always with the kids drawing and me carving out with the sharp tools. This sounds much more little kids friendly.

Sherry and Donna said...

Lindsey this is wonderful. We had ideas for making stamps but never thought to include plasticine. We'll try this as soon as kinder resumes in another week. Thanks for the inspiration!
Donna :) :)

rachel said...

I just wanted to tell you how much I love this blog. Your creativity is truly inspiring. I'm definitely going to bookmark this and keep it for when I have kids. I love love love every project every project you've done. Keep it up!!!

taylor said...

Incredible activity with so many off shoots. I will have to try them all. I love your site. Was just introduced to it. I'll be visiting often. Thanks

Kelly said...

Wow, these are beautiful! What an awesome idea. My daughter loves mixed-media art and I'm sure she would have fun with this.

Scott said...

Using plasticine as stamps - what a great idea. The result looks fantastic, and I love the way each print is unique as the plasticine's shape changes over time.

Molly said...

Amazing! I love that the shape changes a little bit with each stamp! I love a little bit of imperfection (can't believe I said that but I've arrived in my 40's only to find out it's inevitable!). I know what we are doing Friday! These are truly beautiful! Thanks! I would never thought to make stamps out of plasticine!

Molly said...

PS I just checked out your husband's blog! What a WONDERFUL site. What ucky, lucky kids you have to have talented parents like yourself!

xo, Joan said...

Thank you again for this great idea! After playing around with the plasticine, we used polymer clay and found although it does cost a bit more, it held the stamp impression longer and was neater all 'round; well worth the few extra cents. And, after my granddaughter finished stamping, she made kitty beads out of the same clay she had pressed onto a mold we used as a stamp. We baked them, strung onto elastic cording and voila, another fun project was created!

xo, Grammie Joan

Katherine said...

Those prints are amazing! They remind me of some children's books, like To Be Like The Sun (which is about sunflowers). I think we have a crufty scrap of modeling clay, which I think is your plastacine.

Zaira said...

LOVE this. Awesome idea, wonderful for Christmas gifts!

thehungryartist said...

Oh my gosh, I just discovered your blog and I LOVE it!! You are so amazing!! I was thinking of doing this kind of stamp thing for a craft I want to do at a book signing (my children's book SOUP DAY, was just released), and I have been looking around for vegetable stamps online and having a hard time finding what I have an idea for in my mind. DUH! I can just make them out of Sculpey!!! Brilliant. Thank you SO much for this post. I'm totally inspired by you!!!!

RUKxo said...

this is a fabulous idea!! I LOVE IT!! My kids are always getting into my stash of stamps, but this is so much more creative for them (and money saving for me!). Thanks so much for sharing. I adore your blog and envy your endless talent

Mike Tayse said...

Hey there,

I saw the link on gizmodo, I think. I teach elementary students and do a blog of my students at:

http://miketayse.blogspot.com/

I'm 'gonna try the mask, Thanks!

Mike Tayse

Katherine said...

I'm unclear on your use policy, does it mean that you do not want people using a picture from your blog to link to one of your projects? Or is that generally okay?

Lindsey said...

Hi Katherine,

I'm generally fine with people using either one or two photos in order to link to a post of ours. I have the notice on the site because far too often people unwittingly post multiple images of mine on their sites with partial or complete reproductions of my posts. Whether they link or not I'm not OK with that. It's a pain to police. Despite the notice I am still having to deal with people who knowingly repost my content, so I often end up contacting hosting companies to request removal of my material from websites that have reposted it without permission. It's the suckiest part of blogging so far. It's a time sink and sometimes makes me think about quitting with the blogging unfortunately.

Fab said...

So stunning!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I just can't wait to try it!!! super thanks! Your work is so lovely!

Audrey M. Brown said...

I'd like to post one of your photos on my blog and then link to this article. It says to email you for permission, but I don't see an email anywhere. :) My blog is www.bornforgeekdom.com and you can email me at audreymariebrown@gmail.com

Just let me know.

Thanks!

GorgeousKarma said...

This is totally stunning! Thanks a ton for sharing all the pics and ideas. I have to, have to - try these with my 5 year old. :)

Beatriz said...

Hi,
I'm a teacher from Spain. I love your blog, is fun, is different... wow! it gives me a lot of ideas for work with my kids. Actually I'm working with preschoolers.
I'll tell about your blog to the other teachers of my school, it's wonderfull.
Thanks for your work, and congratulations to your little girls they should be the most creative and happy girls in the world.sorry for my bad english :D

Ting said...

That is fantastic! Can't wait to try it!

allmimsey said...

These are wonderful.....now I know what I will be doing this afternoon!!!

melissa said...

thank you so much for this post--such a dreary rainy day: we are off to stamping fun with plastine :o)xxxmelissa

Hiskia said...

what a briljant idea! love it!! hope you don't mind that i wrote about it on my blog & used your pictures. of course with your name & linked to your blog. if you do mind, please let me know, but i hope you'll see it as an compliment :)

Natalie said...

Oh My goodness, this is the best idea. I also hope you don't mind that I posted it on my blog and put a link to your blog!! I am an art teacher in Texas and tried it with my kids the other day. I LOVE it! Your kids are so lucky to have such a creative parent!!!Check out my blog www.elementaryartfun.blogspot.com

Erin said...

For US-based folks, I found plasticine really affordably ($4 for 24 longish sticks) at Walgreens. You can check your local store for availability at their website.
Walgreens Plasticine

It worked great! My 4 yr old just kept making stamps over and over with some sculpting tools we had! :)

paula gertel said...

Beatifull!!!!i´ve tried this with my kids and they loved it!!!!thanks 4 sharing such beautiful things!!!!

jade said...

what a great idea.... can't wait to try it... so brilliant, i never thought of this. thanks 4 sharing

Anonymous said...

This is the best craft I have ever seen!! I tried it with the kids today and I find it Waaaaay better than stamps. My young kids always have a problem with stamps because you have to get the pressure right or else it doesn't come out. This has solved that problem, great prints every time. My 1 year old was even copying her sisters and got a few prints - I was amazed. Thank you so much for sharing, you are an inspiration!
Haydee

bitxuverinosa said...

I absolutely love this!

I will try this at home. You just gave me an excuse to buy some plastiline ;)

anabelucraft said...

Is Fantastic!! A idea brilliant!!
Saluts

Veroka said...

Great, great, idea!!!
:)

Sammy Pie said...

I love this, and all of the ideas you put on the blog. I'm so incredibly impressed with the things you come up with (I have to be honest and say it makes me feel a bit inadequate too!!) We'll definitely try this. My boys are a bit craft-reluctant, but printing is something that always goes down well because it's so quick and easy and you get nice results without too much effort.

We also did the transparent paper window which was great and lasted for ages. Then eventually the leaves and petals started to fall off one by one which was kind of nice too.

Roberta said...

I found non-drying clay (I think it's the same as plasticine) in the US by Crayola. It's simply called Crayola Modeling Clay. I got it from school, so I don't know the price.

I hope this helps someone. It held the images long enough for us.

Kirsty @ Bowerbird Blue said...

total creative awesomeness, love, love love it.

Work Of Our Hands said...

VERY CLEVER ! What hardness of plastiline ?

Kelly said...

Fabulous! What amazing artwork.

Joseph said...

Do you have any idea for making plastic stamps for cards?
Gift Card printing
Scratch Cards
Printed Gift Cards

Rina k6art.com said...

I taught your stamp lesson to the 4th grader and they loved it! Very successful. Thanks for posting all your fabulous photos.

Rach said...

Fab! I've pinned it.

Anonymous said...

What sorcery is this!

Really nice! Thanx for sharing

toni said...

This is a great post! Thank you so much for sharing i think its something that all ages would get a lot of fun out of. We always had plasticene as kids and i'm looking forward to getting re-acquainted with it ! The work the children have done is fantastic how lovely to see their absorption in the activity.

Kate said...

Thanks this is great! I work at a museum with artsy kids and printing was always a tough subject because most printing things are either premade or require sharp tools (like if you are cutting into rubber, linoleum, or potatoes). This project is so open-ended and safe I won't feel like I have to constantly moniter the little ones and I'm sure the big kids will find lots of ways to use the playdough creatively! Thanks!