A last minute gift DIY: Stamp Kit & gift tags

It's no secret...I love stamps. As a bit of a paper-media champion, stamps are such an awesome way to personalize stationary, decorate fabric, or create art.

I mentioned I'd create a DIY gift tutorial and this is what I came up with. I'm surprised I didn't think of this earlier...I make stamps for myself all the time!

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Materials

  • A speedy cut stamp block, available at most art/craft stores. Usually about $5.
  • A linoleum cutting tool. Mine are on extended loan from the woodshop where I did my undergrad, but you can pick one up ( made by Speedball ) from your local art store or online. They usually come with a set of tips...the one you'll mostly use is the V-gouge or U-gouge
  • Scrap paper
  • A pencil and marker (sharpie works fine)
  • An ink pad of your choice. I like the ink from Yellow Owl Workshop, since you can use it on fabric. (They also have lots of awesome DIY kits, though I have never used them)
  • A box to put the final stamps in

First, decide how many stamps you would like to carve, and what size. I chose to create a group of stamps that would fit, along with an ink pad, into a box.

Look for inspiration! Creating groups of themed stamps are nice, and you can theme them for whomever is set to receive them. I chose to create stamps of architectural details pulled from one of my favorite books.

Once you've decided on your designs, draw them onto your block in pencil first, then copy in pen. *You'll want to draw your designs on the stamp in reverse, so they will print the correct way, especially text!*  Most of my designs were symmetrical, so it wasn't necessary to reverse the image. If you need to do this, draw your design on tracing paper, then flip the paper over and copy the design onto the block.

When making stamps, simple shape with thick lines are easiest to cut. Drawing your design in pen will help to create thicker lines. You'll be cutting away the negative space.

After drawing in your designs with marker, you will want to cut apart your stamps if you have not already. An exacto knife (or sharp kitchen knife) works best for this purpose. Be careful and place some cardboard or a cutting mat underneath while you work!

Once your blocks are ready, begin cutting away the negative space with your cutting tool. If you have scrap cutting block, try some practice cuts until you get the hang of it. Luckily, with stamps, the more 'hand-cut' they look the better. Don't get hung up on nicks or small mistakes.

Once you've carved your design, ink it and stamp onto scrap paper. You'll be able to see any parts that you've missed cutting out or negative space that aren't cut deep enough. Go back and fix these spots and test print again.

**A note: If you've drawn your designs in sharpie, you'll want to take a swab with alcohol and remove the sharpie before printing using lighter color ink, otherwise you'll get black sharpie ink in your print and possibly on your stamp pad. You can see this in the picture below where the black sharpie shows through the blue ink.**

Once all of your stamps are complete, cut a sheet of paper that fits in the inside of your box. Layout your stamps where they will sit in the box, then stamp each one in its place, so they can be put back nicely after use.

Add a stamp pad and any other drawing accessories to the box and you're ready to go!

Once you've created your stamp kit, wrap up your box with some ribbon and a gift tag!

When writing up this tutorial, I felt compelled to make some Cabin inspired gift tags for you all to use and enjoy, especially if you plan on giving Cabin as a gift!

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I printed my tags on kraft paper card stock, which looks particularly nice. Keep in mind, if you have a laser printer, sometimes the toner doesn't stick well to heavier paper, so be sure to test first. The printout includes a few different sizes and a few blank tags for you to draw your own cabins if you like!

You can download the Cabin inspired gift tags here!

 

It's that time of year

The holidays are upon us. Whatever holidays you celebrate, nearly all of them involved food and/or gifts.

I love all the holiday stuff. I was raised in a fairly secular household. My extended family runs the gamut from born again christian to orthodox jew, with a few Buddhists thrown into the mix. But family has always been important, so that is what holidays have always meant to me. Plus food.

While I love food and cooking, I'll save my arsenal of recipes for another time. Today we'll talk about the later: Gifts.

I love giving gifts. In fact, I'm a year round gift giver. When I find something that reminds me of someone, I like to give it to them right then and there, without having to wait for a designated time. This, however, probably makes me a bad holiday gift giver. As soon as I need to find gifts for somebody, inspiration vanishes.

My business is new. I wish I had all sorts of fun promotions and specials to offer you all, but I do not - though believe me, my brain has been bursting with ideas for next year! Since I only have one pattern, Black Friday and other holiday promotions seemed like overkill.

So I thought instead, my gift to you would be a collection of gift ideas for all types of people. This collection includes things you can make and (for those who have yet to realize their true crafting potential) things lovingly crafted by others.

A note about this list: These are all online resources for gifts, since this is a blog gift guide. I've tried to show only items by artists, craftspeople, and small businesses. If you are able, shop local for some of your holidays gifts and help out your local economy! Also, this list is far from complete, so if you have awesome shops you'd like to recommend, leave them in the comments!

Don't forget to check the links page for more places to find awesome, ethical, fair trade, usa made, and more!

*Click the image to reach its retail page*

Art

Art is an awesome gift. People can always use more art in their life, regardless of what type of person they are. Most people have a few empty walls to call their own. Art is not always expensive, but it is always valuable. Plus, isn't it cool to give your gift money to an artist trying to make a living instead of throwing it at Target or Walmart?

Dogs Watercolor Painting  by  LizzyStewart  (etsy.com)

Dogs Watercolor Painting by LizzyStewart (etsy.com)

Golden State of Mind  by  Jenny Sharaf   (thetappancollective.com)

Golden State of Mind by Jenny Sharaf (thetappancollective.com)

The Dream Catcher III  by    fricdementol   (etsy.com)

The Dream Catcher III by fricdementol (etsy.com)

The Old Frontier - Las Vegas  by  stoopidgerl  (etsy.com)

The Old Frontier - Las Vegas by stoopidgerl (etsy.com)

Etsy is a great place to find all kinds of art in any size or medium. The nice thing about Etsy is, due to the volume of artwork on it, it is easy to search for "boat" for a fisherman uncle or "Pomeranian" for a pooch loving aunt to get a truly personal gift.

Other websites like The Tappan Collective and Saatchi Online are places to buy art at a range of prices as well. Look for local galleries in your area if you want to support your community.

Are you an artist (even if it's just after work and a few cocktails)? Be bold and make some art for your friends and family!

Useful Things

It's often tempting to get somebody something super cool and exciting, but one thought that rarely crosses the gift giver's mind in this instance is, "is this useful to the recipient?" Why not get somebody a super nice/cool version of something they will absolutely, 100% use?

German made dustpan and brush set from  Schoolhouse Electric

German made dustpan and brush set from Schoolhouse Electric

Brass Scissors from  Present & Correct

Brass Scissors from Present & Correct

Net Grocery Bag from  Kiosk NY

Net Grocery Bag from Kiosk NY

Pallarès-Solsona Aragon Knife from  QuitoKeeto

Pallarès-Solsona Aragon Knife from QuitoKeeto

Clockwise from top left, a selection of super useful gifts from some of my favorite places:

Schoolhouse Electric- Lighting, as well all all sorts of other fine home goods and accessories. Well made useful thingd

Kiosk - A shop in NY that sources all sorts of interesting objects from around the globe. Sort of like a globally curated general store.

Quitokeeto- A kitchen supply shop run by one of my favorite chefs, Heidi Swanson. You may know her from her recipe blog 101 Cookbooks (if you don't, there's a start on the recipe guide mentioned above)

Present & Correct - The most delightful stationary and accessories to brighten up any desk or office.

Clothes & Accessories

Now I know what you're saying: A. How do you buy clothes for other people and B. Aren't you supposed to tell me to make the clothes? Well, certain kinds of clothes are supposed to make good gifts. Here's some novel clothing type gifts:

Settlers of Catan Socks by  Betabrand

Settlers of Catan Socks by Betabrand

The Ten Year Hoodie from  Flint & Tinder

The Ten Year Hoodie from Flint & Tinder

Seed Stitch Raglan Sweater by  Everlane

Seed Stitch Raglan Sweater by Everlane

The Albatross Skirt  from  Paridaez

The Albatross Skirt from Paridaez

Betabrand is based in San Fransisco and makes all sorts of clothing novelties (and not so novelties) including bike-to-work pants, discoball hoodies, and brain-scan print dresses. Everything is made in SF. The Catan socks above come with sock insurance, meaning they will replace your lost socks!

How about the most basic, comfy, and lovely sweater from Everlane, a clothing company that makes awesome basics and preaches radical transparency. Their webshop used profits from Black Friday to build recreational facilities for their factory workers. Awesome.

I recently helped a friend Launch Paridaez, a yoga apparel company geared towards women who need more versatile clothing that works both inside and out of the studio. The kickstarter ends Christmas Eve, so you have plenty of time to get the yogi in your life something special. While items won't be delivered before Christmas (you'll receive a nice 'coming soon' postcard), they'll help you get a good start on your new years resolution ;)

Made in the USA, Flint & Tinder's 10 Year Hoodie is guaranteed for 10 years. They even offer free mending service!

Books

When I was a kid, the rule was that I only received toys on holidays or my birthday, but I could buy a book anytime I wanted to. Books are awesome...and in a day and age where so much is digital, kind of special? Here are some cool ones:

We received this book one year from my grandparents in Maine. It is an awesome visual dictionary of farming illustrated by Julia Rothman. Always a pleasure to pick up and peruse.

We received this book one year from my grandparents in Maine. It is an awesome visual dictionary of farming illustrated by Julia Rothman. Always a pleasure to pick up and peruse.

A gateway book for those who don't read yet. This dollhouse book has pages for kids to draw their own interiors by   Rock and Pebble

A gateway book for those who don't read yet. This dollhouse book has pages for kids to draw their own interiors by Rock and Pebble

Home Comforts  by  Cheryl Mendelson  is to housekeeping as Emily Post is to etiquette. This is a great gift for those who are too old to live with their parents, but too young to have taken home economics in High School. Maybe even for anybody who's just bought their first home. I use it as a reference for how long certain types of leftovers stay good in the fridge and pre-treating stains.

Home Comforts by Cheryl Mendelson is to housekeeping as Emily Post is to etiquette. This is a great gift for those who are too old to live with their parents, but too young to have taken home economics in High School. Maybe even for anybody who's just bought their first home. I use it as a reference for how long certain types of leftovers stay good in the fridge and pre-treating stains.

Full disclosure: I helped write this book on Knittings, Crochet, and Sports. However, I think it would make an awesome gift to anybody interested in crafts, activism and/or basketball. As a bonus, 50% proceeds before x-mas go to sister organization  Voces de Cambio .

Full disclosure: I helped write this book on Knittings, Crochet, and Sports. However, I think it would make an awesome gift to anybody interested in crafts, activism and/or basketball. As a bonus, 50% proceeds before x-mas go to sister organization Voces de Cambio.

Subscriptions

Call me old school, but there's something really cool about somebody gifting you a magazine subscription. I also recall as a family getting fruit-of-the-month which is a little weird but pretty cool. Here are some subscriptions for all kinds of people in your life.

The old school gift subsciptions:  Fruit of the Month Club from  Harry & David

The old school gift subsciptions: Fruit of the Month Club from Harry & David

Why get somebody a tie when you can get them a tie-of-the-month subscription where ties are mailed back for new ones, a la original netflix:  Monthly Tie Subscription from  Tie Society

Why get somebody a tie when you can get them a tie-of-the-month subscription where ties are mailed back for new ones, a la original netflix: Monthly Tie Subscription from Tie Society

For the Green Thumb or aspiring greenish/grey thumb:  Green Box Subscription from  Homegrown Collective

For the Green Thumb or aspiring greenish/grey thumb: Green Box Subscription from Homegrown Collective

Or go with the traditional print based magazine (we have to keep them alive!!). Wired and Frankie are two of my favorites.

Last Minute Handmade Gifts

You love making things, especially for other people. But you lead a busy life, are working on a budget, or need a gift for a ton of people. Here's some quick and awesome DIYs.

Tea towels are super quick to sew and most people use them. The above tutorial from Spoonflower shows you how to create fabric of beloved family recipes and create tea towels. They also have a great selection of yearly calendar tea towels by designers...or design your own tea towel. One yard of fabric will make four!

Tea towels are super quick to sew and most people use them. The above tutorial from Spoonflower shows you how to create fabric of beloved family recipes and create tea towels. They also have a great selection of yearly calendar tea towels by designers...or design your own tea towel. One yard of fabric will make four!

Fancy washcloths are a lovely gift and very classy. These are designed by Kate Alvis and you can find the free pattern on  Ravelry .

Fancy washcloths are a lovely gift and very classy. These are designed by Kate Alvis and you can find the free pattern on Ravelry.

Coasters are always nice, and this tutorial from  Purl Bee  is no exception. Their website is a treasure trove of DIYS, so check it out if you have not already fallen in love with their style!

Coasters are always nice, and this tutorial from Purl Bee is no exception. Their website is a treasure trove of DIYS, so check it out if you have not already fallen in love with their style!

Diy Pet pillow, easy to make one of any of your furry friends, or friends furry friends. Here's a  tutorial !

Diy Pet pillow, easy to make one of any of your furry friends, or friends furry friends. Here's a tutorial!

I wish you the best of luck in all your gifting this season. But remember, it's the thought that counts! (No, seriously...it's the thought that counts). If you know of lovely stores in your area or awesome items, share them in the comments!

Stay tuned...next week I hope to offer up some cool and super last minute DIY gifts and corresponding tutorials!