Monday, May 9, 2016

Playing with Wooden Blocks

On Saturday morning, I caught part of the Quilting Arts episode that airs at 7:00. (I early on a Saturday!) One segment was about stamping on fabric with your own stamps. I didn't see the part where she made the stamps, but I gathered that it was basically hot melt glue on wood blocks. I did a little more Googling and Pinteresting but didn't pick up much more information.

But I couldn't get it out of my mind so after completing a few chores, I let myself play in the afternoon. I dug through the wood scrap pile by Troy's table saw and picked up some suitably sized blocks. I sanded them a bit to avoid splinters and then sat down at my desk to experiment.

I started with the easiest one--wrapping the block with cotton string:
 First a more random design, and then something more structured:
I applied paint to the stamps with a brush and then pushed the stamp onto the paper. I was happy with how the impressions turned out.

Then I moved onto the hot melt glue. I started with an elephant--drew on the block with pencil and then traced it with glue.
Not too bad.

Next was some wood grain:
And then some simple dots:
I was starting to learn to move a little faster and press the still-warm glue onto a non-stick surface so that the stamp texture would be an even height. Later, Troy suggested applying the glue at a comfortable pace and then reheating the whole piece with a heat gun (blow dryer) and then pressing it onto a flat surface. I can still go back and do that to the elephant and wood grain.

I also tried my signature, figuring it would be fun to be able to stamp-sign pieces. When I tried to press the glue flat, it got really blobby, but I tried a impression of it anyway.
Of course, it came out backwards!! Things you know but don't really know until you do them wrong a few times! :)

While Pinteresting, I discovered Julie Booth who described making stamps out of pasta. (Seriously. I'm not talking about a kindergarten teacher.) So I tried a design with angel hair pasta (cause that's what we have on hand).
I love the texture and can imagine an almost limitless number of designs and patterns that I could do with these pasta stamps. I'd like to try spaghetti noodles too because they're a little fatter and will produce a bolder impression (I think).

What will I do with all of these stamps? I don't know. I just wanted to try making them to see how they would come out. And now I have a few ideas of how to improve them and had fun making them. Gluing pasta to wood blocks in fancy patterns is the perfect obsessive activity for me. :) I can see that I could quickly need a lot more storage for my stamp blocks!

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