At my local Pound Store, they sell 2 mouse mats for £1. While I try, in principle, to be against unnecessary consumerism, I am powerless to resist the lure of a potentially useful bargain. By useful, of course, I don’t actually mean practical in ‘normal’ terms; more craft-able. I bought them a while back, and one (with a comb glued along the top) was used as a very handy weaving loom. The other is also very useful: I use it upside down (foam upwards) when I’m making zines & booklets to cushion the pin-stabbed bindings while I stab them.
I’ve been thinking for a while about carving a stamp, either out of a carving block, or an eraser, or…something. I’ve never really been into rubber stamping as a craft, yet there’s something very appealing in the more primitive aspect of a hand-carved stamp. I’ve seen some very cool & funky designs around on Etsy, and the simplest of designs seem often to be the most effective. I thought it would be nice to personalise packages I send out with a stamp from a hand-carving, or maybe use a stamp on the cover of a zine, instead of printing.
Anyway, this morning, there is no coffee in the house, and I am having difficulty getting motivated to get on with stuff. So for some reason, I decided now is the time to try carving a stamp. No erasers or carving tools to hand, I just cut a chunk from mouse mat #2, and carved my design freehand with a craft knife. I could have drawn my design first (just as you can’t see the carving too well to the right, you can’t see pencil marks on black foam rubber, but I could have outlined first with the knife); but I just got stuck straight in. This is why my intended ball of wool is now a bumble bee… 😉 I also forgot, in my eagerness, that the design would be reversed in the printing, so it quite took me by surprise to see my bumble bee flying in the opposite direction when I lifted the block (no coffee yet, you see).
For my first attempt, I’m really pleased with how this turned out, and will definitely be doing further experiments! My trial print (above left) went straight onto the corner of one of my stash of board envelopes (I love the idea of using a stamp as an actual postage stamp), so if you buy anything from the Etsy store in the next week or two, you might receive this very bumble bee, in the mail!
In short, I feel my £1 shop bargain has been well-justified!