Let me take you on a journey. It all starts back in 2006 when Pa and I first went to the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition at the Natural History Museum. This becomes an annual event.
Fast forward to 2013, and I visit a marvellous German zoo. The Germans sure know how to do a zoo. I walk into a dark room and floor to ceiling there’s all these manatees just gazing back through the glass, floating and grinning. (I’m sure they were grinning). And I just stand there super impressed by how insane they are, so friendly looking that they are both the ugliest and cutest thing in the world. I could have stayed there all day (and not just because it was 36C outside and my skin is almost see-through) That tank of manatees was like a giant lava lamp. I mean, what?
December rolls round and we hit the exhibit, and behold, this glorious photo by Douglas Seifert. By now I’m in love. (officially this is a dugong not a manatee, but I’m no marine biologist, these things are just as wonderful)
And now to the present day. I’ve started a blog and I’m planning projects. I think about potential subjects. I have to say, if any animals are owning the craft scene right now it’s whales and foxes. If you don’t believe me just search Pinterest for DIY whale/fox. They are in VOGUE. But I’m not the only one who watched Black Fish right? And I’m even more sure I’m not the only one with a conspiracy theory about the urban takeover being planned by our furry orange friends.
Manatees would never.
So I present to you Sea Cow Stamps. We’re setting a new trend here folks go with me on this.
Along with the above justifications, it’s no secret January is rough on the financials. So this little postlet is a little something you can do for about £3, or 50p if you already have a pad of ink somewhere in the recesses of your crafting supplies.
You will need:
A sheet of craft foam
An ink pad
Something to stick your stamp to
Craft knife and cutting mat/Scissors
Draw your design onto the foam with a pencil, try not to press too hard or you will alter the texture of your stamp.
Just draw it how you want to see it stamped in the end…don’t worry if you have a few tries, just remember which line you want to cut. I modelled mine on this snap I found on google images, I find it sometimes helps to have a reference point.
If you’re doing this with kids try to encourage them to avoid fiddly lines etc, as you’re going to end up being the guy carving the foam all afternoon not them…
Cut out your design with a craft knife or scissors. Either is fine.
Pop your shape out of the foam and flip over. This is your chance to neaten up, I used nail scissors for accuracy. If you’re doing lines and facial features spend a little time on this bit. The pencil free side is the one you will be applying ink to.
I discovered that everything I had cut was a lot more obvious when I stamped, so don’t worry if your lines look a bit thin, you can always take more away, but you can’t put it back. It’s sort of like a haircut in that way…
Stick your shapes onto something, pencil side down (remember they need to be back to front because you’re going to flip it over).
The more solid a base the better really. I decided to do this a couple of days after bin day and there was only newspaper and toilet roll in the recycling bin. So I pinched the box from my dad’s muesli (you’re welcome dad). Honestly? This was less than ideal. The flatter and firmer your base is, the less ink you will get transferring that isn’t part of your picture, and the better force you will have to stamp with.
If you know someone handy, ask them to chop you some wood pieces. I plan on migrating these chaps over to wood at some point, I just need to get myself a saw, which I’m sure will be music to boyfriend’s ears…I’m not clumsy AT ALL.
This is fun. My advice – cover the table in newspaper and have a few practice goes before you go for the real thing. You’ll find if your stamps are as big as mine you need to put the stamp on some newspaper, turn the pad over and sort of dab it on, quite liberally.
Use the side of your fist to rub the stamp onto your card. Sometimes they come out better than others, I’m still yet to get exactly what I want, so just enjoy it.
If you want to do lots of different colours start with the lightest first and wipe off any excess ink with a baby wipe between colours.
I made cards with mine, see below, but I also have plans to put the whole scene together on some brown paper for gift wrap at some point, and I’m sure there’s a whole load of other things to decorate too.
I also plan to digitise my little buddies so you can print them and use them for your own. But I need to be waaay better than I am at graphics software before that happens, so I’m afraid it may take a little while.
The best thing about this project is that you can make a full set of your own stationary. Check out the envelope below. I made a speech bubble for the address, and popped the little guy on the back.
If anyone is curious about the text on the cards above, and is UK based, I got the alphabet stamps from The Range. They do loads of little alphabet blocks with different fonts and THEY ARE ONLY 99p EACH. They are my Pokemon. Literally, never go to HobbyCraft again.
Have a wonderful week chaps.
DISCLAIMER: I reserve the right to make fox or whale themed crafts in the future.