Custom Stamps for Gothy Gift Sets
During the holidays, themed gift sets are pretty popular. But if your friends are as gothy as you, it can be hard to find something that appeals to their darker sensibilities.
The easiest way to create your own themed gift sets is to use a few stamps to create visual repetition. Once the stamps are made, several gift sets can be thrown together in a single afternoon.
Before you even touch the erasers that will become your stamps, take a few minutes to sketch out your designs. Most rubber erasers are large enough to fit something like a bat, coffin, or spider silhouette on them. If you are able to find a larger piece of rubber, or are skilled at carving, feel free to create something more elaborate. Just remember that any thin lines or intricate curves will be harder to trace with the X-acto knife.
Once you have a design you like, copy it onto one of your erasers. The parts of the design that you want to show up in ink will end up as the raised parts of your stamp. Using your X-acto knife, carve out the negative space to about half the thickness of the eraser. Learning how to carve rather than just cut with the knife might take a little practice, but luckily rubber erasers are incredibly cheap. Go slow, and have a few backup erasers just in case. Repeat these steps until all your stamps are complete.
Stamp Supplies: Scrap Paper, Pencil, Rubber Erasers (one for each stamp), X-Acto Knife. Gift Set Supplies: Plain Gift Bags, Tissue Paper, Blank Cards, Blank Envelopes, Pen, Stamp Ink, Candleholders, Tea Candles, Acrylic Paint, Paint Brushes (preferably fine tipped), Damp WashclothWhen moving onto the gift sets, pre-planning is once more key. Sketch out the designs you want for the cards, envelopes, bags, and candleholders. Having a blueprint to work off of will help you make every set identical. You may even want to lightly draw outlines on all your paper goods in pencil before inking anything. When you are ready to start inking, start with your pen first. Pen ink tends to dry faster and will be less likely to smudge as you work on the rest of the design. Save the stamping for last, as the heavier ink may take a while to dry. Re-ink your stamp between every stamping so that each image comes out clear and crisp. If you are switching ink colors, wipe down the stamp with a paper towel first, so you don't mix and muddy your inks. And be careful not to press on the edges of the stamp, or you will end up with a rectangular ink outline.
Stamping the candles is a similar process, but most stamp inks will not adhere to glass. Using a small paint brush, apply a thin coat of acyrlic paint to your stamp and carefully press it on the glass. Square candleholders are easiest to work with, since they offer a flat surface, but due to rubber's flexibility, circular candleholders can also be stamped. Simply start pressing at one end of the stamp and slowly shift the pressure to the other end in a rocking motion. When using paint, wipe the stamp off with a damp washcloth between each stamp to avoid paint build-up from altering the stamp image. If some paint does manage to dry on your stamp, don't worry; your stamp isn't ruined. Acrylic remains flexible when dry, and you should be able to peel it off the stamp if you are careful.
After everything has dried, it's time to put the gift sets together. If you're making sets for a lot of people, it's generally quickest to do this assembly line style. Having some help, like a younger sibling paid in candy, speeds things up exponentially. Drop a tea candle in each of the candleholders and wrap them in tissue paper to avoid any damage to the glass. Depending on the size of the gift bags, both the candleholders and cards should be able to fit inside comfortably. If you don't think you will want the stamp any longer, or have a particularly crafty friend, you could also slip the stamp itself into the bag, along with a small pad of ink. Top off the bags with some extra tissue paper, and you're done.
Of course, this is just one gift set arrangement. The beauty of stamps is that they can customize nearly anything. And remember, handmade gothy gifts aren't just for the holidays. Whether it’s for a birthday or an anniversary, you're just a few rubber erasers away from endless custom gift possibilities.