Tuesday, August 29, 2017

How to Make Letterboxing Stamps if You Aren't Crafty

Have you tried letterboxing with your family yet? Letterboxing is a fun treasure hunting hobby that will have you following clues to find a "letterbox" hidden anywhere from deep in the woods to an urban train station. Once you find a letterbox, you will stamp the stamp hidden inside the box into your letterboxing passport. If the letterbox you found has a finder's log, you will also stamp your "signature stamp" into that log book. 

It is SO FUN - and one of my family's favorite family time activities that gets you out of the house.
  
Check out Letterboxing North America to get started finding letterboxes. (Letterboxing is actually a worldwide hobby so if you are not in North America just Google "(your country name) letterboxing" and you should find the right info for your region!)


What you need to get started letterboxing

Did you catch that part about the signature stamp?
One of the foundational parts of letterboxing is having a self-created signature stamp. Most letterboxers carve their own stamps from Speedball rubber using a Speedball linoleum cutter tool (if you are interested in this method of stamp creation, check out this great tutorial from DoodleCraft about how to make a handcarved stamp) 

But what if you just aren't crafty?
This, my friends is what I am here to help you with! While you will be in awe of some of the amazing, detailed, hand carved stamps you come across while letterboxing, I don't want craft skills to become a barrier to entry for you! When I first saw the Silhouette Mint stamp maker, my very first thought was this is how people will be able to make custom stamps for letterboxing without carving skills!

This neat little machine will help you turn any drawing into a self-inking stamp. This is the Star Wars inspired signature stamp my seven year old made:
Pretty good for a seven year old, right? With the Mint, anything you can draw can turn into a stamp.


Supplies Needed

Some of the links above may be affiliate links where a purchase made after clicking will support this website without costing you extra!

Directions

STEP 1: Draw

Get started by tracing the outline of your stamp block onto a piece of paper. Trace a few of them so you can try different things. Play around with drawing different things until you come up with something you like. Once you are happy with your drawing, use a dark pen like an ultra fine point sharpie to trace around the lines you want to have become the inked part of your stamp.

STEP 2: Upload

 Take a picture with your phone or scan it to get the image into your computer. Use a photo editing app on either your phone or computer adjust the contrast so it's just a black and white image with lots of contrast. Use the brush tool as needed to really solidify the black part that will be cut out. Save and import that image to the Mint Studio software (comes with your Mint).

STEP 3: Adjust and Send to Mint

Adjust the image and size as needed and send to the Mint following the instructions that come with the Mint. This will cut your image out of the stamp surface.

STEP 4: Build Your Stamp

Fold the marked tab on your stamp sheet and remove the stamp from the pocket.
Removed the white plastic lid from your stamp block and peel away the brown paper. Line up the stamp sheet and press onto the stamp surface.

STEP 5: Add Ink

Generously add ink in the correct colors and desired locations on your stamp. Allow to sit for 5-10 minutes so the sponge in the base can absorb the ink.

note: I had two different colored sabers crossing but inking both sections simultaneously was the wrong move because the ink bled as shown below (it was ok for the K because he wanted it to be an ombre). To do different colored areas that touch each other with crisp lines, your best move is to apply the lightest color of ink first, let sit for 5 minutes, stamp away excess and then ink the darker area.

STEP 6: Blot 

Stamp your image multiple times onto scrap paper until the image stamps clear - usually 8-15 impressions or so.

Once you get a clear impression, stamp it onto the label that came with your stamp kit and add it to the lid of your stamp.


That's it!
Once your image stamps clear, you are good to go! Grab your notebook and head over to Letterboxing North America or AtlasQuest to download your clues and get going!

Read more about Letterboxing:

Be safe out there and remember to bring an extra plastic bag for garbage when you go to leave the area you were hunting better than you found it!

About the Author:

Carissa Bonham is a lifelong crafter and mom of two creative boys. The owner and lead writer at Creative Green Living, she won the Craftys Award for the "Best Craft Blogger" category in 2016. 

Her creative pursuits don't stop at crafts - she is also the author of the hardcover cookbook, Beautiful Smoothie Bowls (Skyhorse, 2017) and several ebooks. Her projects have been featured in magazines like Kids Crafts 1-2-3, Capper's Farmer and Urban Farm Magazine. 

Follow her on PinterestInstagramTwitter or join the Creative Green Living community group.
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Material supplies disclosure: Silhouette sent me a Silhouette Mint machine to play with to determine if it might be a good fit for this post about letterboxing stamps and it was! I was not paid to write about or endorse this product although if you purchase anything via the links on this page, I will receive a small commission from Amazon as a thank you for sending customers their way.  I only recommend products I personally enjoy and think my readers will as well. For more information, see my full sponsored post and review policy.

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Carissa's Creativity Space (creativecarissa.com) became Creative Green Living in February 2013. As such the watermarks on many of our old posts may reflect the previous site name.