DIY: Craft Custom Rubber Stamps from Photos

Extra photos for bloggers: 1, 2, 3

You’ve probably got a bag of them stashed away with old envelopes and Mr. Sketch markers.

Rubber stamps. The classic currency of Valentine’s Day and letters from your penpal.

Stamps don’t have to be boring or cheesy. They can be classy, and they can even be art.

Especially if you design them from your very own photos!

Follow along with our DIY stamp project as we take you from the pixel to the pad without breaking a sweat.

Make a Custom Photo Stamp!

p.s. Need Photoshop skillz? creativeLIVE is hosting a week of Photoshop classes. You can take over 40 different online classes taught by pros for free!

p.p.s. Happy V-Day! Sign up for Phoneography 101 and add your sweetheart (or pal) on us. TODAY ONLY!

Why it’s cool:


Remember that feeling of opening the mailbox and actually finding a letter addressed to you?

Give facebook a rest and show the world that snail mail isn’t dead!

Turn up the fun on your postcard with a stamp of your fat cat, or make that party invitation fancy with a stamp of people dancing.

The possibilities are endless so why not send someone a little love for the price of a stamp!


  • A stamp worthy photograph
  • A computer with Photoshop or similar
  • Some carving material, this Speedy-Cut rubber block is a great option
  • A cutting tool, this Speedball linoleum cutter is the stamp carvers weapon of choice
  • A No. 2 pencil
  • Tracing paper
  • An ink pad
  • An X-Acto knife or box cutter
  • A paint brush
  • Newspaper or a cutting mat
  • A block of wood or similar for mounting your stamp
  • Super glue


beforeWhen choosing a photo for your stamp aim for an image with high contrast and a plain background. The best designs will have strong lines and simple geometries.


beforeImport your image into photoshop and turn up the contrast as needed. The more defined the lines of your photo the easier it will be to carve.

Now turn it black and white by going to Image>>Adjustments>>Desaturate.


beforeUse your eraser tool to get rid of any distracting background elements from your photo leaving a clean white backdrop.

Trickier portions you may want to select with your lasso tool and delete. When using the lasso just select, hit the delete key, and set the color to white.


beforeTo get that Banksy stencil effect go to Image>>Adjustments>>Threshold and adjust the toggle until you’ve got the prefered balance of black and white.

If you don’t get the perfect lines from your adjustment, you can always clean up your image with the brush and eraser tools.

Then you’re gonna tape your watercolor sheet of paper on top of the print out.


beforePixels? Where we’re going, we don’t need pixels.

We’ve reached that magical time where we’ll take your pic off the computer and onto your carving surface. Start by printing your design in the size that you would like to carve, and grabbing your tracing paper and a No. 2 pencil.

Trace over your printed design using a dull pencil to give you thicker lines. Also, try and leave out any tiny details which will be too tricky to carve.


beforeNow it’s time to break out a bucket of elbow grease for our transfer step. Place your tracing paper graphite side down onto a corner of your eraser and use the back of your cutting tool to rub over your design.

Make sure to hold down your tracing paper securely so it doesn’t slippity slide. Voilà! It transfers just that easy.


beforeUse your exacto knife or box cutter to trim down your stamp block to just the area surrounding your image. Be careful: These things are sharp!

Start with the smallest blade of your cutting tool, carving around the outside edges of your stencil. You may also want to carve any small details first just in case your lines start to smudge. Apply only light pressure when making cuts. You can always go back and cut deeper if you need to.

Once you have your outline carved, you can switch to a larger blade to carve out unfilled space. Your paint brush will help to clear off the dusty rubber bits that build up while carving.

Hint: If you’re not sure whether to cut something out or not, don’t! Wait until after you’ve tested your design to see how your stamp looks. Its a lot easier to take pieces off afterwards then to glue them back on!


beforeInk up your carved creation with your ink pad and press it firmly into a piece of scratch paper. This will show you any stray dots or dashes that may need to be removed.

Excess rubber bits will show up black after you’ve tested your stamp and can be easily airbrushed out with your cutting tool.


beforeA little super glue and a wooden block will work wonders to class up that already ravishing stamp of yours.

Don’t limit yourself though, mount your stamp however you like: on a domino, an oversized lego, a serving spoon, or on the back of an old pattern block.


  • Use your new cutting tools to carve the ultimate pumpkin!
  • Turn your stamp into a fashion statement! Use it to design t-shirts, make earrings, or decorate your kicks.
  • Use your stamp to create a custom iPhone case. Get yourself a clear plastic case, cut out a template, and stamp away.
  • Take your game up tp the next level with linoleum printing (think rubber stamps, just on a bigger scale).
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