Easy Image Transfer for Stamp Making

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When I previously showed you how to carve stamps it was a pretty simplistic design so I was able to get away with a super low-tech method for transferring the design to the rubber. But what if you have a more complicated design that you want to transfer precisely?

With an inkjet printer and some freezer paper you can easily and accurately transfer your image onto your carving medium!

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Your design
  • Inkjet printer
  • Freezer paper
  • Regular printer paper
  • Tape
  • Carving rubber for stamps
  • Carving tools

This stamp is going to be a cute little squirrel that I’ve designed for my son. (It’s kind of a long story that I’ll get into more when I have the whole project finished.) I started by printing my design on plain printer paper so I knew where to place the freezer paper.

Freezer paper, tape, and printed squirrel design

If you’re using words you don’t need to worry about mirroring your design because with this method the original design ends up looking the same as your finished print!

Since those rolls of freezer paper are so prone to curling, after cutting out an appropriately sized piece I taped it to the normal printer paper shiny side up over my previously printed page. This will keep it relatively flat as it goes through the printer.

Freezer paper taped over squirrel design

Make sure you place it in the printer oriented so that the it’ll print on the freezer paper side! With my printer that means face down. (I swear I always seem to forget which way it’s supposed to be when I print out pictures!) Use your normal print settings as if you were printing on plain paper.

Here’s what it looked like after it went through the printer.

Printed squirrel design on freezer paper

Be very careful not to touch the printed area! It will smudge.

Press the ink to the carving rubber. Do this part carefully – you only get one chance. Once you press the ink to the rubber you aren’t going to be able to adjust it without seriously smudging up your design. Sometimes it helps to start at one edge and press or roll the paper so you don’t end up with it making a big lump in the middle.

Placing design on stamping rubber

Using the edge of a card, rub the back of the freezer paper and transfer the ink onto the carving block.

Rubbing back of printed design onto stamping rubber with card

Carefully peel up the freezer paper. Here’s what mine looked like compared to the original print:

Side by side of printed design and design on stamping rubber

Now you can start carving! Just be aware that the ink on the rubber stays a bit wet and can smudge, so be careful not to touch it as you carve or you can rub off your design.

And here’s the test print of the finished squirrel! As you can see I added a lot more detail during the carving process, using the printed lines as a guide.

Squirrel linocut

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