Tag Archives: Rubber stamps

Make Your Own Letterboxing Stamp

Besides the fun of the hunt, letterboxing also offers opportunities for artistic expression, as many letterboxers create their own rubber stamps with original designs. If your family enjoys letterboxing, here’s an easy way that you can make your own stamps. Younger children can draw the design for you to cut out, while older children can cut the design out themselves.

stamp-supplies

Supplies you’ll need:

  • Cutting Set for Block Printing – We found one at our local craft store. The handle with five small interchangeable blades costs about ten dollars.
  • Carving Block or Polymer Erasers – The carving block I have is 4″ x 4″, and it cost just over two dollars. You can also use the white polymer erasers; three of them cost just under three dollars.
  • Pencil
  • Pen
  • Paper (optional)
  • Inkpad or marker

1. Begin by creating your stamp design. You can draw directly on the carving block or the eraser, or you can draw it out on the paper first. If you’re drawing on paper, start by tracing around the block you’ll be cutting, so you know how big your design can be. As you create your design, remember to make it bold and simple for easier cutting.

2. If you drew your design on the paper, you’ll need to transfer it to the carving block or eraser. To do this, simply flip the design over and align it with your carving block. Rub the back of your paper to transfer the design.  This will create a mirror image of your design. Trace over it once more with a pen on the carving block to make it easier to see.

stamp2

3. Now you’re ready to start cutting. To create a stamp, you’ll want to cut away everything AROUND your design. The carving block is soft, and the different sizes of blades available in the cutting set make this easier.

stamp3

4. Now test your stamp!  You can use an inkpad, or just rub over your stamp with a marker. Try it out on a piece of paper, and then make any final adjustments. You can affix your stamp to a block or wood, or just use it as it is.

5. Have fun with your new stamp, and start letterboxing!

Letterboxing

A couple of years ago, a friend introduced me to a great family activity: letterboxing. For the children, letterboxing is a treasure hunt; for parents, it’s a chance to get out and have fun with your kids.

Letterboxing involves following clues (posted online) to a small plastic box hidden in a public place, such as a state or city park. Inside the box is a small notepad, a rubber stamp with a design, and sometimes a pen. For our first hunt, we decided to look for a mermaid stamp that had been hidden in our nearby state park. The clue we printed off made it even more fun – the author had written it as a story about the mermaid and her travels through the woods.

We took along a small notepad of our own, a rubber stamp I had on hand, and a marker to ink the stamp.  My children were extra excited by this treasure hunt because my college-aged niece was going with us.  We found the landmarks mentioned in the story, though some were a little trickier to find than others.

We worked at it for about an hour, all the while talking and sharing and enjoying our time together. We eventually found the mermaid stamp at the top of a hill, tucked under a rock in a small plastic box. We took out the stamp, inked it with our marker, and stamped our own notebook with it. Then we took out our stamp, inked it, and stamped the little notebook  that was in the box. We signed and dated it as well, so the owner of the mermaid stamp would know that we had been there.  Before we left, we returned everything to the box, sealed it, and hid it again where we had found it, so other letterboxers could have a turn.

To make our next adventures even more fun, I made a little booklet for each child out of plain white paper to collect stamps in, as well as their very own rubber stamp to take along. You can also make your own stamps with custom designs. My friend has even put together her own letterboxes to hide and posted the clues online.

Ready to start your family on a letterboxing treasure hunt? Two great sites to visit are www.letterboxing.org and www.atlasquest.com.