Make Your Own Stamps for Collage Paper and More!

My painting and collage have been put on the back burner for a while due to the holidays and then some family stuff. Until I get back to it, here is a little tiny tutorial on how to make stamps easily and affordably using things you might find around the house and the dollar store.

First of all, head to the dollar store or Walmart and buy yourself a package of craft foam that is adhesive on one side. Draw designs on the foam, and then cut out with a craft knife or scissors. You can then peel of the backing of the foam and adhere your design to almost anything. It doesn’t have to be fancy.

Here are some examples of stamps that I have made:

  1. Craft foam adhered to jar and bottle lids.
  2. Leftover mat board, one with elastic bands, and the other with craft foam.
  3. Craft foam adhered to styrofoam cut from fast food containers.
  4. Design carved into styrofoam from fast food container with a ballpoint pen.
  5. Pattern carved into erasers with a craft (X-ACTO) knife. Be careful! Sharp!
  6. Craft foam adhered to foam insulation. (You can buy a sheet of this at the hardware store and cut it into small pieces).

Here are a few (a lot!) of my favourite stamps that I use over and over.

You can use a Gelli Plate as a stamp pad and cover the plate with acrylic paint using a brayer. For smaller stamps, you can use an ink pad. If you don’t want your stamped image to run, use a permanent ink. Here are some papers that I quickly made with some of my new stamps.

As you can see, you can use the gelli plate as a stamp pad to directly stamp on paper. Then you can place paper onto the Gelli Plate and make a print.

So, have fun! Look around your house to see what you can use. I use all kinds of things to stamp: Egg cartons, empty toilet paper roll, lids, buttons, etc. Happy stamping!

Two birds and some tulips. Birds # 45 and 46 of 100

I’m back! I’ve been on a bit of a hiatus. I was enjoying summer, then was on vacation in Nova Scotia, and all of a sudden it’s October! In between all of that I took on a commission to do three mini 4X4″ collages. Thankfully, my friend and client was understanding, because these seemed to take me forever to do! I had already done a summery flower collage, and she wanted three more to represent the other seasons.

I decided on a cardinal for winter and a blue jay for fall. Spring was a trio of tulips. (They started out as daffodils, but I couldn’t get them to look daffodilly enough!)

Winter Bird 4 X 4 X 1.5″ Collage on canvas.SOLD
Blue and Gold 4 X 4 X 1.5″ Collage on Canvas SOLD
Tip-toe Through the Tulips 4 X 4 X 1.5″ Collage on Canvas SOLD

I Heard it Through the Grapevine

A lot of people ask me how I come up with ideas for my art. It usually happens in a roundabout way; I hear a song, or see something that gets me thinking.

Here’s how I came up with the idea for my newest collage. I’ve been wanting to do a collage with grackles for quite a while, but wasn’t sure what the composition would be. I started looking for some grackle photos online at PaintMyPhoto ( which has some great reference photos, by the way). I found some excellent references and then started playing with a composition on my photo editor.

To me, it looked like they were gossiping, so I was trying to think of a title about gossip. Gossiping Grackles wasn’t too exciting. Grackle Cackle was a strong contender, but it just wasn’t right. I like to put music and words in my collage, so I decided to do some research into songs about gossip. One of the songs that stood out was I Heard it Through the Grapevine, a song written by Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong for Motown Records in 1966.  My favourite version is by Marvin Gaye.

Well, that solved my composition problem and gave me a title for the piece! The grackles could be sitting on a grapevine, and I could have the music and lyrics throughout the collage. I hope to enter this into the annual Paint Ontario juried exhibit in a few days. Also, these are numbers 12, 13 and 14 of my 100 Birds challenge!

Here’s the progress:

Trying out a composition in my photo editor

Drawing out the composition
Work in progress
I Heard it Through the Grapevine 20″ X 16″ on canvas.

Blue Birds!

My flock is getting bigger! Here are two more additions, an Eastern Bluebird (#5) and our old friend, the Indigo Bunting (#6). These are torn paper collage on a mixed media background. (Which was really hard to photograph, BTW!) I guess I’m wishing for spring already, because this pair is called Spring Song.

The song that kept going through my head while I was creating these was:

Blue Skies by Irving Berlin

Blue skies smilin’ at me
Nothin’ but blue skies do I see
Bluebirds singin’ a song
Nothin’ but bluebirds all day long

Spring Song 1 – Eastern Bluebird
12 X 6″ Collage on Canvas
Two paper collage paintings, mixed media background using sheet music and other media. The first bird is an Eastern Bluebird and the second is an Indigo Bunting.
Spring Song 2 – Indigo Bunting
12 X 6″ Collage on Canvas

SOLD!

100 Birds!

It’s a new year, and I’ve decided to embark on an adventure. This adventure will probably take more than a year, but I’m going to try to paint or collage 100 birds! Birds are one of my favorite subjects and there are thousands and thousands of species to choose from. Although I’m going to try and do as many different species as I can, I can’t promise that I won’t be sticking with a favourite or two! (Crows come to mind.)

Although I have done a couple of bird paintings fairly recently, I will start from when I decided to do the series, which was today!

This is a small watercolour, one of the contenders to enter the Twitter Art Exhibit this year. She is a lovely female cardinal and I’ve named her Northern Lady.

Northern Lady 6.25″ X 4.75″ Watercolor and Ink on Paper SOLD

Playing with Paper!

A while ago, I was going through some painted watercolor papers that were either failed attempts at something, or experiments gone wrong. Instead of throwing them away, I decided to cut them up into ACEO-sized cards and experiment with them further. I picked out interesting parts of the papers that had neat colours or textures and cut them into 2.5″ X 3.5″ pieces. Then they sat for another few months in a bag in my studio.

Yesterday, looking for something to do,  I found them! I got out my small Gelli plate and added some fun textures, then got out some of my scrap collage papers. I’ve really been enjoying my coneflowers, daisies (although they are done blooming now), and Black Eyed Susans in my garden.  I used them for inspiration for these little art cards.

And for those of you following the progress on the fawn collage, here is the finished version. This piece is now at ARTspace Gallery in Chatham, ON.