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!

Clarion Call – Bird #53 of 100

A clarion call is a strongly expressed demand or request for action. This crow chose the top of a dead tree to express his demands. His requests were not completely clear, but maybe he was trying to tell us humans to clean up our acts.

This is a torn paper collage on gallery-wrapped canvas, with gold acrylic paint highlights.

Clarion Call 20″ X 16″ X 1.5″ Paper Collage and Acrylic on canvas.
For more information, check this out in my Etsy shop HERE

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

Orange on Orange – Baltimore Oriole – Bird #34 of 100

As soon as the leaves start popping out on the trees, we put out oranges for the Baltimore Orioles that come up from the south. Soon we hear their melodious song and the first oriole shyly checks out the oranges and the hummingbird feeders. Soon they become very bold and can’t get enough of those luscious oranges!

Orange on Orange 6X6X1.5″ Torn paper 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.