Nostalgia: Stamped table runner

Earlier this week I mentioned that I had a nostalgia themed dinner party (here). As part of the decoration I stamped a table runner with home made stamps. I thought the end result was really fun and I think this makes an especially good craft because it is cheap and easy.

So before we even start with the making, you need to have a design idea for your stamp. I chose the logos of two well known South African brands (as the theme was nostalgia). The first few times you do this there are a few things to bear in mind: (1) stick with a simple pattern/ design; (2) stick with a pattern that works well in only two colours; (3) when using type remember to invert the words (I forgot to do this on my first go – amateur). The idea for my pattern comes from the inside cover of the cookbook South Africa Eats by Phillipa Cheifitz, the illustrations (as seen below) are by Alex Latimer (www.alexlatimer.co.za).

If you are struggling to find a good picture to copy Google image is always a good place to start. I would suggest including the words “line drawings” in your image search as this search is likely to produce images that can translate well into stamp designs.

When thinking about a design also give some thought to placement of the stamp on the table runner. I opted for a check design, but you may alternate rows of patterns. One idea that I thought would be fun for an Italian themed evening would be to do a red and white checked table cloth with the mustache stamps I made below (these were uber easy to make):

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Materials:

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– old erasers or pieces of lino. The erasers can be bought very cheaply at a dollar/pound store. If you want to use lino, which I did, I bought this online from Amazon. I also expect craft stores like Hobbycraft or Spotlight to stock these.

– a lino cutting set – you can get these from art stores or online. I bought mine from Amazon and it was about £4. If you feel like this is something that you will only use once and never touch again – you are wrong! I have a few crafts lined up for which a lino cutting set will be super helpful. But that said you could get away with a craft knife – it will just be a little more tricky.

– a stamp pad. You could also use paint – although a stamp pad is a bit easier as fine designs tend to show up better with ink. If you want to use paint then see my note at the end of this post.

– the paper on which you want to stamp your design. You want your design to show up well – so give some thought to how well the ink you have chosen will show up against the paper. I played around with newspaper and coloured ink and I thought the result was awesome (see below) – but the design was a little harder to see. A black ink would likely have shown up better.

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– optional – an acrylic block to fix your stamp to. This is something for you to hold onto when you ink your stamp and also something to press down on when you stamp. It distributes the pressure more evenly so you get a cleaner and more even finish. This is a nice to have item – but I stamped my table runner without it – it just took a little longer and there were a few inky fingerprints on it.

Instructions:

1. Draw your design onto your lino/eraser. You can always use left over carbon paper from the plate craft (here) to trace your design onto your lino.

2. Start carving out your design. Some things to consider: (1) the areas you want to be the colour of the paper are the areas you want to cut away, anything you don’t cut away will be the colour of your ink; (2) you don’t have to cut that deep into the lino; (3) cut away a little bit at a time; (4) for large areas that you want to cut away – don’t cut away all the lino/eraser. You want the stamp to have a homemade/woodcut effect, you don’t want it to look like a machine made stamp. Without sounding totally puke worthy – embrace the imperfections, they add to the overall look… (vom).

3. If you are going to use the acrylic stamping block, now is the time to do it. Put double sided tape on the wrong side of your stamp and stick it to the block.

4. Ink up and test the stamp before you start on your runner. You may find that there are areas on your stamp you need to cut away a bit more.

5. Once you are good to go -start stamping your table runner. I would do this day before you want to you use it as the ink does take a little while to dry.

Note: If you think this looks great, but is far too much work for a paper table runner that gets thrown away at the end of the evening, then consider stamping onto fabric using fabric paints. I did a tutorial on fabric stamping last week which will give you some tips on how to do it (here).

Finally – if anyone out there does do this – please send me some photos, I would love to see them!