Fabric stamps are one of the best and easiest ways to personalize your sewing projects. Your own print can give your work a unique twist that really stands out, or simply that next level in refining your style.
My first impulse when starting to write this post is to add a few paragraphs dedicated to the history of fabric printing, however, I think the topic deserves an entire article on its own. So allow me to show you briefly the many ways to make homemade fabric stamps, as well as some alternative ways to use materials for this purpose.
In all techniques, you will need a kitchen knife, an X-acto knife, and carving tools. Trace your design on the stamp material and carve away. It is that simple.
- Carving material depending on the technique
- Kitchen knife
- Wooden carving knives
- X-acto knives set
- Lino cutting toolset
- Painting brush
- Rubber Roller or Brayer
Anyone who has spent time or has had a kid in a kindergarten knows this technique very well. I remember it was a favorite way to entertain kids and happens to be the easiest, cheapest way to make a stamp. This type of stamp is perfect for t-shirts, canvas tote bags, children's clothing, and decorating white sneakers (the latest trend).
Modern Wooden Blocks
This type of stamp makes for a large print. It is best used on very casual clothing like pareos and bathing suit covers. It is also one of the oldest ways to apply fabric to textiles, we will cover this in another article. Found all over the world, wooden block prints can be commissioned through countless local artists. Below are found on the island of Bali, Indonesia.
Carving your own will take a lot of time and a ton of patience and skill. However, I think that if you used the print a lot then it would be worth it. I found the process to be a great way to pass the time and calm your mind. I use a set of wood carving tools made in Japan, they are of good quality and the price is very accessible, however, they are not meant for large projects.
You can make your own wood carvings or buy them through this link.
Here is a link if you wish to purchase these same ones.
Indian Wood Carvings
If you are lucky enough to live anywhere in Asia, the carving below is easily found in souvenirs, antique shops, and arts and crafts markets.
Hena Wooden Patterns
Not often used in fabric printing but I love them because they make interesting details on the bottom of summer skirts, shorts, great for table cloth, table runners, cushions, pillowcases, and napkins.
If looking around markets in Asia is not possible for you, these stamps make up for it, the sizes are small and make lovely napkins as seen in the picture below.
Indonesian Copper Batik Tjaps
This metal blocks make fabulous prints mostly used on the ancient art form of batik. I have already written about batik in a previous article. These are coils of sheets of copper solder together to create a continuous pattern. Good quality ones are almost never available since the batik artists use them to print the fabrics. It is possible to purchase the old ones in markets all over Asia. You can also commission a design and pay directly to the artists who will solder your Tjaps for you. I wished I had done this on my last trip to Indonesia.
Soapstone has been used for thousands of years for carving. It is a very soft stone with the texture and firmness of soap, which is where it gets its name. There is archeological evidence of carved soapstone from Northern Europe, to Egypt, to India.
Chinese Stone Seals
Easily found all over the world where there is a Chinese village or “China Town”. The official use of this stone is on paper print however the size of this stone seals makes it ideal for borders and fillers between a repetitive pattern.
Normally use for the casting of molds in jewelry and various metallurgical needs. It is easy to use because it is easily carved, perfect for leaving rough edges and geometrical designs.
There are two types, the ones you make and the scrapbooking type.
This is perhaps my favorite material and technique because it is very easy to use. The best material to use is made by Speedball
I use the same carving tools I use for wood, but you can use the carving tool kit that has all you need to start right away. The sky is the limit with this type of rubber stamp from pillowcases to linen dresses, really it is up to you what you want to make with it.
Some Alternative Materials For Fabric Stamps Making
Gypsum Wall Decor
This type of tiles is easily found in DIY renovation stores, construction, interior design, and art stores. The prints created with these tiles are easily used in soft furnishings such as large pillows, cushions, curtains, and accessories such as tote bags and t-shirts.
Cement, Granite, and Concrete Blocks
The texture left by this cement blocks on fabric is nothing less than spectacular and perfect for setting the scene of a bold print.
Leaves From Your Garden
Easily collected in your garden, hard to beat the perfection of the print left in your fabric.
Kids Toy Letters
Kids' toy letters make for a super easy resource to use when you need to print a message on a t-shirt just need to remember to use the wrong side of the letter so it prints the right way.
Hands and Feet
Is there a better way to record the growth of a kid than to print hands and feet on t-shirts? I think not…keep the little ones entertain at a garden party or right before bath time.
Do have any other idea on how to make fabric stamps? Please share them in the comment section below.
Get your supplies ready for making your own fabric stamps because we are going to be making our own prints for lots of new projects: I'm thinking of a silk camisole, silk panties and bra, a super cute linen dress, elastic waisted shorts, and a super cute cotton bias top. Let me know what you think.
If you want to start a project right away and see how far you can get making your own fabric stamps, take a look at the article below and just trace your design on the stamp material and carve away. It is that simple!
If you have been following me on Instagram you will have seen me carving the design for the elastic shorts. Don't forget to use #soseweasyoffical so I can see your stamps. In the comments below, let me know if you have used any of the above-mentioned material or have you found any other ways to print on fabrics. I am always curious…Until next time happy sewing!
If you liked this article, here's another one on the Ancient Art of Batik Printing that you might enjoy.