How a Hand-Carved Rubber Stamp is Made |

Tyr's Hand-Carved Stamp Tutorial

(also applies to soft lino/linoleum)

If you're like me, you my have tried carving in your erasers when you were a school kid. What about making more intricate patterns, texts and images on a piece of rubber?

If you've been to my shop, you might be wondering how I make all the stamps there.This blog post shows you how the "Thank you" typography stamp below is made. (There is a larger picture on my shop banner.)


Step One - Sketching

recommended: tracing paper

I like to sketch on tracing paper. It doesn't really matter if it's just a typography stamp like this one I'm making, but if it's a more complicated stamp, tracing paper gives you the opportunity to sketch on the back of the paper to change small parts without having to erasing the main parts of the sketch on the front. 

You can also use a tracing paper to trace down your favorite images or printed pictures.


Step Two - Perfecting the Sketch

Use pencils softer than 2B

Using a soft and ideally bolder pencil, strength the lines to perfect your sketch. If you're making a typography stamp like I am, study different fonts (cursive fonts in my case) and make your sketch nice and pretty.


Step Three - Transferring the Image and Shaping the Rubber Block

This step will help the rest of the process.

Place the tracing paper with your sketch facing down on the rubber surface you are going to carve, then gently scraping it with your fingernail. I sometimes use corners of credit cards, tip of my pen cap etc., basically anything with a flat and round edge will do. 

When scraping, hold down your tracing paper firmly so that it does not move around. When you are done, lift a corner of the tracing paper to see if the image is completely printed onto the rubber or lino you're using.

After transferring the image you'd want to remove the extra bits of the rubber. I also like round outline for my piece of rubber because it's easier to hold.


Step Four - Carving!

Use a scalpel, a gouge or just a sharp crafting knife.

Using the scalpel, start carving from the outline. Keep the blade heading away from the line you're carving.

Using a gouge, you can remove chuncks of rubber between the lines or outside the design.

Long curves are the hardest to carve. When carving them, you wanna turn the rubber against the knife instead of "tracing" the line with your knife.


Step Five - Final Check

Almost there, yay!

After the stamp is completed and before making the final print, I like to remove the pencil marks with a kneadable eraser (the gray kind you'll find in your local art supply places) and try making a couple of prints with a lighter-colored ink pad so that I can check and make the final changes.



You have your completed hand-carved rubber stamp now.


So do you have any questions?

I would love to answer any questions you have regarding rubber stamps. Supplies, carving, printing, keeping the stamps, ink pads and so on. 

And I will write more tutorials so stay in tune! You can find me on Instagram @ttyr and on Facebook.


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Happy carving!

Hugs from Stockholm,



  • Maryhelen lowrimore

    your stamps are terrific. I am looking forward to learning how to improve my attempts and actually producing stamps that I can use and be happy with. looking forward to hearing from you. maryhelen

  • Shirley

    I’m new at this, have tracing paper,carving tools, rubber, just don’t know the easiest thing to practice working on. Should I get a book, or work on something I like? Till I like how it looks, this is very interesting.

  • Samantha

    I would love to know if you have any tips for carving small dots, such as eyes. I keep practicing, but I have a really hard time getting eyes the same size and not lopping them off as I carve them. I try to turn the rubber instead of the gouge but a lot of the time I end up with a spiral. Any hints would be really appreciated! Thanks!

    BTW, your stamps are incredibly gorgeous!!

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