Monday, November 18, 2013

Snowflake Stamp Tutorial

Winter has arrived.  We've had snow here in the valley (it's melted now) and warm sweaters and scarves have come out of the closet.  All just in time to paint Winter Windows. This is the fourth year that I have signed up to paint a Winter Window for a business downtown. For the last two years I have done two businesses.  Because of other commitments, I only signed up for one this year.

When I received the email with my assigned business, I went to Google maps to see where it was located.  I used the street view to look at the windows.  I created a design and called the owner to set up a time to meet and get approval.

When I went to the location for our meeting, my heart sank as I realized they were not located at the address I had.  I gave them a call and they were a few doors down the street.  The email had not given me an address, just the business name.  Even if I had looked on their website, I still would have had an old address (not the one Google gave me).

I showed the owner the designs for the other windows and said I could rework it to try to fit it into his windows, but he didn't seem to like that idea much.  So I said I would create a new design.  I asked if he had anything he envisioned and he mentioned "icicles" and "lacy".

Being a jewelry store, there are lots of display cases in the windows that I need to work around.  I decided to do simple lacy snowflakes that I think will look very nice. The owner approved the idea. Since there are quite a few windows, I am not planning to paint all the snowflakes by hand.

Last year when I had a business with lots of large windows, I tried to figure out how to paint it faster (because you get paid the same amount for each business, no matter what the size of the windows).  I created some simple stamps for parts of it and they seemed to work well.

So this year, I have made my own lacy snowflake stamps to use on the windows and I wanted to share with you how I did it.  You need simple fun foam with adhesive on the back (I bought mine at Michael's), an Exacto knife (or scissors for young kids), cutting mat and a piece of foam core (or thick cardboard or plexiglas).

Making stamps from fun foam is not my idea.  Basically, the idea is that you will cut shapes out of the foam, attach to a support and stamp.  But how do you do a lacy snowflake?  Here's what I did.

I found some polar graph paper on the internet and printed it out on a full sheet of label paper. Using the guidelines of the paper, I created a snowflake design in pencil.  When I was happy with it, I outlined it using a regular Sharpie marker.

Then I trimmed off the extra paper, peeled off the backing paper and stuck it to the back of the fun foam (paper side).

Placing this on the cutting mat, I started cutting outside the Sharpie lines with my Exacto knife.  A new, sharp blade helps because you are cutting through two paper layers and the thickness of the foam.  Straight lines are easier than curves.  Simple shapes are easier than intricate snowflakes.

Here is one almost completely cut.

Now you can peel off the backing paper of the foam and stick the shape to the foam core (or cardboard).

You can try using a stamp pad to make your image.  Or the way I use them is to paint some paint onto to the stamp with a foam brush.  Then stamp on whatever you want.

I made several different sizes.  I'm painting the windows today and will show you the results later.

Kids could use scissors to cut simple shapes.  Or fun foam comes in all kinds of pre-cut shapes.  If it doesn't already have an adhesive back, you could use tacky glue to stick it to your support.  You could also put several different shapes on the same support.  If you want to use pre-cut letters, remember to glue them to the support backwards so they stamp correctly.

Now you know my trade secret - which isn't really a secret, or my trade either for that matter.


Linda Vermette said...

This is a great idea. It would be a super art class project too.

Dianne M. said...

Lisa, I'm just reading this and am blown away. First, this is such a creative idea. I was even wondering if there wasn't some sort of washable medium that could be stamped on walls and washed off after Christmas. Love your window and bet the store owner was really pleased. Great tutorial. Second, who knew there was such a thing as POLAR GRAPH PAPER! Seriously! I am so excited. I don't know what I am going to use it for in the future except for the snowflakes (which I really want to make). But, now I know it exists and when I need it, I'll know where to go looking! It's sometimes funny how a small thing like this can be exciting to folks like me who love creative resources. I can see using it for making quilt block patterns, making perfect proportional spacing easy. Love it all. Thanks, sweetie.

Lisa Flowers Ross said...

Glad you liked it, Dianne. I hadn't thought of using the polar graph paper for quilts. Good idea! It is just so fun to play with to make snowflakes.