If you love the rustic look of woodcut prints, you’ll love using botanical rubber stamps you design and make yourself. An envelope made of repurposed brown bag paper– then stamped with your handcarved garden motif — makes the coolest seed packet in the known universe. Here’s a quick tutorial on the process. Fun!

You will need: Some paper, a Magic Rub white rubber eraser, a v-gouge linoleum cutter or X-Acto knife, a 2B pencil or a fine-tipped marker and some nail polish remover. You might need a tablespoon — more on that in a minute. And you’ll need a stamp pad.


1. Sketch or trace a simple design on a small piece of paper… copy paper or tracing paper, anything fairly lightweight. Plan your stamp to fit on the surface of your Magic Rub eraser. Make your lines clean and bold, and avoid tiny details.


2.  Now it’s time to transfer your artwork to your white rubber at eraser. There are two ways to accomplish this. Try each, and decide which works best for you. One way is to go over your design in black fine-tip marker, place it face-down over your Magic Rub eraser, and rub the back of the paper with a cotton ball dipped in fingernail polish remover or acetone. (Use good ventilation. Fumes aren’t good for you.) The other method, which I use, is to use a 2B pencil for your design, then simply place it face-down on the white eraser and burnish the back of the paper with a tablespoon. The pencil transfers nicely to the eraser, and you don ‘t have to avoid breathing while accomplishing your goal!


3. Time to carve. Cut away the negative space, leaving the lines of your design in place. Go slowly, and work in good strong light. A v-gouge, made for carving linoleum blocks and available at your local art supply store, will provide smooth and easy cutting. But you can do a very creditable job with an ordinary X-acto knife. You’ll need to cut at an angle, to allow you to remove slices of the eraser. Sacrifice an old eraser for the purpose of practicing this technique before tackling your design.


Hooray! You’re done. Ink your stamp generously on a color stamp pad and start stamping. This activity is highly addictive, and soon you’ll have an entire collection.