Artistcellar Blog

Imagine. Create. Enjoy.

Howdy and Happy New Year, everyone!

For today’s tutorial, I’d like to share an idea for carving your own stamps.

I happen to be taking two online classes that deal with astrology, so I chose to carve a set of zodiac signs, planets, and moon phase stamps to use in my art journals.

Here’s what you’ll need:

Steps 1-6:

  1. Print out your designs.
  2. Color in an image with your pencil.
  3. Flip the paper face down onto your carving material.
  4. Rub the back of the paper with your pencil.
  5. Take a peek to be sure the image is transferring.
  6. If so, remove the paper and get ready to carve!

Carve Your Stamps:

Using a Speedball Lino Cutter or other stamp carving tool, carve around the dark areas you traced and rubbed onto the carving material. You cut away the white space, and keep the dark areas. (This can be tricky for my brain to process, so be patient. I recommend starting with a simple design, until you get the hang of it.

Make a print of your stamp, using the Archival black ink pad.

Cut away any miscellaneous areas that you missed.

Keep going until you need a break. 

TIP: ALWAYS CUT AWAY FROM YOURSELF WHEN CARVING STAMPS. Cutting toward yourself will likely get you a bloody finger or worse! Those blades are sharp!

Enjoy your collection of hand-carved stamps!

Additional Tips:

Stay hydrated.

Use good lighting.

Get up and do some yoga stretches or shoulder rolls to keep your back and neck healthy.

Blessings to you,

Briana of


“You will rise by lifting others.” - Robert G. Ingersoll

When times are bleak we seize the smallest glimmer of hope wherever we can encounter it. I find myself in the midst of such times. For me, turning to my Art is a way of trying to make sense of what is clearly chaos.

I started my journey in Art as a printmaker. The mechanics of cutting a woodblock or prepping a stone always fills me with the comforting feeling of whispered anticipation. Working with the Speedball Lino Cutter and Speedycarve block was like visiting an old friend. And the timing couldn’t be better.

I drew simple butterfly shapes on to the Speedyblock as I wasn’t sure how easy it would be to carve. I must say, it was like pushing a warm knife through butter. Now that I am familiar with the block, I am looking forward to using it again on more finely detailed work. I tried both a conventional stamp pad and acrylic paint to print the image. Both were successful, but I preferred the acrylic paint finish. When dried, I coloured the butterflies using Twinkling H20 watercolours. I love their shimmer and rich hue…keeping true colour even when dry.

I love the variety and durability of the Artistcellar stencils. Adding to my Strathmore Journal, I grabbed the Halftone Dots and Seafoam stencils. I wanted to create a feeling of randomness. I allowed the stencils to drop to the paper without positioning them. My selection of acrylics was as accidental.

When all of the elements were complete, I scanned and began the final composition.

It is impossible to ignore the events surrounding us. The implications are global. But through it all, my spirit is renewed.  Each time I see a new group of concerned individuals lifting their voices in unison, I know we are seizing the essence of what makes us truly American. Like soaring butterflies, our differences are celebrated. And we will only rise when we support and lift each other.


Hello beautiful souls,

Wow this round was a big learning curve for me, but I am so excited with what I've learned and the confidence that was built after the experience. I haven't done a block print since my high school days and I graduated in 1997.  I will say this new speedy carve block is so much easier to carve than the old school linoleum blocks! The new speedball lino cutter is especially awesome too since you can store all of the blade tips inside the handle.

So let's take a look at my learning process so I can share with you what worked, what didn't and how to handicap your way around making things work with a few different programs and some creativity! I must admit design isn't one of my strong points even though I used to doodle all over my pages. Zentangle was a big help on figuring out some different design patterns to repeat for my block. I knew I was going to do an eye since eyes have been my obsession my entire life. I even sign my work with an eye next to it. I also love hearts and love, so a heart was going to be in the design as well. My signature eye has a swirl center so I used that style for my block. To start I grabbed a piece of paper and drew a rectangle the same size as the block so I knew how big my design needed to be.

As you can see from the first drawing the block design changed a few times before I settled on the final design. The first design wasn't quite it, the second design was too complex, and the 3rd drawing was just right! Next I outlined the drawing in black marker. Before I finished the other side of the drawing I had the amazing idea to take a photo, upload it into photoshop and mirror the image so that my design would line up more evenly.

As you can see the mirror messed up my swirl eye. I used the paintbrush tool in photoshop to fix up my image. I had just downloaded the program called inkscape that does image editing to use with my cricut machine so I used that program to refine my image and turn it into a vector image.

I just LOVE how the program smooths out all of the jaggedy lines and makes it look awesome! I aldo decided to do an inverted image to see if that would be easier to do for the block carving.

The lines looked easier with the first image so I went along with that taking care to carve out the white spaces instead of the black. Now how the heck to get this image transferred to the block?! I only have an inkjet printer not a laser jet that works for super awesome image transfers so I had to get creative. I tried to use alcohol on the block and press the marker inked image over it to transfer the image with little luck. I did some searching for help and found out you could run parchment paper through your printer and try to transfer the image that way. I taped parchment paper to cardstock and sent it through the printer. Hooray! I was able to get some ink on the parchment to transfer to the block! My first transfer didn't go so well and when I tried to remove the ink with  nail polish remover it smeared like this.

Well poop! This means I have one more chance to get it right so I could carve my block. So I flipped my block over and carefully tried again.

The image transferred, but it was so light. I took my marker and drew over the block to make the image easier to see for carving.

Next I went to work carving my block.

Oh man the block turned out so awesome! I did a test print with some pigment inks on  yupo paper.

If you haven't tried out this paper yet, its pretty awesome. I would say it's almost like using photo paper for art paper. The paper has a glossy finish to it and it does take a little while longer for it to dry since the inks seem to sit on top of the paper before being fully absorbed. Next I used some distress inks to do a few more prints.

I had an idea to do an awesome mandal a piece so I gessoed a piece of wood, water colored on top of it and then used my block to do some prints with inks on top.

Next I added some larger painted spots with some dina wakley paints in Fuchsia and Ocean. Here is the finished piece that I am calling "Infinite Possibilities".

What artistic hurdle have you overcome and how did is make your design stronger and build your confidence?

Love, light, and creativity,


Hello Starshine!

This week we are exploring carving stamps!

It's not as scary as it seems - - if you have the right tools. In the past, I attempted this with the wrong type of rubber piece and a exacto knife. It was a disaster... and it was scary. I didn't look back..

Until I received the box from Artistcellar! The lino cutter is a GAME CHANGER!

Today, I'm going to carve a couple stamps and then turn the stamp "test page" into a mixed media piece!

Supplies Used:

Hello Creatives! Today I played with a Speedball Lino Cutter, some speedy carve rubber and Dina Wakley's new paint colors. I love the results!

To start I sketched several ideas and decided to make house designs. After creating a few I really liked I traced the designs onto tracing paper with a regular ol' pencil. To transfer the designs to the rubber I simply put the tracing paper on the rubber with the graphite face down on it and used my finger to gently rub the back of the designs. Easy peasy!

Using a small v shaped blade I cut my designs and then used a utility knife to slice down the rubber and separate the roofs from the body of the houses. 

To print I squeezed a pea-sized amount of paint onto a paint palette and used a brayer to smooth it out to a thin layer. I could then tap my stamp into the paint and then stamp onto some white paper. 

I was pleased to find the roofs and bodies could be interchangeable!! Woohoo!

These designs have many possibilities. I could make handmade cards for all types of occasions by just changing the colors and adding simple details. Here I doodled around the houses: 

 I hope you try making your own stamps! What designs would you create?