Making my own alphabet stamps

Carving alphabet stamps
In a previous post, I described my first attempts to carve my own rubber stamps, with help from a new book by Julie Fei-Fan Balzer. I'm devoting this post to the alphabet. As in "a, b, c, d, e, f, g…." As in carving 26 individual (and quite small) stamps.

One of the goals of this exercise, Julie says, is to learn patience. Boy, is she right.

Julie's book provides sample letters to trace, but I wanted to use a book I'd had in my stash for years, possibly decades -- Special effects and topical alphabets. It was published before the Internet, and it came with no CD -- just pages of letters to trace by hand.
A book of royalty-free alphabets from the 90s
There were some I liked more, but I chose this Asian-flavored alphabet because it seemed simple enough for a beginning carver:
Chinatown font
And just the lower-case letters. The upper-case ones would have to wait for another day (year?)

One thing Julie didn't mention but should have:  Don't carve the stamps in alphabet order. Carve in Scrabble point order -- start with J, K, and X. That way, you can make your mistakes on the least common letters.

Left-brained as I am, I started with "a". In other words, my very first stab at carving a tiny letter (backwards) was on one of the most common vowels in the English language. And my fifth try was the very most common letter -- "e." 

Here's my finished alphabet (almost -- guess which letter I forgot).
Carving alphabet stamps
And the resulting images. (Please ignore the upside-down "k.")
Carving alphabet stamps
As you can see, I still have some cleanup to do. "h" and "p" are particularly messy.

To make them easier to handle, I glued each stamp to a Scrabble tile. Since I'm still practicing, I didn't want to use my perfect tiles. Instead I rummaged through my pile of cracked tiles. In some cases, I had to write the letter with a sharpie. When I finally hone my carving skills and produce a flawless set of letters, I'll use my good tiles.
Carving alphabet stamps
Whew, I'm glad this exercise is over. On to more fun (but possibly less useful) stamps.


  1. they look great for your first attempt. great idea to glue them onto scrabble tiles!

  2. Thanks! Now I know why alphabet stamps are so spendy.


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