September 14, 2011

DIY: Cork Stamps

I have a story. (I always have a story.)  When I was in Junior High art class we were given the project of making our own rubber stamp to stamp out our own greeting cards (hmm, come to think of it, maybe it was my calling). The nerd that I am, I was so excited to finish the project that I rushed through the end of it and cut myself REALLY badly with the craft knife. So badly that I was removed from ballet class one day because my cut opened up and I was bleeding all over the dance floor. (I'm still in therapy over it - HA!) I still have the scar to prove it.

Anyway, since that day I have a bit of an aversion to craft knives. But my crafty friend Andy (who helped me out with my quilled cupcake shop) reminded me of my stamping days by telling me that I could repurpose old wine corks and use them as stamps.  Oh boy... another obsession.  She made me a cupcake one that I use in some of my packaging but I had to give it a go.

I want to share with you all how easy and fun it is.  So, here we go:

You will need:

  • A bunch of corks. (Use the spongiest ones you have.  If it's too dry it will crumble.)
  • A sharpie, one thin and one thick (depends on your design).  They sell them with dual-tips! 
  • A VERY sharp and good craft knife (I used Andy's X-acto - she lives upstairs and she is mad cool like that)

Start off by drawing your design on with the Sharpie

I started off with a heart because it's easy.

Cut around your shape by sticking the knife in about 1/4 inch down.  It's a small "puncture" move.  No slicing.  You want to sort of ease the knife down and around the design little by little.

(Of course you will do this in the correct direction.  I was actually cutting and I stopped to snap the pic so the knife is upside-down.)

After you cut around the whole design you will now slice into the cork sideways about 1/4 of an inch down.  Do not hack into it.  It is cork so it may crumble.  Slowly slice in a back and forth motion all around the design.  Don't cut under the design, just around.  If you happen to cut too deep just hack it all off and start over.

Now you slowly chip away the excess with your knife.  I also used an awl I had to get into more complicated designs.  Slow and steady wins the race!

Now you test your stamp.  I used black ink on all of the designs but you can absolutely use colors.  Once you ink it you will see what areas need to be cleaned up and cut more.

These stamps won't make pretty and clean designs.  (Note the hole in the heart made by an indentation in the cork.)  They are very textured and earthy feeling (which I absolutely love).  If you're looking for the pretty pristine ones, then you might want to skip out on this.  

I kept cutting and made more:

A cassette!

A birdie.

My camera design.  Made on a larger Prosecco cork.

Here they are all inked up and tested.

At the end are my cupcake and my name (Sandy).  
Yes, if you're patient, you can do that, too!
Just remember that it has to be backwards or your design will stamp backwards.

SWEET Stamping!

P.S.  My favorite wine is Navarro Correas Malbec.  Budget friendly and the perfect companion to a delicious entraña (skirt steak).  But don't go cutting your corks after having a bottle!  LOL!


  1. I also like cork because its very light and textured. I've created earrings using cork as well (which you can find in my Etsy Shop: had to plug that in...LoL!)... You make wonderful creations w/ paper Sandy and this just shows another level of your uniqueness. You Rock girl...

  2. I like so much this idea!! Thanks!

  3. It looks great!! Sad to say in things are a-bit different where i stay... it would cost ~10Euro's to collect a cork from a bottle of wine.. or ~1Euro for a custom made rubber stamp..

  4. so creative, cute & cheap! i like how sustainable this idea is. :) props!!

  5. so easy,creative & unique!!!
    I've been needing a little birdie I will definitely have to make one!


  6. I loooove stamps but often they are so expensive - especially for something I'd only use when I get in a letter writing mood. Awesome idea, thanks!!

  7. are you kidding me? this is AMAZING!
    i will HAVE to try it.... soon!
    I was saving my corks knowing I would use them for a project one day... but I was think jewelry/a cork mat.. but this project climbed to the top :)
    I cannot get over the detail you gave each stamp, like the camera and name? I don't have enough patience... might just do hearts (solids stamps) heehee.

  8. Hi!

    I just wanted you to know I have featured one of your post and mentioned in my blog.

    Here you can see it:

    Thanks for sharing wonderful ideas,


  9. When I took Multi-media Art in high school we did stamps as a precursor to linoleum blocks. We used erasers though. The little square ones. And the sharp thing you carve linoleum with. Didn't knick myself once. And still have a bucket full of them. I was actually using them today and trying to think of a way to make a basic heart without having any erasers.

    I do have a scar straight to the bone on my left pinkie finger from an X-acto knife. Sliced straight through like a hot knife through butter. Put the wound back together with butterfly bandages....I was whittling a walking stick while my parents were out. And being 16 I should have known better.

    Off to go make the heart stamp I need and get back to my project. Yay!

  10. Hello. I am going to feature these stamps on a new series on my blog called " Words I wish I wrote". I willow course link back to you. Please let me know if its not ok. I will gladly take it off. I will post it tonight at 7:00 central.


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