While there's really nothing novel about using wine corks to make stamps, I thought I'd take the time to write a tutorial so that I can share insight from my experience in making these stamps. Carving portraits can be a little...fiddly.
So, these are the supplies that you need:
- A clean, dry wine cork
- Scrap paper
- X-acto knife
- Ink pad (for stamping)
- Adhesive backed paper for labels (optional)
So after you've gathered the supplies, it might be helpful to first make some preliminary sketches like I did in the picture. Try not to make the sketches too detailed, since the surface is pretty tiny, and you're going to have to hand carve the cork.
TIP: Remember that when you actually use the stamp, a mirror image of what you carve will appear. Very important when you want to incorporate letters, etc.
The next step is to use an ink pen to draw your sketch on the cork. Like so:
TIP: Try to pick smooth wine corks, like the one on the right, for the best results. Well, unless you like having pock marks all over your face (or want to create that impression), then by all means, pick a cork like the one on the left. You'll see that I used a "bumpy" cork for my own portrait...I look like I have a goatee in the final product because of the holes in the cork, hehe. A worthwhile sacrifice for the sake of comparison to illustrate the point.
Okay, so now that we have an outline on the cork, it is time to carve away the outside. Make sure you insert the knife straight (ie perpendicular) to the cork's surface. Use the X-acto knife to trace an outline along the outside of the drawing.
TIP: Make sure the blade is sharp! Dull knives are far more dangerous than sharp knives. Plus, sharp knives cut cleaner, and your life will basically be easier when you carve the cork.
Turn the cork on its side, and make a light cut around the cork, about 1-2 mm from the side with the drawing. I found it easier to divide the top of the cork into four sections, and work at cutting away one section at a time. So when the area outside of the drawing is hollowed out, your cork should look like this:
Notice the depth of the cut (look at the cork on the right, turned on its side). Okay, now we're ready to get at the details of the drawing. First use the knife to trace an outline along the inside of the face and ears. Next, outline the facial details. Just remember to go from the outside in. After you have traced the outline for your entire drawing (the presence of the cork provides stability for your knife to create clean edges), then you may proceed to slowly pick at the cork to create a raised image. Use the very tip of the knife to pick away tiny pieces of cork. I'd start with the areas where there are thin ink lines, like the eyebrows and the edge of the face.
It's better to chip away small pieces than to risk taking off an eyeball or a piece of ear like I did. Slow and steady wins the race, so in this case, if you have the patience to carve the cork at turtle speed, more power to ya.
Yay, so now we're all finished with the carving part. Your stamps are ready to be used. You can stop here if you want, but for the sake of completeness, I made a label for the top of the stamp. Basically, take your stamp and stamp it on some adhesive backed paper. If you're feeling fancy, you can use embossing powder to emboss the image. Now, remove the adhesive backing. Position the stamped image near the top of the cork, making sure the image is as closely aligned to the actual stamp carving (on the bottom) as you can get it. Stick the stamped image to the cork. Turn the stamp around, and push the top into a table a couple times to apply pressure and create a solid bond. Now, it's time to cut out extra paper around the edges. I used small sewing scissors for a more precise cut. (Alternately, you can use the top of the cork as a stencil and cut out the circle before stamping the image/placing the stamped image on the cork.)
(In case you're wondering, I had to use my right hand to hold the camera, hence why the scissors are suspended in thin air.) Your stamp is now finished and ready for display. Enjoy!
Here are my new stamps, proudly displayed at the corner of my craft station. I hope this was helpful.