When it comes to ideas, I never run out. But sometimes time is tight. So I am quite excited when I create an easy project that gives great results, and is really quick. While using silicone to make the concrete molds I realized how great this medium is. ‘And some old memories of printmaking helped me along… Make your own unique printing stamps!
You will need some leaves. Go outside, really, go, stop, and look around at the plants. You need foliage that has good texture and veins. I used Rhubarb and Solenostemon, a popular annual available here. But I am sure there are plenty of options. Even leafy vegetables will work.(it’s just a matter of looking) It should be relatively flat.
You will need:
- disposable gloves
- caulking gun
- exacto knife or similar and cutting surface
- bowl (old or disposable)
Cut the tip off the silicone tube, poke a hole as well and insert into the caulking gun. Put some cornstarch into the bowl and squeeze some into the pile. I liken this to making dough with flour and eggs.
Add some more cornstarch and start to work the ‘dough’
Keep the silicone together and knead it to incorporate the cornstarch.
Once it starts to feel like a dough and lose some the stickiness it can be formed into a ball. The proportions can vary, depending how much cornstarch is incorporated. I wanted this to be more on the silicone side for the details, so I did not mix in that much. Keep some cornstarch on your fingers to prevent sticking.
Once it is of even consistency, shape it into the leaf form.
On a very flat surface, flatten the ‘dough’ over the leaf with the back vein side facing up and pressing to make sure it fills all the details. I did not find that I needed any release agent (like vaseline or such)
Flatten it to an even thickness and outwards past the edges. I found that even 1/8″ or 3mm is enough.
You have now done the hard work… Congrats!
It sets fairly quickly (once it doesn’t mold under your fingers and shows bounce-back it is set). Now comes the magic! Carefully peek back the leaf to expose the great texture. Be amazed at how much this silicone picks up every tiny detail!
I made a few different sizes while I was at it as it doesn’t take a lot of silicone.
To further catch the character of the leaves, I cut the edges to match the real ones. Follow the outlines of the leaf and cut off. You could decide on whatever shape you like if using for an invitation or card. Let the designer in you shine…
A nail clipper also works well on the silicone.
Aren’t you proud and excited?! These are quite sturdy and do endure bending and scrubbing. Check here for the printing/stamping tutorial.