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 quickly! While making my concrete molds I realized how really great this medium is and perfect to make your own silicone stamp. Some old memories of printmaking helped me along… Simple and very inexpensive.
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:
- leaves with detailed vein texture
- disposable gloves
- caulking gun
- exacto knife or similar and cutting mat
- 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. If you like you could use a dusted rolling device.
You have now done the hard work… Congrats!
Finishing the Stamp:
It sets fairly quickly (once it doesn’t dent 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. For ease of repeated use you could glue a backing handle to the stamp. And this is not limited to leaves, any interesting textured material could be used.
Check here for the printing/stamping tutorial.
This Post Has 18 Comments
Ok so this one is right up my alley – light & easy – and printable – WhoOt! THANKS !
For sure! And you have direct access to a lot of foliage and leaves in your garden. Some of the leafy vegetables have a great texture. Perhaps print with a couple colours swirled together… Oh, there I go again, dreaming up more ideas…
Thank You Barb I can’t wait to try these…one of a kind sounds good to me.
I’m happy to help. I was thinking about those this week as I was making some ‘texture panels’ to use in casting concrete. I am really quite amazed at that silicone/starch mix each time I use it. I keep my eyes out for any interesting relief textures (placemats, lace, bark, whatever) Happy making…
Hi. Loved this tutorial and I did try it out with some success. I wanted to make text stamps and for them to stick on an acrylic blocks. so I came up with an idea using beeswax. xx
Once you cross the line to making molds form found objects you will look at all things in a different way… Good idea wit the beeswax. I just hate trying to clean it off of things.
I have a Christmas ornament with my dog’s paw in it. If I want to get her paw out of it, can I use this method to kind of create a stamp of her paw? She has since passed away, otherwise I would just put some ink on her paw and go the easy route.
Any help or other ideas of how I could achieve this would be appreciated. I want something like rubber with a little flexibility so I can roll it on paper. Thanks!
yes, This should work fine. Perhaps it’s best to put a bit of vaseline on it so the molding mix does not stick to it. I’m not sure what the ornament is made of. Cool idea!
What a fantastic idea, I can’t believe how well the stamp captures the intricate details of the leaf! Do you think these these stamps could also be used to make a wall stencil with acrylic paint?
I have marvelled at how well the silicone stays and takes scrubbing etc. The key to making a good stencil would be to have a flat surface and then you could glue it to a handle/backplate so to make it easier when applying multiple times. You may want to test the paint though as it might not be heavy body enough, and use an acrylic printing ink. I use leaves so many ways for the textures!
What a great idea!! Thanks for such a clear tutorial.
I moved into a new house in June and inherited a castor plant. That’s a new one for me. The leaves on it are spectacular. They’re huge – about 15” across (!!) with really deep veins.. As soon as I saw them I knew I wanted to make molds for use in printing. I can’t wait to try your technique!
I’d also like to make concrete stepping stones based on the leaves. Do you have any advice on that?
Haha, When I read your comment I immediately thought of my stepping stones! I do use the ‘gifts’ of nature; leaves a lot! Check out my eco printing too… Warning; you may get hooked on making things… But I am here to help.
Thanks, Barb. Having fun on your website. I think I will make some leaf stamps to add to my watercolors. And I am going to harvest some leaves from the smoke tree across the street so I can try printing a silk scarf. One of my neighbors has a Japanese Maple and there is bamboo on the other side. I have some deadlines to meet so I can’t try it until winter. That’s what I need, one more thing to do – but it is irresistible. I looked up that silk source. Their prices are far more reasonable than I anticipated.
You can keep your leaves between paper until you need them. I have soooo many art forms on the go I get dizzy sometimes. But I can never say I am bored. It’s such hands-on learning that I swear it’s so healthy for the brain. Do be aware there may be taxes/duty/shipping costs when ordering. I’m over the border.
I’d like to create these myself as an economical and practical way for my four classes of 4th grade students use leaves with paint stamping during Art class even after Autumn is over.. Do you think these will hold up to repeated use? Are they pretty sturdy? I’d love for students to create the leaves themselves, but time and safety with materials is an issue. Thanks!
The silicone does hold up perfectly to repeated use and washing! However, my concern would be that the children are too young to manage the silicone mix and it is quite smelly when working with. Maybe it would be better to make stamps out of an airdry clay or fimo. I think I have read that fimo can be cooked in boiling water. If they make the stamps then you can boil them during a recess. They can then apply paint or some printing ink to the stamps to use.
Oh, I meant that I would create a class set from fresh leaves and silicone, and then students would use the silicone stamps in printmaking. It’s good to know the stamps will hold up. Thank you.
This is great (as usual for your projects), thanks for sharing!!! Could these stamps be used as molds for concrete?