Seeing patterns: Carve your own rotating stamp

Hey everyone! It’s Sarah today and we’re going to be stamp carving. I’ve really gotten into creating my own tools and these stamps will give you plenty of options to create patterns in your art journal.

seeing patterns: carve your own rotating stamp

For supplies you will need:

  • a square gum eraser*
  • linoleum block carving tool
  • marker
  • stamping ink
  • art journal

*If you can’t find gum erasers, a white eraser or the pink “speedy-carve” rubber are good alternatives. Just make sure you cut these into perfect squares first.


seeing patterns: carve your own rotating stamp

First you are going to take some time to draw out patterns. Remember to focus on designs that radiate from the corners, so you can create multiple “center” images. When you are ready to carve, transfer the design onto the eraser with a marker. To help get clean lines, take your time carving and rotate the eraser to help with curved lines. Testing your stamps first, on scrap paper, is a great way to check your lines. When you’re ready to stamp in your journal remember to rotate your stamp 90 degrees every time you stamp, stamping in a square.

You can create a stamp that directly fits in with images in your altered book or like this spread below use the stamp to inspire a spread.

seeing patterns: carve your own rotating stamp

seeing patterns: carve your own rotating stamp

Design Tips

For this tutorial I would like to discuss on the design elements of shape and space. Here, shapes are a two dimensional form and I used them as the base for the pattern. Carving shapes, like the rain drop, created a flower when combined with the four stamped images. The play comes when you combine a variety of shapes to create an unexpected outcome when stamped.

Stamping is also the perfect time to talk about negative and positive space. Positive space is the subject, or area of interest and negative space is the area around the subject. With stamps you get to really play with the two. We’ve all seen the black and white image where you either see two faces or a vase, this show’s that the subject can change depending on what you make the focus. With my black line stamp, I removed all excess material, so the positive space are the lines and the negative space became the entire background. With the blue and purple stamps, right above, the negative space is more contained. In a more contained space. negative space also makes it’s own shapes, which can be fun to play with too.

There is also the design principle of pattern. And this one is no secret, a pattern is a pattern, just any repeating element. They can be ordered or random, so again, just play with it!

Action Items

Take time to sketch out some stamp designs.

If your altered book has images, find one and create a design that will fit in with it.

Carve and stamp into your journal, connected the elements on the page to you repeating pattern.


Sara lives in Rockland County, New York. The best part of art journaling for Sarah is that it’s just for her. She can be as free as she wants in the pages and there’s no right or wrong. Her art journals have become more than just a way to try new supplies and techniques, but a way for her to document the phases of her life.


  1. Miriam Gault

    Thanks for the great lesson Sarah. I always wanted to have a go at stamp carving and you have made it seem do able.

  2. Sherry-Lynn Agcanas-Wolf

    You make stamp carving look so achievable! What an awesome lesson, Sarah. And I have always wanted to create a rotatable stamp. I am finally ready to dust off my stamp carving tools and give it a try. Thank you for the boost of confidence by sharing your process!

  3. Clare Etheridge

    This is magic! I have a set of carving tools which I am going to find right now and I am off to the art store this weekend for gum erasers! See what you have done, you have made me go to buy art supplies!!! More reasons to love this tutorial!

  4. Sasha Zinevych

    This is so fun! I wish I had the tools to make it, I have always wanted to try!

  5. Christina Cloud

    This is a great tutorial and I’m leaning towards buying stamp carving materials and tools now! I’m also really enjoying your discussions on design theory!

  6. Tanyalee Kahler

    Awesome – I’ve always been intimidated by stamp carving even though I’ve had a kit from typo for about three years now! Maybe I’m brave enough to try – you made it look so easy!

  7. Florence Turnour

    I love the stamp you made with the squares and lines. The stamped images are somewhat symmetric and asymmetric at the same time.

  8. Lis

    I had no idea it was so easy. I always pictured stamp carving as difficult, probably based on trying to carve lino in art class. Who knew! Now I want to carve all the things!

  9. Lisa Monconduit

    Excellent tutorial. I recently found the stamp carving supplies on clearance. I will have to try it out.

  10. Rebecca Johnstone

    So fab! really want to try this now as you made it look so simple yet so effective 😀

  11. Marsha Smusz

    Love this tutorial, Sarah. And all your stuff! We need a play date. 🙂 <3