DIY Wine Cork Stamp: A Personalized Touch

Hey, Kids! I’ve got something for you! Lately I’ve been tossing around different ideas for branding my crochet goodies and have been trying different ideas for adding tags to my hats, headbands, scarves, etc. I decided that making my own stamp and stamping out tags would fit best with my “hand made” ideology. So I made a stamp and bought a fabric ink pad, and because it worked oh so well I thought I would share the idea with you! So here goes my *gasp* VERY FIRST TUTORIAL! Bare with me.. it’s not perfect but you’ll get the gist.

What will you need?

  • Wine cork – actual cork material works best; try to stay away from the foamy material like I used here (it’s all I had on hand) or else you’ll have a lot of holes in your stamp. But if that’s the look you’re going for then go for it!
  • Exacto knife
  • Scissors – I didn’t use these for the stamp in this tutorial but if you don’t have an exacto knife, sewing scissors work well; they just aren’t as precise as the blade.
  • Tissue paper – Color doesn’t matter..
  • Pen – Try to use an ink pen like the one in the photo, not a ball point. You’ll need the ink to bleed through the tissue paper and transfer onto the cork.

1: Cut the cork to size

For this stamp I will just be making a tiny heart to stamp on small pieces of shoe lace, so I used a knife to cut 1/3 of the cork off. I will be using the inside area of the cork as my stamp. Essentially I can get 3 small stamps out of this one cork.

2: Make an outline on the cork so you know what area you’ll have to work with.

Because my shoe lace is thin, I need to know how big to make my heart so it will fit onto the shoe lace. I laid the shoe lace on the cork and used that as a guide to how big I could make my heart.

3a: Draw your shape inside of your outline

I free handed a teeny heart for my stamp =)

3b: If you want to use more of a difficult stamp pattern such as lettering…

Use your pen and tissue paper to draw or write your desired pattern. I used my initials as an example. Cut the tissue down to size so it’s easy to lay over the cork. Flip the piece of tissue paper over so you see the backwards image of your text or image. Because I used an ink pen rather than a ball point pen, the ink bleeds through to the other side making it easy to see the text or image.

3c: Lay your tissue paper on top of the cork and trace the image or text using your pen.

Make sure you go over the image 2 or 3 times so the ink will bleed through and transfer onto the cork. You’ll end up with a faint image like this:

4: Back to my heart.. Use the exacto knife to first cut away outside of your outline. Please don’t cut yourself!!!

The outline is helpful here because you can basically whittle your way down to the true stamp shape. Start by cutting along your outline and then cut around the cork perpendicular to your cuts. You’ll end up with this:

5: Cut away the excess until your image/text  is left

Here is where the precision comes in.. You need to be a little more precise with text, and that’s where an exacto knife comes in handy.

6: Stamp away!!

I hope this was easy enough to follow.. After all, it is my first tutorial! If you will be stamping on fabric you’ll need a fabric ink pad. VersaCraft is a great brand and comes in lots of fun colors. I found mine on eBay for around $7. If you’re using this ink, make sure you let the stamped fabric dry over night and heat set it. Lay a piece of fabric over your stamped fabric and use a hot iron back and forth for about a minute. Once the ink is heat set it will be permanent and can be washed without the ink washing off.

I made another stamp for my crochet tags. This was before I bought a new exacto knife so I used sewing scissors to cut away at the cork. The lines aren’t as clean but it works just fine and I kind of like the imperfect look of it!

Now that I have tags on my hand made goodies I kind of feel legit! I love how the small tag looks and the hand made stamp just adds to the hand made beauty of a crocheted hat or scarf. My thoughts are that the more love and thought you put into your work, the more it will be loved and cherished by whoever receives it =) Now, to what will you add your personal touch??

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Time to Brag About My Christmas!

Well, it’s the day after Christmas. Crazy last minute crocheting and wrapping complete. Last minute cooking and baking over. But I’m left with the euphoric feeling I always have after spending some very much needed ultra quality time with family and friends. I certainly wish my whole family could have been together, but my oldest sister Lauren lives in Oregon and wasn’t able to fly in. We did get to Skype with her and Amanda though so they were here in spirit!

I become a big dork when the holidays come around because of all of the little activities that come along with Christmas: wrapping presents, making cookies, more baking, celebrating with family and friends. Since I started crocheting in 2009 I’ve made little gifts for everyone. Last year it was headbands, and this year was coffee mug cozies! I snuck in a picture of my coffee mug wearing a cozy in my Thanksgiving post, but I’ve been working on making a bunch of them in the last few weeks to give as gifts this year. I stuck big awesome vintage buttons on them and they turned out great =) My friend Jess R is a big DIY fiend so I attempted my very first amigurumi and made her some peas in a pod, and she made me a mustache pillow! It also had a bird on the other side of the pillow.. Put a bird on it! Finally, I pulled out my antique apron for a night of baking cookies with my two bestest friends, Jessica and Karli.

Friday was the 10th annual grab bag party with friends I’ve had since forever ago. I must be notorious for loving moustachios.. in addition to the mustache pillow I got an amazing coffee mug with a mustache on it and inside it was stuffed with Godiva chocolate and a gift card for Michaels craft store! I’m in love =)

This year I tried to incorporate as much DIY as I could. I made the cozies for gifts, used this idea from Sarah’s Never-Ending Projects to make canvas photos for my friend who had a baby back in October, I also spent an evening making salt dough and punching out shapes for tags on my gifts, and for making ornaments (J K L is for my sisters and me.. Jenna, Krystle, Lauren). That was a lot of fun and they turned out pretty cute! I crocheted little scarves for the gingerbread men shapes.

Wrapping presents is easily one of my favorite parts of Christmas. So many people hate it and find it tedious but I find myself getting overly excited about putting pretty bows and decorations on boxes and seeing those receiving it light up when they get a box they can’t bare to rip apart. I get nerdy about decorating as well. I spent the day before Christmas Eve decorating my Aunt’s boyfriend’s house where my mom’s whole side of the family would meet on Christmas Eve. Garland and twinkling lights galore!

As much fun as it is giving gifts, receiving them is pretty awesome too..! I got so many great gifts from my family and friends! From my parents I got the Spinner 360 lomography camera which I can NOT wait to start using! My sister Krystle got me a Yeti Blimpus created by my friend Mike Serafin (you should check them out because they’re more than awesome!). I also got lots of gift cards for Michael’s craft store so I can finally buy some fancy yarn and make something nice for myself, and all of the other little goodies that made Christmas great this year like all of the delicious smelling soaps by Amanda and apple pie shots made my my cousin Andy and wife Angie. Mmm!

Was Santa good to you?? Or did the Krampus come and beat you with sticks for being naughty? I certainly hope it wasn’t the latter.. Now that Christmas is over it’s time to start getting excited for one fantastic year to end, and another to begin!

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Cuddles and Crochet

Fa la la la….Oh hey, there! Sorry, just taking in the sweet bliss that is Christmas break. This of course means a break from school and now dedicating most of my day to catching up on all of the junk I haven’t had time for in the past 4 months. It also means that Christmas is.. wait for it.. less than a week away and I have WAY too much to get done. So in the spirit of being overwhelmed and having completely neglected this blog in almost 2 weeks, I’ll grace your day with a short, fluffy and cuddly post.

Ever found a skein of yarn has mysteriously popped out from its place? Find a ball of yarn plucked and pulled across the room? Do you have a cat? As cliché as a cat playing with a ball of yarn is, I can’t help but warm up inside every time my calico kitty paws at the yarn I’m working with.  As much as I want to shoo her off the bed and stop grabbing at the colorful strand that is more enticing than catnip, I let her play because it’s too darn cute.  I also always find that a yarn ball seems to come loose from its shelf and somehow gets strewn around my room.  My sister’s dachshund is another unbelievably cute story.  Midge is the biggest cuddle bug among cuddlers to the point that it’s stupid. She always has to be next to someone… So it never surprises me when I’m working on a project and she jumps up next to me, looks me in the eyes and seems to say, “Hello, I’m here to be your warming pad on this chilly Winter day! Get ready to snuggle.” And then she proceeds to push my yarn out of my lap with her nose and plop down in its place.  Yesterday I sat down to bang out a chunk of my Christmas gifts for the family and she found her spot in the midst of all the (cheap Red Heart *don’t judge me, I’m trying to use it up*) yarn I had on the couch with me.

So here are some photos.  As annoying as my animals can be while tugging the yarn out of my hands, they’re too adorable to keep to myself.  And really.. Is there anything better than snuggling up with your furry friend and relaxing? I didn’t think so.

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Caught in the act of pulling yarn from its nook..

Keeping me company while I make coffee mug cozies. Bored to death obv.

Tacky With a Side of Inspiration…

Back in July when I was visiting my sister and cousin Amanda in Oregon, Amanda handed me a huge manilla envelope filled with old crocheting and crafting magazines.  At the time I just saw them as one more thing I had to shove into my already exploding suitcase, and they have been tucked underneath a box of yarn ever since (Sorry, cuz!).  But I recently spent some time organizing my massive hoard of yarn, buttons, thread and other crafting goodness and when I came across the magazines I decided to sit down and take a glance at them.

They’re so great! I don’t even know where to begin. They all seem to be from around the 70’s-80’s and have patterns for sweaters and cardigans, afghans, and my favorite: mittens! I had a few laughs flipping through the pages and seeing all of the tacky crochet outfits, but also gained a lot of inspiration for things to make. Maybe one day when I’m not swamped with grad school work I’ll have the time to crochet myself a cardigan =) May I suggest running to your local thrift store and picking up some for yourself? Entertainment and inspiration sure to ensue!

I can’t wait to make some mittens for this winter! Have you found any unexpected inspiration lately?

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