Saturday, January 30, 2016

Save the Wood! What to Make with Stamp Blocks!

In my last post, I showed you how I unmounted my rubber stamps. After that big project, I needed to "deal" with 35 lbs of wood. I HATE throwing things away. I donate stuff to charity shops all the time, but sticky wood blocks with foam and ink stains didn't seem like something anyone would be able to use.

They use nice, smooth, hard maple to make stamps.  It's beautiful wood and as my father's daughter, I couldn't just throw it away. What could I make with it?

I Googled "what to do with wooden stamp blocks." Search results returned one YouTube video (on the Pinterest board linked at the bottom of this post) and although I like some of her ideas I kept thinking there has to be more.

There was a discussion on Splitcoast Stampers about the subject. Firewood and kids toys were the most popular ideas there. I don't have small children nor do I have a fireplace/pit. There had to be more. I decided I would clean a few of the blocks and see if inspiration would strike during mindless work.

How to Remove the Cushion and Adhesive

Initially, this was not going to be a mindless task. All wood mounted stamps have a foam cushion between the wood and the rubber. Adhesive strength varies depending on the manufacturer, but the are all a bit of a bear to remove from the wood. I tried a variety of things to remove the adhesive so you wouldn't have to.

  • Rubber cement pickup -  not very efficient, too time-consuming, a bit messy

  • Mineral Oil - MESSY and ineffective

  • Un-Do - great on some surfaces, not so much on wood

  • Nail polish remover (non-acetone and acetone) - FAIL! The wood gets dry and raises the grain, and the stickiness is still there.
  • WD-40 - WINNER. Works great. Spray some in a shallow dish (I used a microwave dinner tray I washed) dip the sticky side in the WD-40 and let sit for a few minutes. Scrap off with a putty knife, and then wipe with a paper towel.  Drawbacks: there is an odd smell at first, but it subsides. The blocks are a bit oily, but oil absorbs into the wood over time.

  • Goo Gone - WINNER. This method works the same as the WD-40, but the scent is a lot more pleasant. I wasted a lot of Q-tips and cotton balls putting this citrus solvent on blocks. Once I started dipping the blocks into a shallow dish containing Goo Gone the job went much quicker.
After removing the stickiness from all sides of the blocks, I wiped them down well with a paper towel then sanded them to remove ink stains.

What to Make

A couple of unmounted stamp blocks become a photo holder - Katemade Designs ©2016
I only had to remove the adhesive from the foam side of some stamps. Different companies display the image a rubber stamp will make in various ways. Most use a sticker. Some have the print the image directly on the block itself — these blocks are like gold to me. After cleaning up the blocks, I sat at my desk and happily colored those printed blocks of wood with my Copic markers.

The larger blocks became photo holders. With a hand-colored image in the front and wooden clothespin glued to the back of the block to hold photos or notes. To increase the stability of these larger blocks of wood medium size blocks are used as bases. I used Sugru (great stuff Sugru, but I digress) to keep them together. I tried hot glue, but it just didn't have the staying power I wanted.

Unmounted stamp blocks become Phone/note holders - Katemade Designs ©2016
Some medium size blocks and acrylic frames became Post-it note/phone holders. The indented sides of stamps are perfect for holding a pen or stylus. The angle of the frame is just right for writing notes or reading/playing games on your phone.

Unmounted stamp blocks become Cute Magnets - Katemade Designs ©2016

Small blocks became magnets that are decorating refrigerators and lockers. Hot glue was the perfect adhesive for this project.

A bit of Mod Podge will transform background stamps into photo blocks and photo holders. I also have ideas for votive holders, but that involves a bit of drilling, and it's too cold outside to get the power tools going. (No garage or basement here.)

I read an article on The BoardSmith International, and one of those background stamps may become a cutting board for out next camping trip.

I also have plans to do some wood burning and possibly even some carving on a few of the blocks in my collection. Have you converted your wood mounted stamps to cling? If so what did you do with your wood blocks? Leave a comment and let me know.

Happy Crafting,

Katie's Signature with Katemade Designs Logo

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