Monday, July 23, 2012

A New Kind of Stamp (Panama)

As the end of the month draws near (how can it be time already???) we start checking things off of our to do list. Flag, Check. Craft, Check. Snack, Check. Trip to the library, Check. And now, we can check off "Stamp our passports".

Ever since we made the passports, we have been primarily using potatoes to make the stamps. I have ventured off a bit and tried using an apple, but mostly it has been potato stamps. Potato stamps are cool and work great, but I've been feeling a little bored with the same old potato. I decided that this time I would try something new. Since Eliana recently did a printmaking class (and they both did last summer) I wanted to try to follow some of the printmaking concepts. 

I started by drawing out what I wanted the stamp to look like. Since we have been doing some talking about The Panama Canal lately, I wanted to include a map of Panama (since it "features" the canal).

Then, using a styrofoam take out container (that I saved from a recent outing), I cut a square of styrofoam.

This next step is a crucial step if you don't want your design to end up backwards. (Remember when I made this mistake with my very first potato stamp?) You must flip your paper over that has the drawn image on it so that it is reversed. 

You can barely see it I know, but if you look hard you can see the image through the paper. (You could try using tracing paper or layout paper.)
Then, you have to trace your image to the side. The reason for doing this is it gets your image where you want it on your styrofoam enough so that you can carve into your styrofoam. 

Since the styrofoam is so soft, I found that the best (and easiest) way to carve the image into the styrofoam, was to simply draw over the image again with a pencil, pushing down slightly harder than normal to create the carving. 

Next up is where the truth is revealed. Does the styrofoam stamp work? I used acrylic paint and a small brush.

After brushing the paint on the design, I flipped it over and stamped the trial on paper. 

I wasn't crazy about how the word "Panama" came out. I think the letters were just too small so, I decided that the next time around, I would not paint the word. I would stamp only the image of the map and the date, then use a marker to write the word Panama. 

It certainly isn't perfect, but I am glad to be sampling new methods of stamping instead of sticking with potatoes. Who knows what next month will bring???

Aiden "stamping" his passport. 
The last order of business is that we also needed to scratch Panama off of our map. As soon as soon as I mentioned to my littles that we were doing this Eliana asked, "Can I scratch it first?" Since she asked first, I said "yes." When I pulled the map out and started to outline the country for them to scratch, it realized that getting each of them a turn scratching would be tough. Fortunately, we made it work. They each got to scratch for about 3.5 seconds. ;) 

Have you made a homemade stamp before? What did you use? Did you try a potato? How about the styrofoam printmaking method? 

We're still looking for someone to be featured as our Traveling Friend. If you or anyone you know has been to Panama, please get in touch with me, I'd love to share your trip with my littles as well as our readers. Contact me at mamacitasglobe[at]yahoo[dot]com


  1. One of the cool things about this stamp is that you get some "ocean," too! Was that part of the plan? And have they learned the word "isthmus"? It's one of my favorite geo terms. Will have to remember to teach my little...

    Looks like great fun, as always!

    1. We did discuss the Isthmus! :) They learned that The Panama Canal is a lock canal instead of a sea level canal and how that works too. It's very interesting :)

      Thanks for checking in!


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