Tian Gan | Printmaking & Design
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Tian Gan's Printmaking Blog

Tian Gan's design and printmaking blog. The Stockholm-based artist writes about her work process.

This Cider House Rules!


A few weeks back I got a request for a new logo for the Cider House, a group of importers of premium English Ciders to Denmark. As of now, the logo I designed for them is right on the top left corner on their website!

The client requested a logo design together with a custom stamp made and pictures to be taken during the process so here they are! Read on for loads of pictures showing me making the stamp after the jump.

 Hand Carving Rubber Stamp for Cider House Logo


The stamp was first designed digitally. Once the sketch was approved by the client, I printed the digital sketch onto a piece of acid paper. I sometimes just use my laptop as a lightbox (the convertible Thinkpad X230T) but for for this logo I printed it just to get perfect lines.

Hand Carving Rubber Stamp for Cider House Logo
Oooh all wrinkly hand from holding the pencil too hard:/
This is how the pencil sketch on acid paper is transferred onto the rubber. I flip the acid paper so that the sketch is facing down, facing the rubber block. I'm using Speedball's Speedy Carve here. I like how sturdy it is - it's perfect for typography stamps. Its thickness also makes it great for thicker wood mounts.

Once the sketch is put on the stamp, I hold it in place using one hand and then gently scratch with my right hand. You can use your nails; or if you are worried about that pretty manicure or nice long nails, use anything with a round-ish edge: a credit card, a pen cap, etc.. (Don't you just feel great when you find another new use for those everyday objects?)

Hand Carving Rubber Stamp for Cider House Logo
I also cut pieces off the rubber block so the design fits better.
Proceed to carving now! You can actually start anywhere on the stamp; I like to start from the outside and work my way. The reason is that if you start from the middle, especially with bigger stamps, you risk smudging the pencil lines with your hand. 

Here I'm using my new favorite scalpel, the white NT Cutter. I recently got it from Japan not so long ago and have been pleasantly surprised by the sharpness of the blade and texture of the handle.

Hand Carving Rubber Stamp for Cider House Logo
Did I mention I have another stamp-making tutorial here?
After the carving of the lettering part is done, I use scotch tape to remove the remaining pencil stain off the stamp. You wanna stay away from the real sticky kind because it tends to either damage the stamp or leave glue on it.

For this step, with some more tender rubber blocks, use kneadable eraser instead.

Hand Carving Rubber Stamp for Cider House Logo
It takes a few tries to get the stamp nice n' clean.
What I do next is take the scalpel and cut off the extra bits on the outer edge horizontally. Be careful how deep you go; otherwise you might cut off the parts you want to leave.

Hand Carving Rubber Stamp for Cider House Logo
If you insert your knife at the right angle you can actually see the tip of the blade, making it easier to remove just the right amount of rubber.
Next step is when the gouge comes into play! Use it to remove the extra bits in the middle of the stamp. I'm using Essdee Lino Cutter with the No.1 blade. It's hardly the most well-made lino cutter out there (the parting line on the plastic handle makes it  a bit annoying to hold), but I've had it for three years now and am getting somewhat attached to it. Might have to do with the bright red color - who knows.

Hand Carving Rubber Stamp for Cider House Logo
Be careful not to damage the lines!
Now that the carving is completed, it's time to try and see how the printing goes! Use a light-colored stamp and gently pat the pigment color on the stamp. The blue you see here is Sea Breeze by VersaMagic. Lovely, isn't it?

After the first print, check out how it looks to see if the stamp needs any changes made.

Hand Carving Rubber Stamp for Cider House Logo
I love how the details gradually show when you color a newly made stamp.
I was happy with the first imprint and didn't change a thing. I proceeded to finalize the print by using Brilliance's Rocket Red and Gamma Green. Brilliance has my favorite collection of pigment inks - they come in all the basic colors as well as some pearlescent colors. The pigment ink looks great on both paper and wood.

Hand Carving Rubber Stamp for Cider House Logo
The dew-shaped ink pads works amazingly on stamps with tiny details. You can use the tip of the ink pad to color small parts of the stamps.
As usual, I printed the stamp again on a piece of hand-crafted wood stump. All the wood mounts in my shop are handmade like the stamps.

Hand Carving Rubber Stamp for Cider House Logo
I love how different-shaped wood mounts works with different stamps.
Here's a final picture of the completed, mounted rubber stamp! Do you like it black-and-white or with the apple colors? 

Working with small businesses on their logos and brand identity is one of the best things about what I do. If you have a small business of your own, check out my listing for custom logo stamps, leave a message or send a private note on Facebook!

Hand Carving Rubber Stamp for Cider House Logo