I've been doing my own stamps for a few weeks. It's a very soothing activity but it can be a bit frustrating!
Here's few tricks I learned the hard way, so I thought I should share, in case you would like to try it, too.
1. Buy the right tools. You will need a good ink that will render the details easily. Smearing and feathering can make a nice stamp print look clumsy.
Good , thin tools for wood carving are a plus. I find the classic speedball tools very frustrating and bought #1 and #2 gouges and v tools on Japanese shops in Amazon and Rakuten, and even found some pretty cool ones at Daiso for $1.5, for larger surface work. I also got an Xacto knife, super sharp, beware!
Get some nice carving blocks, too. I tried erasers but if you think about it, after a few stamps it becomes expensive very fast! I'm pretty happy of the Speedball carving blocks but some tend to be pretty crumbly sometimes. Carving blocks made by the Japanese brand Seed are very difficult to find but super satisfying.
I also bought some pretty cool cream colored sticker paper. It was a bit expensive because I choose partly recycled acid-free paper. But I'm going for a professional look and I'm quite sure I will use the whole box in a very short time.
One thing I learned the hard way is that you have to glue the larger, floppy stamps to a bit of wood (I bought mines at Michael's and Blicks) . Otherwise the stamps are smeared or incomplete. Don't forget to print the stamp on the back before gluing it. I forgot...
Do glue the tiny little stamps on bits of dowels and wood, too. Do it now! I made some for tiny patterns. They get lost very easily. An added bonus is that you won't deep your fingers in ink anymore while stamping. And track ink all over the house like I did. Lucky me it was water soluble ink, but I just bought some pretty strong waterproof ink so here we are, dowels!
Another I think I learned the hard way: you can't print on masking tape with normal ink. It won't dry. It won't dry, ever, except when it transfers on your fingers. You'll need some pretty strong, fast drying, waterproof ink like Tsukineko StazOn. But I 'm pretty excited I found out how to do it! It makes for pretty chic modern chine-collé.
I'm now looking at my stamps to select the ones I found fun and easy to make. How about I make a sheet of templates for you to carve?