I’m fairly certain that most of us are aware that 2020 lasted about a decade. A long, lonely decade. I haven’t hugged my mom in over a year. It doesn’t look like restrictions will be (or even SHOULD be) lifted for several months, but in my opinion, it’s more important than ever to make connections to actual humans, even if I can’t do it in person. Enter PenPalooza, a network of over 10,000 humans who are dusting off the lost art of letter-writing.
I have a few pen pals now, and sending mail is great fun. Receiving it is even better. I’m a bit basic, so I haven’t invested a ton of money into it. I get the best note cards and writing paper the dollar store has to offer. But just because my stationary isn’t expensive doesn’t mean it lacks flare. I like putting my own mark on the stuff I send, or in this case, my paw print.
I thought I could show how simple it is to make a rubber stamp of a pet’s paw-print using really inexpensive materials and the cooperation of a pet.
Step 1: Collect the stuff you will need.
- Liquid Nails
- Corn Starch
- Rubber gloves
- A disposable container
- Food coloring (optional)
Here’s all you need.
Step 2: Dump some of the corn starch into the disposable container and squeeze the silicone onto it. Mix with a stir or with a gloved hand. It will be sticky, which is why you are wearing gloves. Squish it, fold it, mash it so that it takes up the corn starch. If you opted for food coloring, add it in this step. I don’t use it because I don’t have any.
Step 3: Treat the mixture like bread dough. If it is too sticky (which it will be to start), add corn starch. If it is too dry and the mixture cracks, add a bit more silicone. When the blob no longer sticks to your glove, it is about ready. It takes about five minutes of mixing, sometimes a little more, to get the mixture just right.
Step 4: Roll the blob into a ball, flatten it a little in the container, place the container on a hard surface, and press your pet’s paw into it. It helps if you roll the paw from left to right to get the print, like you would if you were taking prints at the police station. If you don’t like the result, squish the blob back up and try step 4 again. Once you are satisfied with the print, set it aside and dust it with a little corn starchWhat you have now is a negative of your pet’s print. You can stop here if you like, it’s hard to get a good stamp from a negative. I prefer to create a positive. To do this, repeat steps 1-3.
Step 5: Take your new blob of mixture and press it gently into the mold that you made. You dusted it with corn starch, right? That’s to keep the two parts from sticking together. Peel them apart immediately.
Step 6: Set your new stamp aside and let it air-dry for a couple of hours. Then it’s ready to use!
Before you use the stamp, rinse it with cold water to get off any extra corn starch. You can use your favorite ink to stamp, or you can use it on warm wax. You can even use it with tempera paint. Wipe your stamp down after each use.
Don’t throw your negative away. If you write enough letters, you may wear out your first stamp and have to make another one!
What cool things do you like to add to hand-written letters? If you’d like to join PenPalooza, check out the hashtag on Twitter!