I am collecting supplies for stamp making, and print making. It can be as simple as having a sheet of rubber, carving tools, and an ink pad. This time, to make the pig, I traced a sticker of a pig, drawing with a pencil. Then I used my Speedball cutting tool (sold for linoleum carving) and slowly, peeled away the outline of the pig and details. The tool is too big for the tiny piece and details I want to carve, so the effect is what I like to call "rustic." Let's be clear: I am not ready to post tutorials, but I am excited to share the beginning of my journey.
The other thing I tried is making a bigger image to print from the lid of a Styrofoam food container. Humbling! I learned this method when I was an art volunteer in Maria's fifth grade class; the students made and printed portraits of themselves. Now that I've tried carving Styrofoam, (pressing firmly into the soft foam with a pencil, or blunt tool) I can see it's not as easy as it looks. It definitely seems to be something that will work better with large images, and few details. Also, I didn't roll ink on my stamp with a brayer, but just dragged it across the surface of the stamp pad. Anyway, I love the children's art, find it very inspiring, and now that I've tried it for myself I am ten times more impressed with what they made! I may be asking them for tips.
So, it turns out food container lids are not the same as the crafting foam the students used when they made their portraits. Happily, the stuff I ordered from Blick will be easier to use, so I am very excited to be getting the good stuff. I had my suspicions, because the styrofoam I used to make the bird was behaving very poorly... no smooth lines, only deep and crumbly, jagged cuts. But thanks to Vicki at Art With Kids, I have been reassured that Scratch-Foam printing boards will be much easier to work with.
If we do share this activity in a Maker event, it's essential to have the right tools, and nice quality materials, because when learning how to make things, it's such a bonus for things to go well. Very often in arts and crafts, especially with children, the cheapest supplies come out... of course this cannot always be helped, but whenever possible I think it's important to use the best available supplies, for greater success, and nicer finished products.