Creating your own unique labels for handmade products can be a rewarding, creative process, especially for those who really love to get "hands on" with all aspects of their creations. Rubber stamping and block printing are two great ways to create labels that are totally unique and handmade. With a few simple carving tools and a short list of supplies, you can get started on making lovely handmade labels for your lovely handmade bath and body products.
You can purchase ready made rubber stamps at most craft supply stores, or choose from a huge selection of online purveyors. My favorite sources for rubber stamps are on Etsy.com. The rubber stamp community on Etsy offers a great selection of stamps that are really special. Many artists will happily carve a custom stamp just for you or your business as well. When I got married a few years back, I used custom made stamps from an Etsy artist to label all of the envelopes for our invitations and thank you cards. The great thing about using rubber stamps in your packaging is that you can easily use the same stamp on note cards, receipts or invoices, shipping materials, and business cards. You can stamp just about anything that goes along with your product. Best of all, ready made stamps are incredibly easy to use. Just dab them onto an ink pad and press them onto your paper. You can learn about more advanced stamping techniques at About.com.
If you'd like to make your own rubber stamps, just get a nice sized piece of rubber and some wood carving tools. It takes a little practice to get your technique down, but carving rubber stamps is very easy and fun. Just draw an outline of your design onto the rubber and carefully carve it out using a carving tool. Carving with rubber stamps is the easiest of most carving based print methods since rubber is so soft and pliable. You can find blank rubber stamps at most Art Supply Shops locally, or you can try looking online. One particular resource that carries a good variety of supplies and tools is DickBlick.com. Learn more about carving rubber stamps here.
Block Printing is very similar to Rubber Stamping, except that instead of using Rubber as a stamp medium, you'll use wood, cork, or linoleum. These materials are a little bit harder in texture, but the principles of carving are the same. Block printing is referred to as Lino Printing when linoleum is used for the stamp. Here's a quick tutorial on Lino Printing, which uses the same technique found in most block printing mediums.
Here are some photos from my last handmade labeling project.
How do you make the packaging for your handmade products special?