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Letterboxing for Kids: Making a Stamp from Fun Foam

07/07/2004
by Silent Doug

Young children might not be able to safely handle an X-acto or Speedball carving knife to create their own stamps from an eraser or other material. They can still make a stamp using other materials, such as “fun foam,” however.

This material is readily available at crafts stores in two thicknesses. A 1/4” thick version is sold as door hangers that can be decorated. The thickness of the material won’t allow you to cut it with scissors, but a continuous block image can be carefully cut with a razor knife. The resulting stamp will make a nice impression when inked. (Craft stores often sell ready-made stamps made from this material, as well.)

A thinner variety (about 1/16” thick) is sold in sheets. This material can be readily cut with scissors, either as a single continuous block image or into individual pieces (such as letters or sections of a larger image). Kids can first draw an image directly on the fun foam with a marker, then cut out the image and use white glue to affix the pieces to a mount. (A piece of wood or even a piece of the thicker variety of fun foam works fine for this purpose.) Allow 30 minutes or so for the glue to dry and the stamp is ready to be used.

One advantage of this approach is that the image does not need to be drawn in reverse on the material – instead, just flip over the pieces when gluing them to the mount (applying glue to the same side on which the original image was drawn).

Craft and department stores also sell plastic stencils that can be used by children who can trace them to create an image on the foam and then cut out the image.

You can also find packages of pre-cut pieces of fun foam in various shapes. This can make the process even easier – just glue the piece to a mount (perhaps gluing 2 or 3 together first to raise up the image from the mount) and eliminate the need for scissors whatsoever.

For more instructions and illustrations, see "Easy" Personal Stamp-Making.

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