Making Artistamps for Mail Art

While reading Good Mail Day: A Primer for Making Eye-Popping Postal Art which I ordered in on inter-library loan, I noticed a chapter on faux postage and what they call artistamps. These are small pieces of art you create yourself with art materials, or digitally using a program like Photoshop.

If you don’t have a special machine for doing the perforations to emulate a postage stamp, they say you can use a dressmaker’s wheel to make the perforations. I have one of these for marking details from sewing patterns on fabric and I tried it. It works, but my particular wheelie did not make large enough perforations so instead of a nice edge it just looked like ripped paper.

I decided I would just cut the edges with my rotary cutter and scissors and that worked fine. I used to make things like this as stickers and glue them to letters but I haven’t done it for years. I took some recent art from my sketchbook that I am using on my Manner and Material blog for weekly sketches, and made them into stamps.

Jumping Jack James Joyce decided he would make an appearance too, holding his various editions of The Odyssey. Joycey is always up for an art adventure. That man likes attention.


For the Photoshop file, I created it at 300 dpi for printing and then scanned and resized my art, adding backgrounds and words as necessary.

I made a grid of non-printing blue guides in Photoshop to use as a guides for placement, and also used a separate printing grid of pale grey lines to use as cutting lines. I made the stamps about 1.25 x 1.5 inches with 1/8 of an inch beyond that for a white border.

Here’s a partial shot of the setup in Photoshop; my sheet makes 5 across and 5 down, so 25 stamps in total:


I had to bump the colour saturation up 20% for printing to get decent images, but they are ready to use as stickers or stamps. I will probably stick them down with a glue stick in the middle and some Golden Soft Gel Medium around the outside for security.

The reason I stopped making these was that it’s a bit fiddly to paste them down and they look better if you weight them while drying so they don’t warp. You can apparently buy pre-stuck and pre-perforated blank sheets but I always find using things like that in the printer hard because it’s difficult to get them centred and printing within the designated area.

It’s much less stressful to make and trim your own, especially if you include faint cutting lines that almost disappear upon trimming.



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