Woodblock printing is an ancient Asian technique which originated in China - the oldest surviving wood blocks date back to the 3rd century AD. They were used for printing textiles and later on, paper. Woodblock printing in India dates back to the 12th century. Toronto based Charan Creations has beautiful collections of exquisitely hand carved Indian wood block stamps made by traditional artisans.

Charan, a self taught artist, explained, "These versatile stamps can be used for stamping/printing on paper (scrapbooking etc), fabric, wallpaper, impressing clay (for pottery, ceramics, jewelry etc), leather, doing temporary henna/paint tattoos, encaustic, batik, handmade soap, candles, used as cookie stamps, impress on fondant etc." 

"I introduced these versatile stamps at my online shop in an effort to help preserve, promote, revive and save this dying art. These are carved on a very sturdy and durable wood called Indian Rosewood. Since this wood cannot be found here, I do not carve the stamps myself anymore. I now only create the designs and get the stamps carved from artisans in India according to the principles of Fair Trade."

It is indeed nearly a lost art as modern printing and other methods like silkscreen printing have taken over. Modern stamps are now typically made from stainless steel, rubber or acrylic.

Various seasoned woods are used but "the majority is carved of sustainably harvested brown hard Indian sheesham wood (also known as Indian Rosewood - a member of the teak family)." 

"These stamps are carved by skilled craftsmen. Design is etched on the underside of the block. Two to three cylindrical holes are drilled into the block for free air passage and also to allow release of excess printing paste/dye. The newly carved blocks are soaked in oil, usually mustard oil for 10-15 days to soften the grains in the timber."

Wood block stamps have to be thoroughly dried after use and stored in a dry place.  Cared properly, these will last a lifetime.

Shown here are some of my favorites. The stamps vary in size - some may not be suitable for jewelry making - so please check the listed dimensions of each one.

Also check out the wonderful wood and brass stamp collection. "All the detail of the design is achieved by pressing thin brass metal strips into the wood to get very fine lines in the print. The metal is sanded smooth. The fine designs on these metal wood blocks wouldn’t chip off and would last forever."

Before You Go:

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Original Post by THE BEADING GEM
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