DIY Hand Stamped Gift Wrap

I posted a couple shots of some gift wrap I made a while back, and realized that I could easily do a DIY here on the blog. Stamping your own gift wrap is a fun way to personalize a gift, or to re-use some paper that you might have on hand already. Plus, it’s a great entry-level project for anyone interested in printmaking!


The first step is to gather supplies: I will show you how to hand carve your own stamps using a small block of soft printing linoleum (available at many art and craft stores, the Speedball EZ Cut stuff works great), but you could just as easily use a premade stamp if you want. If you want to do the full DIY, you’ll need:

  • 1 block soft printmaking linoleum
  • Pencil and paper for sketching design ideas
  • Carving tools – Speedball makes an inexpensive set, you could also use a good old X-acto if you’re careful!
  • Ink – I’m using a stamp pad for this project, but you could also roll out a little water-based printmaking ink if you have a brayer and a flat glass surface handy
  • Paper – I use anything from regular construction paper, to old grocery bags, or a large roll of blank paper you can purchase at an art, craft, or office supply store

Find a large clean surface to work on. I like to put down my safety cutting mat first, since I don’t want to damage my worktable while I’m cutting the linoleum. Before start cutting my stamp, I like to pencil sketch a few ideas for shapes I’d like to create. Keep in mind the size of the gift you’ll be wrapping. Perhaps design a larger shape for a larger gift, which would require more paper, and a smaller shape for a smaller gift.


Once I’ve chosen a design, I place my pencil sketch face down on the linoleum block, and rub the back with my fingernail to transfer the image. Keep in mind that the image will reverse when printed, so don’t worry if it doesn’t look quite right at first. When you are carving a stamp, the parts you carve away from the block will not print. The stamp will consist of whatever flat surface you leave behind while carving.

I begin by carving the outline of my shape with an Xacto knife, then start to carve the details with my carving tools. Carve the block by pushing your carving tools along the surface away from your body. Be careful not to keep your fingers in front of the blade, that’s the fastest way to accidentally cut yourself! Use light pressure and don’t force anything, the linoleum is soft, and will easily give way when you push your carving tool along the surface of the block. Experiment by carving larger or smaller shapes to see the variety of textures you can create.

Once you have a stamp you’re happy with, throw away any stray bits of linoleum, dust off your workspace, and get ready to print!

Cut out a piece of paper large enough to wrap your gift, and lay it face up on your work surface. Ink up your stamp by pressing the stamp to an ink pad a couple of times, then press the stamp to the paper in whatever arrangement you prefer. I like to do a simple repeat pattern, but random arrangements are fun, too. Try using a couple different colors of ink, or mix two or three stamps into one design!

The gifts I wrapped were small, so keep in mind you can go much larger with this project. You could also use your stamps to make a patterned gift tag or a small card to accompany a gift, and mixing patterns and colors can create a fun combination. I’d love to see any stamped or printed papers you make, so feel free to share in the comments if you tried this project.

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Comments

  1. Dominique says

    I love your prints, and the effect! Beautiful and unique!! Couple questions – I’m a stamping newbie and the times I’ve tried, I never get the nice crisp dark stamps like those oh so attractive ones that are in your photos. Mine seem to always come out light and splotchy no matter how hard I try to get enough ink, press down enough, etc. I’ve got both wooden and rubber stamps…could it be the quality of my stamps? the paper? the ink? Any advice/suggestions are appreciated!

    • erin dollar says

      Hi Dominique! It’s tough to say for sure why your stamps aren’t creating a nice, crisp shape, but it could be one or a combination of all those things you listed. I used a standard stamp pad for this project, making sure to ink up the stamp a couple times before making an impression. You’ll also want to stay away from textured papers, and use something smooth to stamp on. If you’re using a relatively large stamp, you may just need more ink!

      Best of luck!

  2. says

    I’ve been wanting to come see this post since you talked about it on Instagram! So glad I finally did! It’s awesome, truly inspiring, thanks so much for sharing Erin!

  3. Heidi says

    Great post, thank you for sharing! I’ve recently become very interested in pattern and print making but am a total newbie to this craft. This is a great tutorial for me, and helps me see that the creative possibilities are endless! Thank you for the inspiration!

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