Big Ceramic Store Blog

Making Decorative Stamps And Texture Sheets For Clay

After doing the hummingbird tile last month, I thought it would be neat to make a template, and create a set that matches the tile. You know, canisters, platters, pitchers etc... things for in the kitchen.

The first thought that came to mind, was to use the plastic template I made, and trace it onto slabs. The work involved, in carving each piece though, seemed like a huge undertaking. How could I duplicate the pattern without spending hour after hour carving?

Then I remembered, I purchased a sheet of linoleum and carving tools a few months back. What if I were to draw an image on that sheet, carve it out, and use it to impress the pattern on my clay? Hmmm... now there's an idea I could sink my teeth into!

I was so excited! Follow me out to the studio and see what happened!The first step was to draw a design on the linoleum. I tried to draw it out on paper first, but it was difficult to transfer onto the linoleum. I ended up drawing right on the linoleum with a pencil, then traced over it with a marker, when I realized the pencil marks came off when my hand rubbed over them.

Ok, once that step was done, it was time to get out the carving tools. I knew this process would take a bit of time, but I also knew, it would be worth it in the end... well, I HOPED it would be worth it!

It took about three hours to carve the design and create a textured mat, and I discovered, varying the depth of the cuts gave the matt a multitude of dimension. I probably spent a little too much time over thinking the cuts, but in the end, I LOVE IT! Check it out...

After making the pitcher, I realized this image would be too large for some of the things I wanted to make like, a spoon rest, creamer/sugar set, and salt pig. Now what? Well, I've made small stamps out of clay in the past, why not do a little bit larger ones for the hummingbird and a few flowers?

It's really easy to make your own bisque stamp set. All you need is some clay, a few sculpting tools, and a pattern. Remember, the clay will shrink, so make sure you accommodate that shrinkage when you draw your design.

Steps for creating the stamps:

  1. Roll out a ball of clay and flatten it to about 1/2" thickness
  2. Allow it to become leather hard
  3. Draw your design on it
  4. Carve out the design (Xiem and Kemper both make great carving tools)
  5. Attach a handle (the wider the handle base, the more even the pressure will be when you push the stamp into the clay)
  6. Bisque fire and use it to your hearts content

Want to share your ideas, or have a suggestion for our blog? Send us an email at

Visit our  "How To" page for more projects and tips/tricks.





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