Traveling Stamp Project No. 3

A while back, my ethical blogger friend Summer from Tortoise and Lady Grey asked me if I wanted to be a part of a traveling stamp project That she and Elizabeth of The Note Passer had dreamed up (inspired by this post by Emma Dine)!

As a kid, I was constantly experimenting with dyes and pigments. I would crush up soft rocks and mix them to form pastes and crush berries to make paints. I haven't grown out of my experimental mindset, and took a bit of a twist on this stamping project. I wanted to see how the stamps would fare with a vegetable dye! I used these tips and instructions from Crafting a Green World (only I used a vinegar fix and beets instead of plums).
I decided to print both on some wrapping paper and a plain white cotton dishtowel. I boiled the fabric in a vinegar water solution, then set it to dry while I chopped up my beets and boiled them down.

It's always fun to have a cute little helper when taking on a DIY project... my baby sister and crafting buddy came over to hang out and lend me hand
I mashed my cooked beets to release more juices and then strained the mixture. However, I think if I had it to do over I would just strain. If a rustic, handmade look isn't your style, I don't recommend stamping with veggie dye as it is thinner and won't coat the stamp very well- I'd go with a screen printing ink like Summer or Elizabeth did. However, for my purposes, it worked great! I was really pleased with the uneven, imperfect look. I used a paintbrush to brush the beet juice onto my now-dry fabric.
 My little sister stamped the wrapping paper, using a big roll of recycled, made in the USA kraft paper that I had on hand. Here's the final result!
 
 This project gave me a brand new respect for the fair trade artisans who make beautiful block-printed fabrics- it's time consuming to stamp even just one little towel!

If you'd like to learn how to make your own stamps, Summer at Tortoise and Lady Grey has a great tutorial and lots of tips! Also, make sure to check out Elizabeth's adorable tote bag that she created using the traveling stamps! If any of you are interested in being a part of the traveling stamps project, get in touch with me and I'll put you in touch with Summer, who is kindly organizing.