7 Carving blocks you can use to make stamps

Creating your own stamp is really fun especially when your carving block is easy to carve. If you find yourself limited to erasers at the local bookstore know that you have other options available locally. Here are reviews and comparisons of carving blocks I have tried and tested.

Rubber eraser

A rubber eraser is the easiest to find in any local bookstore. Just be mindful to carve on rubber erasers and not a plastic one. Rubber erasers are easy to carve because its softer compared to plastic / vinyl erasers. Rubber erasers may melt when left in hot places, rubbed or stamped on textured surfaces which dulls the detail on the stamp.

Block sizes are limited to what is available at your local supply store. I personally have a favorite kind sized roughly at 2 x 3 inches. This carving block can melt when stored in hot places or under direct sunlight and may turn as hard as stone if stored in humid warm places for long periods of time (weird, right?) Care should be taken when storing this kind of material to preserve its design. I store mine on a flat surface with a pack of silica gel and it they keep really well (for years even!) Definitely a good carving block for beginners.
Ease of cutting: 4/5
Price: Php 50++
Available at: @craftavenueph via La Local & any local bookstore.
What it looks like when carved:



China Carving Block

A durable and bigger material measuring at 4 x 6 inches and around 1 cm thick. You can use it without needing to mounting it on a handle. What I like about this block is that it has multicolored layers which indicates how deep you're carving into the block. One of the most durable materials I've worked with.

Ease of cutting: easy
Price: Php 250+
Available at: Craft Carrot
What it looks like when carved:


Speedball SpeedyCarve & SpeedyCut Blocks

You can tell these two apart from its color: SpeedyCarve is in pink, reminiscent of old school pink rubber erasers while SpeedyCut is cream in color.  You can easily glide a craft knife on the SpeedyCut making it ideal for fine details, its downside is that it will require precision carving because of its crummy texture (If you bend it hard enough it will break like bread.) Not exactly the block for beginners or wobbly hands. SpeedyCarve on the other hand is a standard quality block in terms of texture and ease of carving.
Speedy-Carve
Ease of cutting: 4/5
Price: Php 267+
What it looks like when carved:

Speedy Cut
Ease of cutting: 5/5
Price: Php 250+
Both Available at: DeovirHey Kessy
What it looks like when carved:


Moo Carve 

Moo is a brand that offers carving blocks in all sizes. This should would the block to consider if you like the texture of Speedball's speedycarve and the thickness of the Hankeshikun block. The upside of using this block is that its super easy to carve and not as crummy as the Speedball SpeedyCut block. I've noticed from my experience that transferring your design onto this block doesn't register as good as it would come out on a SpeedyCarve (most likely because of its grey color) or other blocks that I've used. Use a fine tip marker to touch up on the design once its on the block. Just like the China carving block, Moo Carve can hold your design even when its bent or ran through water if you decide to clean it.
Ease of cutting: 4/5
Price: Php 140 - 940 depending on size
Available at: Craft CarrotHey Kessy
What it looks like when carved:

Daiso carving Block

This is the standard carving block readily available in most Japan Daiso stores (sometimes in the local daiso too.) This comes in various sizes depending on what's available it can range from 4x6 inches x3mm and smaller and thicker variations.
Ease of cutting: 4/5
Price: Php 150
Available at: Create Crafts PH
What it looks like when carved:


Seed Japanese Eraser block

Another personal favorite is the Seed carving block. These fall under the splurge-on materials but nonetheless the ideal carving block for eraser stamps. Its designed to have two colors to help you see how deep you're carving through the block. The blocks are thick enough to use without being mounted, measuring a little over 1 cm thick. What's unusual about this is its powdery-to-the-touch surface which you can clean off when you transfer your design.


I prefer this over the regular rubber eraser because of the ease of carving and that it takes details really well. The Seed brand carving block usually comes with tracing paper, and a stamp design sheet.
Ease of cutting: 5/5
Price: Php 600
Available at: medium ph, Marz Today
What it looks like when carved:

Tips in choosing your carving block

  • Difference between rubber and plastic erasers: plastic erasers usually promise to be 'dust-free' and are made from latex-like material. If it withstands bending or if you can't bend it at all (unless its a thick eraser) its most likely a plastic eraser. 
  • To get a better idea of what the readily available eraser are like read this and this
  • Chinese carving blocks are cheap alternatives to the Japanese carving blocks. Price usually starts at Php 250+.
  • How do to know if you need to mount a stamp? Any carving block less than 1 cm thick may need a handle unless your printing flat.

Have you tried other locally available carving blocks or brands to make a stamp? Let me know in the comments section of your experience in using them. Happy carving!

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Name: Marz Ren | AKA: 認馬摯
​Marz is a handmade stamp artist turning things and people into stamps since 2013




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