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How to Stamp on Fabric: Festive Piñata Napkins

by Robert Mahar
craft & maker

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I first learned how to draw in elementary school through the instructional books of Mr. Ed Emberley. He had a genius ability to break down any object into simple geometric components that were easy to sketch, allowing me to doodle endless parades of animals in the margins of my notebooks. It was with a humble nod to Mr. E that I approached this simple fabric stamping DIY.

Utilizing the most accessible of all carving materials, the eraser end of your no. 2 pencil, I’ll show you how to carve a few geometric shaped stamps that, in combination, will create an adorable donkey piñata design! We’ll develop our composition on paper and then graduate to stamping on fabric napkins. It’s a fun and simple exercise in surface patterning that I hope will leave you wanting to learn more.

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Tools and materials:

No. 2 pencils with erasers ends
Craft knife
Multi-surface ink pads (4 different colors)
White paper
Napkins (or other blank textiles)

Learn the basics of stamping on fabric with this great DIY project from Robert Mahar. Make adorable cloth napkins using a pencil as a rubber stamp.

Directions:

1. Cut the eraser end of one pencil into a small rectangle shape.

Press the blade of the craft knife straight down into the eraser, cutting all the way to the ferrule. Create cuts for all four sides of the rectangle then turn the blade sideways cutting along the top of the ferrule to remove the excess side pieces of rubber. This stamp will be used to create a pattern mimicking the rows of fringed tissue paper found along the sides of a piñata.

Repeat this step to create a second stamp in the shape of a trapezoid (rectangle that is slightly tapered at one end.). This stamp will be used to create the legs the ear of the donkey piñata.

Learn the basics of stamping on fabric with this great DIY project from Robert Mahar. Make adorable cloth napkins using a pencil as a rubber stamp.

2. Practice stamping your design on a piece of plain white paper.

Begin by creating a row of six side-by-side rectangles in one color. Stamp a second row of six side-by-side rectangles using a second color of ink, stacking this second row on top of the first. Repeat this with a third row and a third ink color to complete the donkey piñata’s body.

Learn the basics of stamping on fabric with this great DIY project from Robert Mahar. Make adorable cloth napkins using a pencil as a rubber stamp.

Stamp a row of four rectangles in a fourth color, overlapping the body by two rectangles. Repeat this step, creating a second row of four rectangles (repeating a previously used color) to complete the donkey piñata’s head.

Learn the basics of stamping on fabric with this great DIY project from Robert Mahar. Make adorable cloth napkins using a pencil as a rubber stamp.

Complete your donkey piñata design by adding legs and an ear using the trapezoid shaped stamp.

Learn the basics of stamping on fabric with this great DIY project from Robert Mahar. Make adorable cloth napkins using a pencil as a rubber stamp.

If you feel that either the rectangle or trapezoid stamps are out of proportion, make adjustments – trimming the edges of the eraser shapes with your craft knife.

Learn the basics of stamping on fabric with this great DIY project from Robert Mahar. Make adorable cloth napkins using a pencil as a rubber stamp.

3. When you are pleased with the look of your piñata design stamped on paper, it’s time to stamp on your blank textile!

Be certain to select multi–surface inks that are intended for use on fabric. Some inks may need to be heat set – follow the manufacturer’s directions. Please note that your stamped inks will show up best on lighter colored textiles.

Learn the basics of stamping on fabric with this great DIY project from Robert Mahar. Make adorable cloth napkins using a pencil as a rubber stamp.

4. Complete the festive look at your piñata design by adding a candy border!

Utilize the uncut circular eraser end of a pencil to stamp round pieces of candy. Complete the look by taking a second pencil and cutting the eraser end into a triangular shape. Stamp triangles on either side of the circle shapes to mimic the look of a wrapped piece of hard candy.

Learn the basics of stamping on fabric with this great DIY project from Robert Mahar. Make adorable cloth napkins using a pencil as a rubber stamp.

And now it’s fiesta time! These napkins would look fantastic paired with brightly colored place settings, a Mexican oilcloth tablecloth and actual piñata’s for centerpieces. Again, a gentle reminder to thoroughly read the instructions provided by the manufacturer of your inks – making certain that they are completely dry and set before washing.

Ready to take your stamping to the next level? Check out my CreativeLive course Stamping Techniques & Design where I’ll teach you the skills needed to: carve a larger-scale, custom piñata rubber stamp; turn your design into a roller stamp for patterning paper; pair your design with a carved monogram; and print beautiful, repeating patterns. You will come away with all of the know-how necessary to stamp and pattern any theme for any celebration – coordinate napkins, table runners, tablecloths, place cards, event signage, invitations and so much more!

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Robert Mahar

Robert Mahar is an arts and crafts professional who teaches imaginative do-it-yourself projects through high-quality video tutorials on CreativeLive.