Book Review: Carve Stamp Play by Julie Fei-Fan Balzer

I haven’t done a book review in a long time, but am starting up again with a book I received for my birthday (Thanks Mom!).  I’ve followed Julie Fei-Fan Balzer at a distance for a while – pretty much since she started submitting articles for Cloth, Paper, Scissors and have bought her stencils from TCW when I can find them.  I guess you could say I’m a craft-stalker, as I also follow her on Twitter and read her blog.  When I saw she had a book on stamp carving, I immediately put it on my wish list for Christmas/Birthday.

I read it cover to cover the day it came in.  First impression – great photography!  There are lots of pictures covering every stage of carving a stamp plus using them in finished projects.

Julie gives you an overview of the supplies and tools you need, complete with pictures so that if you have a visual memory, you can identify the items in a store by sight.  She starts you out with methods to get your design onto rubber and how to prepare to carve.  Then she takes you through the basics of carving in simple, easy to follow steps.  Each chapter starts with a “Skills” section and includes highlights on marking the design and tips.  She takes you through successively more intricate designs.  There are the occasional Stamp Play Stamp Gallery sections showing you different ways to use the stamps.

I’ve carved stamps for a long time, and mostly I’m self-taught.  A lot of my stamps have broken, much to my dismay.  Thanks to Julie, I know why!  I have carved a bunch of stamps using her methods.  Most of these are background stamps except for the flags (top two stamps).


This is a great book, and well worth adding to your library.  It is a resource that I will come back to again and again.  I will have more on my stamp carving adventures in a future post.

To follow Julie’s art adventures, visit her blog.  Her book is available on Amazon.