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397 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Basic Tools

Super Sculpy
Sculpy (optional)
Good tweezers
Smoothing tool
Some plastic (Plastic bag works great)

A little more advanced Tools
Digital Art Program. Preferably something with Vector (Pen) tools.


So I'm looking to solve a few problems in one tutorial here. The main goal is making simple stamps that could be used for many different things. The demo is for creating a chapter badge stamp because that's what I happen to be doing right now.
Second will be how to create your own chapter badges using Vector tools to aid in your stamp making and anything else you can think of. Programs include Photoshop, Illustrator, Corel Draw or Inkscape.

For this tutorial, I'll be using Inkscape since it's a free program available to anyone.

If you're not interested in creating a badge digitally, feel free to skip ahead to step 4 for the stamp making.

As I said we'll be using Inkscape here. You can get it for free at Inkscape. Draw Freely.

I'll take a second to explain why going down the sometimes troublesome path of creating a vector can be useful. As most people familiar with photo editing or digital art know. Significantly resizing an image generally looks like garbage.That's because they're pixel based images (rasterised). When resizing a rasterised image it tries it's best to fill in gaps or cram too much data into a shrinking area, resulting in a mess As seen on the left side below.

A vector on the other hand is never really "printed" onto your workspace. It's lines are mathmatical solutions connecting the points you've provided. Slightly confusing, yes, but what this means is you can scale up that vector to be the size of your house, or down to fit on a space marine's shoulder pad and it'll look exactly the same as your original. This is shown on the right side of the image below.

Step 1

So let's crack open Inkscape and get to work.You'll be presented with a blank work area. Start by pasting in your source image. A source is very important in all artwork, and it makes vector life so much easier. In this case I have a badge for the Raptors chapter from Lexicanum, but it could be anything like a photo or original artwork. I've sized the image up quite a bit to make it a little easier to work with. This is done with the selection tool. Click on your image, grab one of the corner arrows, and drag while holding CTRL to keep it from distorting. Then go up to Layer and Create New Layer. Name it whatever, this is where you'll be putting your vector object.

Step 2

From now on we'll be using two tools for the whole project. "Draw Bezier Curves and Straight Lines" (Draw) and "Edit Paths by Nodes" (Edit)

With the draw tool a single click will give you a hard point and straght line.
With a click+drag you'll pull out a Bezier handle that can be edited later.

Take the draw tool and select your starting point. This should be an area with a flat edge or point. Start with a click and it'll feed out your vector "rope". On large curves like the beak, you'll want to put another point on about the center of the curve.On small curves you'll want a point at the start of the curve and a point at the end. I pulled out a bezier handle and matched the line to the curve of the beak.

Now it's easiest to make the outline in one pass. So keep clicking away tracing your artwork, making sure to give yourself enough points to work with later, but too many and you'll get a headache. Generally speaking give yourself 3 points for a big curve, 2 for a small, and a hard point for your sharp edges. If you're not sure about a point, just be safe and give yourself a bezier handle, you can always edit it later.

Don't worry! It'll look like crap when you finish. Now it's time to edit.

Step 3

Grab your Edit tool and start repositioning points to make everything pretty. The bezier handels in this program are a little finniky, but managable. If you're looking for a sharp corner, push one side of the handle all the way into the point. Then readjust the other end of the handle to match your curve. With a little doing it's very simple.

Now that that you have an outline, add any interior detail by starting a new vector object (just start clicking again). In my case I only have the eye. Once that's complete and edited you can shift+click all your objects, go up to Path and hit Combine.

Now let's go up to Object and hit Fill and Stroke. What a cool bird! Make sure your new vector object is selected. Note that I get rid of the eye and filled it with Flat color - Black to aid with my stamp making later on.

To size your badge (or whatever) go to File > Document Properties. Change your page units under Custom Size from px (pixels) to Inches or mm.Then click on the Grids tab and enable Grids with inches (or mm). I decided that 1/4 inch tall is a decent size for a space marine badge, so I changed spacing X and Y to 0.25. Now you've got a properly sized badge and can color it to your liking and duplicate it to high heaven for printing transfer sheets just like the ones on BoLS, or make a small sheet of different sizes to print for a stamp making aid

Step 4 - Stamping.

This entire stamping portion was done with an X-acto knife, a little bit of toothpicking, and smoothing with a silicone tipped clay tool. It's pretty straight forward but I decided to include it anyway for the sake of completeness.

I printed out a little sheet to help guide me and taped it onto a plastic bag so it wouldn't get mucked up. I flattened out a round of Super Sculpy to cover one of my pad sized prints. I use this as a loose guide to make my cuts. I just cut a little out at a time and keep matching it up to my print out. Super Sculpy is important for this as it's much firmer and easier to cut at than just plain Sculpy. I didn't worry about really sharp points as this can be cleaned up in the negatives. Once that's done I stuck it in the oven to bake. A good trick I learned about sculpy in art school is ignore the cooking instructions on the back. Preheat your oven to 250-275, put your piece in, and turn the oven off. Then just leave it for a few hours or until the oven is cooled off. For very thick stuff just leave it on for 5-10 minutes then turn it off.

Step 5

Now flatten out a bit of Sculpy. I prefer this kind for the stamp as it's much softer so I don't have to worry about cracking or anything. Just push in however many times you want so you can be GSing several at a time. The toughest part is getting the original out. It takes a light hand and some pointy tweezers, but most of the time it comes right out. Now bake your new stamp.
(Edited with a better stamp)

Step 6

Put a thin coat of vaseline into your stamps making sure it gets in all the corners but doesn't build up enough to block the GS. I use a crappy old brush for this. Mix up a ball of GS and carefully push it in. Again, the corners are important. Let it sit in the stamp for a few minutes then carefully peel it out, trim off any excess, and slap it onto whatever you want.

And Done

I use this for a lot of random little things that I need a few of. Besides Chapter badges of various sizes I've done goggles for my Imperial Guardsmen and plan on doing some simple backpacks.

GS could be used instead of scuply of course, but I prefer the feel and endless working time of it. Plus it's extremely cheap compared to most epoxies.

If I glossed over any important steps let me know and I'll clear that up. I feel like I got everything in there.

Insert Witty Comment Here
755 Posts
I LOVE this tutorial. I agree, very efficient, One thing that I would say to you would be a good thing, that would improve your results 100 times over again.

You are kinda doing things backwards.

If I were you (I know, lol I am not), I would save myself some money, and use what puddy you have to their effective uses.

Use the green stuff, to make the original sculpt. Afterwords, imprint it in some super sculpy, then bake the super sculpy, afterwords, use the mold made out of super sculpy to make all of the rest of the icons.

The reason I say do this, is because for sculpting, super sculpy is just really soft, and not sticky enough. However, it holds imprinted detail amazingly.

And anyways, I hope this helps! Have a great day!
Try it and let me know what you think. I do this exact thing, except with sculpy as the mold instead of the original sculpt.


LO's Resident Time Lord
3,270 Posts
This is great! I won't be making raised chapter markings like you did, but I've been dying to figure out how BoLS makes their icon sheets, so I can do it with mine! WOOT!

397 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks guys.

Canew, Glad you found this. I owed ya I think. I just found this Inkscape program today so I whipped it up quick.

Goblin, do you mean Original Sculpy or Super Sculpy is too soft? Original is, but Super is just about as firm as my average GS mix. You can even get extra firm in the gray box. Also I like that it's not sticky as I can get cleaner cuts that way. Price-wise I agree that if you have a bunch of GS, use it, but you can get a pound of supersculpy for 7 bucks as opposed to $7-12 for a few ouces of epoxy putty.

I always have pounds and pounds of the stuff on hand. I've been using it for years (not for warhammer) and I'm comfortable with it. I use it for anything that doesn't need to have direct contact with plastic like terrain (I have a big swamp in the works that I'll post soonish), bases, these stamps, ect.

422 Posts
A couple of things with making your original master. There's a couple of other techniques you can use now that you have your original in Inkscape:

1) you can get some cardstock (either from cereal boxes or from staples or what have you) and print out a couple of copies of your icon, cut it out carefully then glue them together for the appropriate thickness.. this can be used on a shoulder pad or canopy etc to make a mold for casting (if you are using a dry casting method like pressing greenstuff into it) Not sure how the cardstock would react to the moisture in anything else. This will be highly dependent on the size and complexity of the design you are doing

2) you can put a bunch of your icons on one sheet, then send it up to Ponoko – Buy Make and Sell Jewelry and Everything Else (or another online laser cutting shop) and have them laser cut it out of styrene (plasticard) (see my thread Fun with a laser cutter)

I'm going to try the casting technique you describe for smaller icons, i think it's got the potential to look really sharp on some helmets.

397 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
The cardstock master is a really good idea. That would make an exceptionally clean design. I could see doing different detail layers and stacking them all up for more involved vehicle emblems. You've got my gears turning.

Don't ask how, but Ponoko lead to this tutorial. I was digging through that site and decided on making some new badge stamps. Maybe because it got me to make my Raptors icon in photoshop.

I plan on using them to make some MDF sidewalk terrain bases for my upcoming city project. Good find.

422 Posts
i've got a few ideas for terrain as well using their services to make masters for resin molds. I'll be posting up here.

For the cardstock, i've noticed that if it's really cheap quality or if your icons are really complex and have lots of little cuts you run the risk of tearing the paper. I'm stil quite curious to see how your efforts turn out, and definitely show us those roads when they are done!
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