ah designs cork stamps

Given I make cork eyewear, friends and family have a tendency to give me wine corks with the belief that I can use it to produce glasses. Sadly this is not the case, as I have no effective means of binding them together. Hence, cork stamps!

Why wine corks?

Recycling wine corks for another purpose is not new, but their use as stamps is effective as the cork's ability to compress & expand helps make for good prints. Apart from the natural grain of the cork, the prints come out quite clean.

A collection of cork stamps and test prints

A mass-run I did as gifts where you can see some variety in the prints due to the grain of the wine cork, but are generally quite clear.

How they are made

The stamps I have produced to date are carved by a computer numerical control (CNC) machine — think a robot and a drill put together — which allows me to use digital illustrations as the shape for the stamp. I have shared my unicorn stamp (pictured below) for re-use by those with similar machines or software.

A champagne cork fashioned into a unicorn stamp

I have an ongoing joke with a colleague that involves finding as many unicorn-related things as possible to gift one another. This is really the only reason the unicorn stamp exists.

What I've learned

While I likely have produced over a hundred stamps at this point, it is not a particularly efficient process as I am typically running the cut on each wine cork one-at-a-time. The cut itself takes about five minutes, but with positioning each stamp in addition to cleaning up the cut edges with light sanding tools means the process takes closer to ten minutes per stamp.

As a result one thing I would like to explore in the future is figuring out a means of clamping a entire grid of wine corks to speed up the cutting process. Cleaning up the stamps would still take time, but at least the cuts could be done without having to position each one individually.