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F.W.'s picture

F.W. Craft Corner Chop

 

 

 

 

We're back from China, but it was such a great trip I can't stop thinking about it! One of the things that I really liked there were Chinese seals, also known as chops. Chops are blocks that have a name or symbol carved into them and can be used to stamp documents. Chops have been used in China for thousands of years as official signatures. Originally, chops were used just by the Emperor to sign official documents, but over time other officials started using it, and now anyone can have their own chop!

 

 

 

 

 

Row of chops at Shanghai Museum

 

At the Shanghai Museum there were some really nice chops, which got me wanting one for all my important documents. Then I figured that I could make my own. The problem was that most chops are made out of hard material such as jade, stone or wood. But you know me, I’m crafty, so I figured out a way to make your own chop with easy to use stuff you might have right now!

 

F.W.'s Chops

You'll Need:

Clay that hardens when you bake it in the oven, a toothpick, and some wax paper. I combined green and white clay so it would look marbled, like a piece of jade, but you can use any color you want.

Your stamp can be any symbol or letters that represent you. You could try using your initials like I did.

There are two options for getting your initials on the stamp. You can carve it in (and the stamp will look like the one on the left), or you can add it using raised strips of clay (and it will look like the one on the right).

 

 

 

F.W. kneads clay

 

 

1. The first thing you need to do is to knead the clay and roll it into a cylinder for a chop with a long handle. If you want a chop with a more decorative handle just shape part of the clay into a block a little bigger than you want your stamp.

 

 

 

 

Clay flattened on wax paper.

 

2. Press your cylinder down on the wax paper until you form a flat base the size of the stamp you want. Or press your block of clay down until the bottom is perfectly smooth. Try to make sure the bottoms of your clay pieces are as flat and even as possible.

 

 

 

Carving symbol into clay

3. If you want a chop with "empty" letters and an ink background then you will want to carve your symbol into the clay. Use the toothpick to do this and carve lightly at first before you go back and make your lines deeper and wider. Push the clay back against the wax paper to even it out and then touch up your lines. REMEMBER: Carve your symbol backwards so it prints the right way when you use the stamp.

 

 

Addin a raised symbol to your chop

 

4. If you want your chop to have inked letters and empty background then you will want to create your symbol with clay. Roll some clay into thins strips and attach these to the bottom of your chop in the shape you would like. You can use the toothpick to help move the clay around to neaten up the shape. REMEMBER: Apply your symbol backwards so it prints the right way when you use the stamp.

 

 

 

 

F.W.'s Chop F.W.s Chop Style 2

 

5. The last step is to shape the handle of your chop the way you'd like it. Or, you can create a mini sculpture to put on top of one without a handle.

Then, bake the clay according to the directions on the package and get out your stamp pad. You can start stamping your own letters or homework just like the Emperors in China used to do. Hmmm…I'm not sure they did homework, but you know what I mean!

 

 

Very elaborate chop print.

 

Not all chops are made to stamp a simple design. Some use every
surface of the stone they were carved on. Mouse over this to see what
kind of crazy chop created this image!

 

redsectora's picture

I really like your idea to

I really like your idea to make chops for a craft. My grandmother went to China many years ago and one of the things she got me was a set. They were so cool!
Ooo, and I like the "roll over" the picture feature.

F.W.'s picture

It's a fun craft! You should try it!

Making the stamp come out exactly how you want it to look is a little hard, but even when it's not perfect it looks really cool. I've been stamping everything! I even stamped my sandwich today(without ink), and made an impression of my initals on the bread. That way Ramses couldn't take a bite of it and pretend he made a mistake and thought it was his!

 

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