Revive Your Sole/Soul With Shoe Stamps

Shoes are something that most people have around.  There are the pair that lurk in your closet for months and you never wear, and there are shoes that you wear every day and now have big gaping holes.  When your shoes reach the end of their lifespan, here is a creative way to reuse the soles of the shoes by making customized rubber stamps.

handfull of home-made stamps

Rubber stamps are fun to make, and can be used for a number of projects, from scrapbooking to decorating a letter, to making your own funky t-shirts.  You can make stamps from a lot of different materials, and the bottoms of used shoes is a great material that would otherwise go to waste.

What you need is scissors, an X-acto knife, and something to scoop out the area of the stamp that you wouldn’t want to show.  There are a lot of stamp making materials out there, and most of them are very inexpensive.  Be very careful making your stamps.  I’ve cut my knuckles more than once carving out a stamp, and it happens a lot if you go quickly and are not patient.

All that needs to be done is to get a piece of the sole of your old shoe to the size you want your stamp to be.  If it’s a thin piece, like less than 1/4 inch, I would recommend putting a piece of wood or another layer of rubber on to make sure that you have something to hold onto.  Draw your design onto your stamp, and using your X-acto knife or other materials, cut out the areas that you don’t want to be seen.  You could also do a relief stamp, where you do the opposite.  You would cut out the areas of the stamp that would be considered the “background,” so that your final image is reversed out.

When your stamp is all done, use a stamp pad or ink roller to get some dye on it and stamp away!  Remember, if you’re creating a stamp with your name on it, or with text, do it backwards.  That’s another stamping lesson I learned the hard way.

[Image Credit: Creative Kismet at Flickr]

Written by Lenore MacLeod-Bickley

Lenore is a 25 year old artist in Northern Idaho. She has a husband, two cats, and a whole room devoted to arts and crafts. She's dedicated to using art to tell a story.


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  1. Okay, this article leaves out the basics of stamp carving, like how to transfer your image to the sole of the shoe so you can cut it in the first place.
    It also neglects to mention what type of carving tools you used. Linoleum carving tools? A wood carving set? A dremmel? Or is the material too soft for that?
    What if the soles are leather or are something harder than rubber? What about crepe soled shoes?
    When posting an article like this, it actually helps to give some details.

  2. I think this is a fabulous post on stamp making. It really is such a simple process and a great use for old shoe soles. I personally like to use carbon paper for transferring a design. For carving I use a Speedball Linoleum carving set that I found at Michaels. It came with five different carving attachments.

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