I wanted to take the time to really design my first stamp to death, make it all nice and pretty before I went out hunting, but I had the materials handy and my hands were itching, so I ended up carving a pretty simple stamp and rushing out to use the last couple hours of real daylight to hunt for two nearby letterbox locations.
I used some round, plastic-y stamp carving stuff I had sitting around. I have several more pieces, but I don't have the original packaging anymore, so for the life of me I can't remember what the brand is. I got it at Hobby Lobby, pretty inexpensive if I recall. The tool you see to the right is just a basic set of Speedball linocutting blades and handle/storage. Some people apparently carve up red rubber or white vinyl erasers too, but I have plenty of these blank seals that seem to be a convenient size, and some actual printmaking linoleum as well.
It has a sticky back, and mounts temporarily to smooth surfaces, the same way clear polymer stamps you may have seen in craft stores do. In this instance, I've been using a cd jewel case cover because I have managed to misplace the hundred damn acrylic blocks I actually own for this purpose. The inkpad you see in the above photo is an ancient Ranger's Archival in sepia. (I ended up using black instead when I went out.) I like Archival; it's an oil based ink, so it's waterproof and doesn't bleed, has a rich tone when applied correctly and it also dries very quickly.
From there, I grabbed a blank book and the clues to letterboxes located in two different cemeteries, one within a mile of my apartment, and the other just few minutes away. The first one was pretty easy to locate, even if I did get momentarily sidetracked by trash that was left in the shrubs I was hunting through. I'm not exactly proud of my stamp, but I'll have plenty of time to hash out new designs when the weather gets cold and I'm less inclined to go out and explore! I also found a pretty kickin' huge branch that must've fallen from the storm that passed through a couple of days ago. This will now serve as the staff for the necromancer costume I'm working on, hurr.
The second box was easy enough to discover once I found the landmark for it, but the clues that the planter left had me running from one end of the cemetery to the other, and a couple of turns weren't always clear. I found it, though, that's the important part! I forgot to take a photo of my stamped page. I also lost my pen somewhere and had to use a pencil I dug out of my car.
That's it for now! I'll post some pics of my find book up here once I've got a few more of these under my belt and it looks more impressive, but today was definitely in exercise in awesome, and I felt like I was Harry Potter or some crazy shit, running around with a secret name, finding boxes with unknowable surprises in them around every corner.
I saw some really neat hand-carved stamps in the books; my favorites included a skull, a bulldozer, and the Riddler as he was depicted in Batman: the Animated Series. I don't think he was carved out by hand, the linework was very smooth, but still very, very cool.