How To Make Your Own Paper Blending Stump
Updated: May 27, 2020
How do you build a graphite blending and shading tool on your own?
I've struggled to create my own paper blending stump at first but after a few tries, I've learned some tricks I want to share with you now. Let me prevent you from experiencing the same struggle.
How do you build a paper blending tool?
To build a paper blending stump you need to cut out a rectangle of a soft paper. Cut off the upper right corner to easily roll the paper tightly from right to left. Tape the little paper stick to be held closely together to not unroll again. Sharpen the side of the stick that has no hole until it looks like a pencil made of paper. Use sandpaper to clean the tip.
Obviously there's more to it than just that. Let us dive into a step by step "recipe" to create flawless stumps and clear out possible mistakes that can be made.
I. The Exact Steps To Make A Paper Blending Stump
1. Cut Out A Rectangle
2. Cut Off The Corner
3. Roll The Paper Tightly
4. Seal It
5. Sharpen Tip
6. Soften Tip
1. Cut out a rectangle from a soft paper of your choice but we'll get into the choice of paper later on. Just be sure to use a soft paper. You can test the softness of your paper by tearing it apart and looking at the edges. The fluffier the edges look the softer your paper.
You can use literally any dimensions you want to but I recommend using 13cm x 20cm, for this is the usual length and thickness of a blender I personally use most of the time.
2. Cut off the upper right corner of your rectangle to be able to smoothly roll up the paper afterwards. It's also possible to roll the paper without cutting off anything but it's always a clear recommendation no matter which dimensions you decide to use for your own graphite and charcoal wiper.
3. Roll the paper from right to left and pay attention to do it as tightly as possible. The density of the blending stick is important to create a solid and pointy tip. You don't want to have a hole in the tip of your paper blending stump, right? Really, pay close attention to doing this correctly. Not doing this step carefully enough is the biggest mistake you can make during the crafting process.
Let me give you a piece of advice at this point by recommending using scissors to prepare the rectangle-shaped paper in front of you. Compare this tip to the process of curling ribbon for a gift. By doing this, you make it smoother to roll it afterwards.
4. Seal it by finally holding the rolled-up stick tightly and taping it from the bottom to the tip. Tape it as accurately as possible. Nevertheless, keep in mind that you still want to leave a little bit of space at and behind the tip for the stick to hold it a little longer than only for one drawing. If you leave some space there, you will be able to rub the colored parts against sandpaper later on or cut it off with a razor knife to use it multiple times for your artworks.
5. Sharpen the tip by using a box cutter to make it look somewhat like a pencil after this step. By sharpening your tool's tip you determine the length of the tip which will, later on, be used to actually shade, blend, and smudge. The question you need to ask yourself at this point is what purpose you want to use the stump for. Do you want to work on large areas with it or rather smaller spaces to create impressive detail?
If you need a wiper for both tasks and in different versions, with unalike tip consistencies, the solution to your problem is very easy... Just repeat the process as many times as you want and create as many blending stumps as you need.
6. Soften the tip rubbing it against sandpaper to remove irregularities at the side and tip of the tool. You also decide what texture the side is going to have, which you will use for the actual shading, obviously.
So what sandpaper should you use for this step? This question brings us to the next section of this article.
II. What Sandpaper To Use?
When we're talking about sandpaper blocks there isn't really a whole lot to pay attention to but there are a few things I want to mention at this point.
Sandpaper blocks can be bought at pretty much every art supply store there is and the best thing is, many times you can buy them directly in combination with a paper blending stump. An alternative would be to order a sandpaper-blending stump combination on Amazon. However, comparing homemade stumps and bought ones is recommended. It's possible that you're more comfortable using an industrial one than using your own one.
So what differences are there and which one should you consider buying for the maintenance of your paper wiper?
Mainly you measure the sandpaper by the grit intensity. With this indicator, you can identify the number of sharp particles per square inch. Very fine sandpaper has many of these particles (350 - 600), whereas coarser sandpaper has fewer sharp particles (~ 30).
For your art, you should definitely consider buying medium-grit sandpaper. It will be the best fit for your paper blending stumps because you won't rub it off to roughly and not too softly. The optimal grit intensity is 100 to 150 particles per inch.
III. What Are Good Types Of Paper To Use?
As I've already mentioned earlier, you will want to use softer paper to build your graphite wiper because otherwise, the blending stumps wouldn't be able to hold the graphite so well. In other words, you couldn't smudge as well as with stumps consisting of soft paper that easily takes on the color and transports it wherever you want.
Of course, if you need a blending stump that doesn't wipe the graphite or charcoal that strong, I recommend crafting the tool multiple times with various types of paper. For the regular, commonly used blending stump I would use soft paper.
But what paper exactly and where can I get that are you asking right now? Well, if you are let me present to you my personal Top 3:
Canson Universal Sketch Pad: https://amzn.to/2sXpHtH
Zeta Softcover Sketchbook: https://amzn.to/2TWyuHb
Delta Softcover Sketchbook: https://amzn.to/3aHoPKH
If you use one of the options listed above your paper blending stump is sure to be a success. May your very own shading stick(s) serve you and your drawings well.
IV. Related Questions
1. How Do You Reuse A Blending Stump?
You can either sharpen the tip with sandpaper, cut off the dirty parts with a box cutter or you could use the excess graphite on the tool to shade and even draw without using a pencil.
2. How Do You Clean A Blender?
You have multiple options to clean your paper blender. Wiping the dirty parts on scrap paper until it vanishes is one option. You can also cut off the dirty side with a razor or clean the tip by rubbing it against sandpaper.
3. Can You Also Use A Blending Stump With Colored Pencils?
Yes, you can! Blending stumps are mostly used with graphite or charcoal drawing, but it is of course also possible to use the wiping tool to shade, blend or smudge colored areas of your artwork.