Thursday, May 5, 2016

Carving Material Review: Speedball Speedy Carve (2013)

Speedball Speedy Carve (2013 formulation)
So, Speedball Speedy Carve.  The ubiquitous "pink stuff".  If you've ever carved a stamp in North America, you have probably been pushed in the direction of this material.  In fact, all over this blog you'll find pink stuff.  The tricky part is that even in the seven years that I've been carving, there have been three different formulations of this material.  The stuff that I originally started carving with was great, all purpose stuff.  And I think that's pretty much the case now - it's good all purpose stamp carving material. 

However, the newest formulation (noted by the 2013 date on the label) is yet another step away from the original material that I liked so much.  The 2012 version (if it can still be found anywhere) was more brittle and crumbly - with a slightly lighter colour.  I believe the original stuff I used was 2009...

Cost-wise, this is pretty middle of the road and highly dependant on where you bought it.  By fluke, I found a 12" x 12" slab of the stuff (I've never seen that size in the wild!) and the price per square inch worked out quite nicely.

Again, this blog is littered with my thoughts about this material, but for posterity (and to be able to include it in my comparison table), here is the review for Speedy Carve.


Pepto-Bismol coloured.  It's that shade of pink... Quite clearly, the only colour of pink that can be considered as "the pink stuff".  The new formulation is fairly rubbery feeling, and floppy.  Oh, so floppy (which I can't stand for larger projects since it

flops in my hands as I'm trying to carve it... grr!).

Size and Weight:

The material is about the middle of the road for how heavy it is - and it's about 7 mm thick.  Keep in mind the edges are tricky in this slabs: two sides of every slab taper, so you lose about one centimetre along both sides.... If you inadvertently carve into it, you won't get a proper impression when you stamp because the one part is thinner than the rest.  
Heat transfer onto pink stuff


Works great with anything I've personally tried... pencil, acetone, xylene, heat... I'm pretty sure Fiddleheads uses wintergreen oil and I've read that others are succesfully doing parchment transfers on it.  This stuff pretty much loves to be transferred upon.

Crumble Factor:

While the material does not crumble like the 2012 batch (or the dreaded Speedy Cut material), delicate parts of a carved area can crumble off if you put horizontal friction to it (like those letterboxers who rub their ink pads against the stamp... monsters...).


It's a fast carve.  Not sure that it's because the rubber is any different, but more that I have so much experience with this medium and how it's going to react to the knife and gouge, I can carve it really quickly.  With a gouge, this material shines.  But if given a choice, if it's an image I need to knife carve, I'm going to choose something else... usually OZ Kut.  Having said that, I can and do carve text on pink on a regular basis, it's just not my preference.


This material inks up quite well and gives good impressions... No complaints.

Click image to enlarge and see some of the details.


Despite the new floppy formula, this is a very reliable medium because of how ubiquitous it is and how consistent it is (within formulations, that is).  The new formula makes it difficult to create a large stamp because it flops before you can get it evenly down, so mounting it - even temporarily - is probably a good idea. The material is great for gouge carvings and quite a bit of text.


  1. Wintergreen oil works, but I'm a parchment girl now. Except on SLQ. What a disaster that is.