Kids love making these holiday postage stamps using a homemade gelatin glue. They're so impressed that they can make their own lick-and-stick “stickers” that this is a great activity for Halloween, Christmas, Valentine's Day, or any rainy day!
Over the last couple of weeks, I've been busy in the kitchen brewing up lots of fun, somewhat creepy Halloween recipes. ‘Tis that time of year, I guess. My favorites are still my homemade gummy worms and leeches, and my gummy eyeballs.
What do they have in common?
They are fun recipes that use fruit and lots of nourishing gelatin.
Once you are done making them, though, there's always the “problem” of the remaining gelatin in your pan. Some of it gets eaten without being put in a mold or chilled until set. That's inevitable, I guess. 😉
No matter how well you clean the pan, though, the tiniest little bit of fruity gelatin remains.
I have a fun solution for you, of course. You can make use of that gelatin, and do a fun activity with kids (or adults, I won't judge!), and make some fun gelatin postage stamps.
Remembering lick-and-stick postage stamps
I know what you are thinking. Maybe this dates me a lot. Should I be afraid to admit that I still remember a time when all postage stamps were of the lick-and-stick variety?
A lot of people hated lick and stick stamps. They looked for ingenious ways to use a wet sponge to avoid having to lick the glue. They were ecstatic, I'm sure, when the peel-and-stick postage stamps became available.
I, on the other hand, was always fascinated by lick-and-stick stamps when I was a kid. My son loves playing with stickers, so I figured that once he figured out how these worked, he would love this too.
I was right!
Gaining confidence by making homemade stamps
At first, my son didn't really understand the concept of what we were doing. I had him paint the gelatin on the back of a sheet of Halloween stamps that I had printed from the web, but he was trying to make circles and faces with the gelatin instead and didn't understand that I wanted him to cover the entire sheet.
So, as you can imagine, I had to help him out a little bit at first.
I later drew out a grid with squares and rectangles the size of large stamps and had my son fill in the grid with small drawings. This is a great activity for building dexterity because young children often have a difficult time making small drawings.
Then came to the part of actually using the stamps…
When my son saw me lick the first stamp, he made a sort of grossed out face and didn't want to try it. I thought my fun craft had flopped!
Once he saw how mine stuck to the paper like a sticker, though, he wanted to try it himself; again; and again; and again. 😉
I'd have to say it was a total success!
Over the years, we've made more stamps. It does, after all, give us one more excuse to make some yummy, healthy gummy treats!
Now that he's gotten older, he is able to cut out his own stamps. That, in itself, is great practice for small hands. Even now, he was fascinated with the whole process and really impressed that we were able to make our own “stickers!” (Have we gotten to the age already that kids no longer understand the concept of stamps?!?!?!)
How to make fun holiday postage stamps with gelatin glue
Gelatin Glue for Lick-and-Stick Postage Stamps
- 1 Tbsp. gelatin
- 2 tsp. fruit juice or cold water
- 2 tsp. boiling water
Make the lick-and-stick glue
- In a small bowl, mix together the unflavored gelatin with one teaspoon of either cold water or fruit juice. I used pomegranate juice to give it a slight pink color and a hint of flavor.
- Allow the gelatin to "bloom" (swell and absorb the liquid). Meanwhile, heat up a tiny bit of water.
- Add the hot water to the gelatin mixture and stir constantly until the gelatin dissolves. If you can't get it all to dissolve, you may have to heat up the mixture over a double boiler or in the microwave. (You don't need to heat it much, just enough to help dissolve the gelatin.)
- If you are instead using leftover gelatin from another recipe, add a tiny bit of water to the pan with the remaining gelatin mixture, and dissolve as much of it into the water as you can. I used a spatula to get as much of it out of the pan and into a small container as I could.
Make your postage stamps (or stickers)
- Either print out a sheet of fun postage stamps, like the ones I found through an internet search, or make your own. We made several sheets of each.
- Paint the entire back of your sheet(s) of stamps with your gelatin glue. I'd suggest using either a pastry brush or a paintbrush that you have reserved only for use with food.
- Set aside to dry. We left ours alone overnight.
- The next day, cut out your stamps. If your child is old enough, it's great practice to have them cut the stamps with your supervision!
- After cutting a few out, I remembered that I have a paper cutter that cuts little slits in the paper, and used it to perforate along the stamp lines to make more authentic stamps. My son really loved the stamps that I made with the perforator because he was proud of the fact that he could separate the stamps all by himself!
- Your lick-n-stick stamps are ready to use. Lick & stick, of course!
Holiday stamp printables
Halloween postage stamps
When I first made these, I wasn't really ready to make my own stamps apart from the sheet of small drawings that I had my son make. I was making these around Halloween, so I searched for something to go along with the holiday. I found these super cute Halloween printable stamps. Just click on the link and you can print out your own for this activity!
Christmas postage stamps
The next time we made our own postage stamps, it was Christmas time. I was looking for something fun to put on the envelopes of the Christmas cards that didn't need to be mailed. Luckily, the same site that had cute Halloween stamp printables also had a sheet of Christmas postage stamps!
Valentine's Day Stamps
I couldn't find any cute sheets of Valentine's Day postage stamps to print out. I really thought stamps would be super cute for “sending” Valentines. When I was a kid we even made mailboxes in school and used those to receive our valentines from our friends.
In the end, I decided to make my own for fun. I used a couple of pictures of my golden retrievers. (Sadly, they are no longer with us, but I love having these lovely photos to remember them!)
I made a printable sheet for you to use if you like. In retrospect, I would have made the lettering in black on one of the stamps, but I think they're still cute if you'd like to use them!