Despite its apparently complicated nature, beautiful personalized hand-stamped jewelry is easy to make. Once you've decided to create such jewelry, a simple selection of basic tools is all you need to get started creating fantastic and stylish gifts for family and friends.
Things You'll Need
- Pre-cut pendant (usually sterling silver, gold-filled, copper or nickel silver)
- Set of metal stamps (found at hardware stores; for more variety, check out jewelry supply stores).
- 16 oz. household hammer
- Metal hole punchers (pliers)
- Rawhide or plastic mallet
- Jump ring and chain (if making a pendant)
- Steel bench block
- Permanent black marker
- Steel wool, 0000 grade
- Practice sheet metal (optional)
- Ruler (optional)
Initially, it is a good idea to practice on a piece of test metal. 24-gauge copper is a good choice for practice and can be found in many craft stores. It is important to practice the spacing of your letters, as well as the right amount of power to use when striking the stamp. Place the practice metal on your block and select a stamp. Align the letter tip of the stamp in the desired place. Note that the design on the stamp is not necessarily centered on the shank. The best way to get good placement is to use the reflection of the letter in the metal as your guide. If you look closely, you can see where the tip is going by its reflection in the metal. Generally, one good whack on the top of the stamp shank is what you're aiming to do. If you whack it too much, it can become too soft to hold the oxidation clearly; too light, and the oxidation won't stick in the depression enough to be visible.
After practicing, it's time to select your design. If you would like your word centered, measure your pendant across and make a small dot with the permanent marker in the center of the pendant. You will work from the center out. For instance, if you are stamping the word "FAITH," the "I" would go dead center, and then you would add the letters on either side, then repeat. It is helpful to draw your design on a paper before beginning. Remember to align the tip by using its reflection in the metal. One solid whack on the end of the stamp creates your impression.
Now, it's time for the oxidation. If you prefer, you can use liver of sulfur or an oxidation product like Black Magic. Beginners should use a permanent marker instead of these products. The permanent marker is less labor-intensive and you probably already have one. Use the marker to color in the depressions made with the stamp set. Force the ink in as deep and thick as you can, and do not be concerned that the marking is not precise.
Use your 0000 grade steel wool to rub the surface of the pendant. This removes any unwanted marks while polishing the tag to a reflective sheen.
If you want this for a pendant, use your hole punch pliers to make a hole in the desired spot. Use your steel wool to remove any mark left by the permanent marker in this area. Now all that is needed is a jump ring and your choice of chain, and your beautiful hand-stamped pendant is complete.
Tips & Warnings
- If your tag starts to curve or bow while you are stamping, use the rubber mallet to gently flatten it.
- For different effects, check out different colors of permanent markers for the oxidation process.
- Photo Credit Photos.com/Photos.com/Getty Images
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