Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Stamp Your Way To Custom Charms - A " How To" Tutorial From Brooke

I am proud to introduce to all of you to the newest member of the Tools Are For Women Too team.  Her name is Brooke, and I consider her to be one of my good blogging friends.  This is a woman with some great skills in the area of jewelry making and I think you are all going to enjoy her future posts.  Welcome to the team Brooke!

Hello Everyone! I am Brooke from Sunset & Vine Jewelry and this is my first piece for TAFWT! and I am very excited to be here. Even if you are an avid jewelry designer you will be able to put some of the suggestions to use in this basic tutorial! Blogs, instructional books and seeking the advice of fellow crafters through forums can be incredibly instrumental in teaching yourself the fundamentals of a new craft.
Anyone who has spent more than twenty minutes with me can attest to the fact that I never stop thinking about crafting. I love to know the ins and outs of how things are made and than set about to prove I can do it too! Sure, others always say "you can buy that for like $20". Well you probably can, but where is the fun in that?  And maybe I can save a little money, which everyone likes, right! That is how I started stamping my own charms and pendants.

Before the thought ran through my head to break down the design process even further I would have purchased pre-stamped charms with a cute little saying like "LOVE" OR "PEACE". Than a problem arose in the creative process, as it usually does. How do you get "Emersen" stamped on a tag, or "May 21, 2005"? You don't unless you want to pay somebody to do it for you, and like I said earlier that just takes all the fun out of it and it can cost upwards of $150 or more for sterling silver charms and necklace!

There are many ways to get started with metal stamping and you don't have to be an expert to be successful. In fact I believe that someone who has never touched a bead or piece of wire in their life can accomplish this project! The other great thing about this is that there are multiple uses for the charms. You can get started with a minimal investment and once you purchase the basics.  You will need to start with metals stamps, a chasing hammer, and an anvil block.These are tools that you will have them forever and can be used them for multiple projects. You will have a choice in purchasing metal for the charms. A novice would probably like to purchase stamping blanks that come in a variety of pre-cut shapes, sizes and metals. Stamping blanks are also more economical if your budget is small. If you are experienced with metals and have a larger budget to work with it may make more sense for you to invest in a sheet of metal of your choice along with metal sheers to cut your metal, and metal files, to file and sand the edges of the cut metal.

Materials can be found at many jewelry supply stores, Etsy, Rings N Things, Beaducation, and even ebay. Once you have your supplies gathered you are ready to get started. Make sure your anvil block is on a sturdy even surface, you may want to place a towel under it and the surface you are working on to absorb the some of the shock and noise.

It will help to take a pencil and lightly draw a straight line with a ruler across your charm to indicate where you will stamp. This will ensure your stamps are even and in a straight line.
Take your first metal stamp and make sure it is lined up to mark the right way on the charm, hold it steady against the charm and give it a couple good strikes with the flat end of the chasing hammer. You will want to make sure you are striking the hammer against the stamp hard enough to leave a good impression.Once you are satisfied with the first stamp you can move on to the rest of your letters making sure they are turned the correct way. You will want to ensure you leave proper spacing between the stamps and letters so that your letters are not on top of each other and not too far apart.
Once you have finished stamping your name or phrase you are ready to attach your charm. Use chain nose pliers to open a jump ring and attach the ring to your charm. Place the charm unit onto a bracelet or necklace and your project is ready to wear!

Tips: If you are having problems getting your stamps to leave a dark enough or complete impression try these tips.

  • Make sure that the hammer you are using is heavy enough(at least 1lb.) and if it is not you can use a household hammer for stamping.
  • When I first tried stamping my stamp was not leaving an imprint on the sides. If this occurs you will need to employ a tilting method. While you are stamping you will tilt and tap in a clockwise direction. Tilt the stamp just slightly, not too drastically or the imprint will be overdone. Then just tilt and stamp, I usually do this in a 12-3-6-9 motion or N,E,S,W.
Making custom stamps is great for other projects too! I have seen them used for everything from custom golf markers for dad to vegetable markers in the garden. I would suggest making special gift tags for Christmas, tags for scrapbooking albums, a custom key chain for the new driver in the family, Fido his very own custom doggy tags or charms for your children's bookbags. Whatever it is that you do have fun and let your creativity shine through!


I hope you enjoyed Brooke's metal stamping tutorial.  You can visit her at Sunset & amp; Vine Jewelry.  If you would like to be a part of the Tools Are For Women Too team, drop me an email....


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