Craft Tools: Metal Stamping
Guest post! Woot! So happy to have Lindsay of Shrimp Salad Circus posting today.
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Hello, Lemon Jitters readers! Katie's been sharing her digital expertise over at my blog for awhile, so I figured it was high time I paid you guys a visit over here! When I first got into jewelry-making and blogging, I got a little obsessed with metal stamping. For a pretty reasonable investment, you can make gifts that will blow people away. You'll look infinitely more thoughtful and put-together than your friends, and you can gloat for days over being the best gift-giver at your next function. Read on for all the supplies you'll need to get started, plus links to a few of my tutorials to figure out how to use all this stuff.
*1. Letter & Number Stamps: These are super hard metal and come in lots of different sizes. I have 1.5mm, 2.5mm, and 4mm. I'd recommend starting with a 2.5, as the other two are quite small and quite large, respectively.
*2. Fine Grit Nail File: I use this to sand off the Sharpie after I fill in letters to make them stand out. You want the finest grit possible so that you're polishing your surface, rather than scratching/scuffing it.
3. Dapping Block Set: You can get these in wood or metal, and they're just kind of a fun extra. You can take a flat disc and dome it so that it ends up with a rounded shape. I used a dapping block to make this locket.
*4. Metal Blanks: You can get blanks in any size, shape, or metal. I've used brass most often, but aluminum is cheap and great for bracelets. Sterling is the best, of course, but it's also the most expensive by a long shot.
*5. Steel Bench Block: If you try stamping on a table or any other regular surface, you're going to get a lot of bounce and not a lot of stamp impression. The bench block absorbs the shock of the stamping, allowing a deep, even impression. They come in lots of sizes, but I use a 2.5" square block.
*6. Lightweight Hammer: Just pick up any old hammer from Lowe's or Home Depot. I use a "ladies' hammer" because it's lighter. I try not to be offended that it's also a little bit sexist. ;D
7. Metal Punch: You can buy your blanks with holes already punched, but I like the flexibility of punching my own blanks. If I want to add extra holes, I can just go for it. Plus, there's a bit of cost savings when do some of the work yourself.
8. Ball Peen Hammer: A ball peen hammer has one little rounded end that's just great for giving a nice texture to your blanks. You can hammer a blank like crazy to get a pretty finish, and then stamp your text over it.
*9. Sharpie: Yes - a Sharpie. Right up there with the nail file in the realm of absurdly simple. When you stamp your blanks, your letters will kind of blend in. You can color them in with the Sharpie to make them pop, then just use the nail file to sand off any excess marks.
I promised tutorials, right? Let's start from the most basic - a simple monogrammed metal pendant. You can take that to the next level by adding a message in a bottle (perfect Valentine's Day gift for your guy). If you want to try your hand with the dapping block, go for a hidden message locket. Finally, my most popular tutorial for ages now would have to be antique spoon plant markers.
I have *starred everything you absolutely need to start off with. The dapping block, punch, and ball peen hammer are fun to add on as soon as you decide you're fully addicted to stamping...