It’s always exciting when new products arrive at The Bead Shop. There are lots of ooo’s and ah’s before the fight for who gets to try out said product commences! I was lucky enough to be the chosen one for testing out the new Letter and Number Punch Set and I couldn’t wait to get stuck in!
I have some knowledge of metal work from my time at college but this was a while ago (ahem!). I had a look through a great book Stamped Metal Jewelry by Lisa Niven Kelly for any hints or tips. This is a fabulous book and has step by step picture to guide you through the process so it’s great for beginners but also has more advanced projects that you can progress onto.
When I’m making my own jewellery, I love to use text in my creations so I already had a million ideas buzzing through my head.
I set up my stall; stamps, steel block, chasing hammer and any flat metal objects that I could get my hands on! I started by just getting a feel for the stamps and the pressure needed (as the book suggests). It requires a steady hand and an even strike with the hammer. Too little pressure and the impression is faint, too much and you get the edge of the stamp on your work as well. I would highly recommend practicing before you go on to use any special shapes or charms.
To make sure that your chosen word or phrase will fit onto the space you have available, it’s a good idea to draw around your chosen base on to some thick paper and press the stamps into the paper; this will give you a rough idea of how much room you have. If you want to stamp a sentence, write it out on some scrap paper, work out which is the middle letter and stamp each letter out from there.
There are some great ideas for enhancing the letters once you have stamped them. Using Liver of Sulphur, the boiled egg method, permanent pen or my personal favourite; acrylic paint. By applying the paint directly to the piece and wiping off the excess, the paint will stay inside the stamped impression. Appli Glue is great for this (dark colours work best on metal) and we currently have some amazing colours in the sale!
If hammering isn’t your thing there are other uses for the stamps. By pressing the stamps into polymer clay you can get a great effect. It also means there are many colours to choose from, once baked the acrylic paint method will add depth to the stamped letters.
Seal with Sculpey Glaze to finish. A little messy but a great effect!
Below are the finished pieces I put together. They are themed necklaces. I chose words and charms that work together to create a wearable 'story'. I had great fun testing this set and I still have lots of ideas I want to try! It’s great for making personalised jewellery and charms which seem to be very popular at the moment.