The best thing about metal stamping is the ability to personalize jewelry and ornaments with the exact words, phrases and names you want. Hammering metal is one of those instant gratification crafts. In just a few minutes you can create a completely customized gift that will be functional for years. Below are some examples of custom gift tags and other gift items to inspire your Christmas crafting.
One of my favorite holiday-themed stories is Six to Eight Black Men by David Sedaris. It concerns Dutch Christmas traditions, like leaving your shoes out by the heater for Santa to fill with goodies. This is not much different from the American tradition of hanging stockings on the mantle. However, if you’re naughty, Santa (who happens to be the former bishop of Turkey) and his “six to eight black men” (no one knows the exact number) might beat you with a switch, kick you, or kidnap you and take you home with them (to Spain, not the North Pole). The essay is hilarious. I highly recommend you read it.
With this story in mind, I made a personalized brass gift tag for David to hang from a bottle of wine. I think Santa’s festive crew of eight, clogs and paddle pins and crystals dress up a bottle of Zinfandel quite nicely. In my imagination he is very pleased with it when I show up at his European home for a holiday party with it in hand.
Here are two more examples of hand-stamped brass name tags. The tiny Vintaj brass blank makes a great addition to necklaces, bracelets and packages.
Sondra’s “Sunny” tag brightens up this pendant necklace.
This wee brass tag personalizes an organza gift bag full of chocolate covered espresso beans.
Stamped metal tags make DIY wine glass charms that much classier. I love how guests can reveal their personalities by choosing cranky or merry words. Our 1/2″ wide strips of brass and copper make it super simple to make these.
And finally, with my Let it Snow! copper gift adornment, I wanted to answer a common metal stamping question: which gauge metal should I use?
The answer: 24 gauge is the thinnest metal that works well for stamped metal jewelry. Thicker is fine, but anything thinner is probably too flimsy unless it is layered with other metal. (Our stampable brass fairy doors are only 26-gauge, but meant to be sandwiched together.) We recently added 18-gauge stamping blanks and 20-gauge sheet metal, primarily for etching and enameling. However, I really like the thicker blanks for metal stamping too. Compare:
See how the 24-gauge piece has high points around the letters? Stamping displaces metal, and on thin pieces this is obvious as the metal will warp and wrinkle a bit. The thicker 18 gauge metal absorbs the hammer blows better and hardly “moves” at all.
Back side – the 24-gauge piece shows clear shadows of the letters stamped on the front, and needs to be flattened with a rubber or rawhide mallet. The 18-gauge piece is still perfectly flat and shows just a hint of the letters.
If you don’t already have the tools you need, we’ve got a great selection of metal-stamping tools and tool kits, fun designer fonts and individual decorative stamps to get you going! ~Cindy