Hand metal stamping is a quick and easy way to customize and personalize jewelry, cell phones, purse clips, pet tags and more. You can express yourself with a phrase or word, or personalize something with a simple initial. Monogram stamps are ideal for this, though Rings & Things carries a variety of fun font stamps that also work well.
One way to tell someone they are special is with a custom stamped charm with their astrology sign and birth date.
Let’s make one featuring the new zodiac sign Ophiuchus now available with our new line of zodiac metal stamps. With a little online research, I found that some main stream astrologers have now accepted the new sign of Ophiuchus (the serpent bearer), which has moved the other dates around a bit, but I understand that the new schedule only applies if you were born after 2011. People born on November 29, 2011 would be the very first to have the zodiac sign Ophiuchus. [Editor’s note: as of 2018, the Ophiuchus metal stamp is no longer in production … but the original 12 astrological sign symbols are still going strong!)
The required tools can be minimal, but there are many optional supplies for the precision-planners and tool junkies.
Basic minimum tools needed
- Rings & Things NEW EXCLUSIVE stamping kit for beginners! This mini metal-stamping tool kit has everything you need to start metal stamping, as well as our new and improved instructional tip sheet: Metal Stamping 101 (#68-007-07)
- Zodiac sign design stamp
- A Sharpie® pen, a ruler and masking tape
1. File any sharp or rough edges on your stamping blank. Even pre-cut blanks can be a little sharp around the edges. When working with softer metals like sterling silver, I like to use a fine grit (320-400) sanding sponge to smooth the edges. The sanding sponge will also be useful later in the patina process.
2. Figure out your spacing and stamp placement. To get a nice curve with the date, I used a Sharpie® pen to make a guideline. Then I drew an approx 6mm box to indicate where the zodiac sign will go. Sharpie comes off easily with a little fingernail polish remover.
3. Tape the metal blank to your steel block to keep it from slipping or moving while you stamp.
4. Start stamping. Position the stamp straight up and down making sure it is perfectly level. Using a brass head hammer, strike the stamp with one firm blow. Repeat with each impression you make. To make the date symmetrical, I stamped the middle part (day of the month) first, then the year on the right, and then the month on the left.
5. Flip the blank over, and use a nylon hammer to flatten any curviness that happened with the stamping.
6. Use steel wool or super fine sanding sponge #69-257-0003 to buff out blemishes and scratches, as well as removing the marker guidelines we drew.
7. Clean with soap and water or rubbing alcohol to prepare for oxidizing. A properly prepared surface will be clean and shiny.
9. Using a cotton swab, paint the Novacan onto the metal blank until it is covered in black.
10. Let it dry, then buff again with the sanding sponge to remove the patina from the raised parts, leaving the stamping impressions dark.
11. Gently polish with an Ultra-polish pad #63-528 to make it shine!
12. To finish, add some birthstone dangles, a jump ring and chain!
Bridal gifts are another popular way to share the gift of personalized metal stamping!
Be extra careful when stamping sterling silver or gold filled. It’s good to practice on base metal or even better to practice on a scrap of sterling sheet if you have some. Sterling silver is much softer; you won’t need to hit the stamp quite as hard as you would for brass. Gold fill varies in hardness, so may take a bit of practice.
More metal stamping inspirations…
I hope you found this metal stamping tutorial informative and inspirational! Happy stamping!
Links updated October 2018