How to Emboss and Oxidize Pewter Blanks for Jewelry Making

March 14, 2019

It is no surprise around the Rings & Things warehouse that the Sizzix embossing machine and DecoEmboss dies are favorites of mine. So when asked to “product test” use of the Vintaj Artisan Pewter Blanks with the embossing tools, I was happy to volunteer. Below are the steps I took to emboss 22-gauge pewter blanks. As an added bonus, I also included the necessary steps for oxidizing and polishing the embossed blanks.

Vintaj and Sizzix offer a great selection of “DecoEmboss” folders that work with both the Vintaj BIGkick Machine and the Sizzix Big Shot Jewelry Studio Machine. The embossing folders work perfectly with Vintaj Natural Brass Blanks, Vintaj Artisan Copper Blanks, and now 22-gauge Vintaj Artisan Pewter Blanks.

Vintaj Artisan Pewter Blanks

Vintaj Artisan Pewter Blanks are available in nine embossable shapes.

Emboss the Pewter Blanks:

The DecoEmboss dies are folders with carbon steel embossing plates on both sides of the folder; one side is a positive of a pattern and the facing side is the negative. When the pewter blank is sandwiched in the folder and run through the Big Shot machine, the pattern is pressed into the blank.

Select the pattern area that you want to emboss into the pewter blank. Carefully place the blank so the hanging hole is appropriately positioned. Pinch the folder closed to keep the blank from shifting while you place it in the Big Shot machine.

We have a The Vintaj model of the Sizzix BIGkick in our Rings & Things studio space. This model has been retired and is now replaced by the New Sizzix Big Shot Jewelry Studio Machine.

Sizzix Big Shot Jewelry Studio Machine

Layer the DecoEmboss folder in the Big Shot machine in this order: platform, the first clear acrylic pad, the folder with the side marked “this side down” facing down (pewter blank carefully placed inside), and the second clear acrylic pad. Turn the handle to feed the layers through the Big Shot machine. Turning the crank is easy and requires very little strength.

Remove the embossing folder from the machine and open it to reveal the perfectly embossed pewter blank.

The Big Shot makes perfectly matched embossed charms.

Oxidize and Finish the Pewter Blanks:

To add interest and depth to embossed blanks, try antiquing them with patina. I love the Novacan Black Patina for this process.

Dip a cotton swab in the patina and apply it to the pewter blank. The pewter instantly turns very dark.

Apply the patina to both sides of the blank. Rinse the blank with clear water and then dry it prior to proceeding.

Use a 3M “ultra-fine” sanding sponge to remove most of the patina from the high spots on the embossed pewter blank (front and back). Follow up by polishing the blank with an ultra polishing pad.


Tool Spotlight

3M Sanding Sponges

The 3M™ sanding sponge pads are perfect for finishing metal jewelry. Each sponge is 4 1/2 x 5 1/2″ in size and can easily be cut to customize their use.

They are available in the following grit sizes:
  • medium (120-180)
  • fine (320-400)
  • superfine (500-600)
  • ultrafine (800-1000)
  • microfine (1200-1500)


EURO TOOL Polishing Pads, Ultra, 2×2″

A Rings & Things favorite product! These thin, tight-bond foam pads with permanently bonded micro-abrasives are great for the finish polishing of metal pieces.

The antiqued, embossed pewter blanks are ready for jewelry creating!

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Super Worm Moon Earrings

“Super Worm Moon” Earrings by Rings & Things designer Mollie Valente. These earrings were made in celebration of the full “worm” moon that coincides with the Spring Equinox this year. Instructions for the Super Worm Moon Earrings are available in the Rings & Things Design Gallery.

Make Things,

Mollie


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  • Deborah March 14, 2019 at 2:39 pm

    Unless I’m mistaken, the machine lists 24g or smaller to emboss…will it still do 22g metal well?

    • Mollie Valente March 15, 2019 at 10:58 am

      Hello Deborah,
      This is from Vintaj: “Can this product be Deco Embossed and Deco Etched? YES — Vintaj Artisan Pewter is solid, lead-free pewter. Emboss, etch, patina, stamp, rivet, distress and alter to create unique jewelry components!”
      We were curious too, since 24-gauge has always been the recommendation. I think it works because the Vintaj Artisan pewter is a softer metal (22-gauge copper, brass, and silver might not work). We “product test” a lot of products here, and as you can see from the blog, the pattern embossed perfectly. And there was no damage to the embossing die folder.
      Mollie
      Rings & Things