If you read here regularly, you already know my love for hand-stamped jewelry. It’s such a fun way to personalize pieces! I’ve written a beginner’s jewelry stamping tutorial and shared several stamped projects, but it has been quite a while since I really talked technique, or showed you any new products. That’s kind of the best part about stamping – once you make your initial investment and practice your stamping, you don’t need to keep buying new things. (Until you fall in love with a new font, I mean. Haha.) But there are lots of other things than can be stamped, besides just jewelry. Today I want to show you how to make stamped spoons! They make for a sweet handmade Valentine’s Day gift when you add romantic messages! It’s tough to find handmade gift ideas for men, but this is a great idea to go with his morning coffee. :)
Now, you can’t use your regular stamps on everything. Maybe you’ve tried already – but you just can’t stamp on stainless steel with a standard stamp set. Which is kind of a bummer, because if you want to stamp spoons, in the past you needed to buy actual silver spoons to have that softer metal to work with to use your standard stamps, which are NOT cheap. ImpressArt just rolled out a premium stamp alphabet set, designed specifically for stamping hard metals like stainless steel. I am seriously excited to see this!
I work with ImpressArt from time to time, and they sent me this set to try the new premium stamps for myself and show you how they work! And bonus – they’re giving a set away to one of my readers today too! Read on for the tutorial, and be sure to check out the bottom of the post to enter the giveaway by February 9, 2014! Note: The giveaway is now closed. Thanks to everyone who entered!
First, I want to give you the how-to. These are the average spoons you will find in any store that sells kitchenware. And instead of spending $20, or $30, or $40 on an antique silver spoon to find a soft enough metal to use with normal metal stamps – I picked up this 6-pack of spoons for $5.99 to practice on. It only takes a couple of stamped spoons for the premium stamps to pay for themselves, now that you can stamp on stainless steel. (If you’d like to read more about what the premium metal stamps can do, be sure to check them out at the ImpressArt site.)
If you are brand-spanking-new at metal stamping, I have a much more detailed jewelry stamping tutorial you should probably check out first. Once you’ve got the basics down, I’m going to give you some tips specific to stamping spoons for today’s project.
What you will need:
- Premium Metal Stamps. ImpressArt sells this 3mm set in the Newsprint font. This set is specifically designed for use on stainless steel, and carries a lifetime guarantee.
- Your bench block and hammer
- Masking tape
- Optionally: A permanent non-toxic marker. There’s some debate about exactly what sorts of chemicals can be present in markers and still be called “non-toxic”. I am comfortable with using a marker to darken my letters because these spoons are intended to be for occasional use only, and primarily decorative. If the thought of using marker makes you uncomfortable, you can certainly skip it and leave your stamping as it is.
A few things to note. Stainless steel is hard – harder than aluminum, silver, copper, pewter, brass – all the normal mediums you may be used to working with. So while the stamps can hold up to steel pretty impressively, you may need a little harder strike than for other metals. Combine that with the fact that spoons are not flat… I would not recommend steel spoons for your *very first* project. Fortunately the premium stamps can be used on any type of metal, so if you choose some basic blanks to practice on first, you will have the opportunity to get more comfortable and you can work up to spoons in very little time. I was not good at stamping the first few tries, but I learned a lot along the way that I’m happy to share with you. But in total transparency – do NOT expect the first time you stamp to produce a flawless spoon.
See, when I first started stamping a few years ago, my main worry was missing the stamp and hitting my hand, haha – so it took a few tries to reassure myself that I wasn’t about to crush my left hand with my hammer. (Hey – stranger craft injuries have happened!) One thing that goes a long way toward control is ImpressArt’s specifically designed stamping hammer – the shorter handle makes your aim much more precise. You may certainly use your regular 16 oz. hammer if you’re just getting started and aren’t sure how much you want to invest yet, but I LOVE my stamping hammer and I really recommend it.
Now. Jumping ahead to when you’re all practiced up and ready to rock some spoons. You’re still going to plan out where to stamp, just the same as on a flat piece. I like to mark off a straight line with my masking tape, and note for myself exactly where I want to stamp my letters. You can still use the feel of the edge of your tape to get a straight line.
Different jewelry designers have their own preferred technique, like starting in the center and working outward for even spacing, but I find that my spacing is fine – it’s my vertical alignment I focus most on. So I stamp according to where I’ve marked each letter, and stamp all the letters without descenders first (g, j, p, q, y) by lining them up on the tape. Then, I go back for any letters I skipped over, I run a new piece of tape along the tops of the letters, and use that to line up descending letters.
Now, let me address: what’s with all the tape? You will get your best impressions wherever your spoon is in direct contact with your bench block. So you will need to rotate your spoon around as you stamp so that the portion you are stamping on is the spot where it rests on your block. Later on, with more practice, I might be able to position my spoon, hold my stamp straight AND get a good strike, but this is my first time working on spoons. So I used lots of tape to hold my spoon and I just focused on stamping. :) I also found that the farther I got from the center, the more likely I was to make a mistake: my very first spoon is below. Check out the “s” – my alignment was a little off. But once I knew how it worked, my next spoons went much better!
Finally, I darkened my stamping. I mentioned before, it’s not absolutely necessary. But it does make your message stand out better. I will leave this up to you – but I used a permanent marker (non-toxic, remember), to darken all the way into each of the grooves. Then, using a little bit of rubbing alcohol on a paper towel, I wiped off the excess. Don’t get too much, or you’ll wipe it out of the grooves too – you can always use a polishing cloth to get any last little tiny spots.
Awesome, right? I loved how it turned out so much, I made up a few more!
You can try your hand at stamped spoons for yourself by checking out ImpressArt’s Premium stamps – or, if you are the winner of this great giveaway! Note: The giveaway is now closed. Thanks to everyone who entered!
I want to thank ImpressArt for sponsoring this giveaway, I love having the chance to offer this great set to a lucky reader! Rafflecopter will walk you through how to enter below. The giveaway is open through February 9, 2014 to my US friends (void where prohibited) and the winner will have their choice of either a lowercase or uppercase stamp kit (both are pictured above to show you your options, but please note that you’ll only get one). Good luck – you guys are going to LOVE THESE STAMPS!