Today’s 10-minute jewelry project is sponsored by ImpressArt.
Happy Friday and happy May! I don’t know where April went, but hey – we roll with it, right? I’ve got some fun new products to show you from ImpressArt‘s new line, and it’s the perfect project for jewelry enthusiasts who haven’t made the leap into metal stamping to get on it already. Haha. (Seriously – join me in this addiction. Hammering pieces into your own creations? It’s the best!) If you’ve wondered just how to make metal cuffs, you’re going to love this video tutorial I put together for you guys today!
I made up this dragonfly-themed cuff bracelet with a few design stamps and ImpressArt’s new heavy-gauge bracelet blanks and bracelet bending bar. The new products make up a beautifully thick cuff bracelet that does not have that “handmade” feel at all. The bar is really easy to use, but if you haven’t seen it in action, you need to! Explaining how to use it is actually more difficult than actually using it, so I thought today would be a great day to show you just how simply it works.
You’ll need basic metal stamping supplies for today’s project, but if you’re on the fence about investing in an alphabet stamp set, you can pick out a favorite design or two to get your feet wet today. I’ll be showing-and-telling some tips for metal stamping in today’s post, but if you find yourself wanting more info or more detail, I’ve got a comprehensive post on metal stamping in my beginner’s metal stamping tutorial, so be sure to visit that post if you still have questions after reading today’s DIY project.
Here’s what I used to make this dragonfly cuff:
- Steel bench block and stamping hammer
- ImpressArt 5/8 x 6 inch 14-gauge aluminum bracelet blanks
- ImpressArt bracelet bending bar
- Stamp straight tape
- Permanent marker and polishing cloth (or polishing pad)
- 6mm dragonfly stamp
- 6mm whimsy flower stamp
- 3mm whimsy flower stamp
All-over random designs like this are great for beginners because getting your spacing “just so” or making sure your letters and words are aligned perfectly isn’t an issue at all. In fact, it’s actually better to stamp at odd angles and in different directions with patterns like this. I started with the dragonfly stamp, to make sure I had plenty of them. Then I filled in large gaps with the large floral stamp, and then smaller gaps with the smaller stamp.
Design stamps can be tricky when you’re first getting started, but I have a few tips for you:
- Hold your stamp straight – don’t tip it side to side. You’ll get a feel for when you have it level with the metal.
- Strike it once with your hammer. Large stamps need more force than small stamps.
- Start with softer metals, like aluminum or pewter. They take an impression much more easily than brass or copper.
- Practice. Practice. Practice. And don’t beat yourself up if it’s not perfect, just embrace it. Stamping metal is a LOT of fun, but perfection will come from patience and experience more than anything else.
I darkened my impressions with permanent marker (as evidenced by my dirty hands on video, haha) but you can also use acrylic paint or gilder’s paste – especially on larger surfaces like bracelets. You can’t oxidize aluminum, so liver of sulfur isn’t an option, but the good thing about aluminum is that most people who have allergic reactions to metal tolerate aluminum quite well, so more people can typically wear it.
This video will share more detail about all the steps, including how to use the bracelet bending bar (if you’re well-versed in stamping but just want to see the bar, you can forward to about 4:25 to see just that part).
I am LOVING the new thicker 14-gauge blanks with their rounded edges and heavy feel, and I’d be proud to give these new cuffs as a quality, personalized gift. I used a random pattern today, but the cuffs come in all different widths so you can fit names, dates, even your personal mantra on there!
Thanks for joining me today and I hope you all have a great weekend!