I don't think I'm alone in this thought, but I love personalized objects. Take any cool object and add a phrase I love, my husband's or cats' names, a meaningful song lyric—I'm a total sucker for it all. For Valentine's Day this year I got a silver bar necklace with my guy's name engraved, and ever since then I've been dying for more personalized necklaces. That's where the technique of stamping metal comes in! Once you get comfortable with the process, you can make all kinds of personalized projects.
Supplies for double pendant necklace:
-2 bar stamping blanks or circle stamping blanks
-necklace clasp (I used a SpringRing style clasp with eyelets included)
-gold necklace chain (something like this one in whatever thickness you want)
OK. First things first. For the basic stamping process, you'll want to use your masking tape to tape your stamping blank onto your metal bench block. The metal block gives a firm surface behind the blank so your impression will look a lot cleaner (believe me, I tried it on a much softer surface first, and the impression wasn't nearly as defined). Place your tape so that it holds your blank in place and also gives you a guideline to follow for your phrase. If you want another guideline, you can also place a piece of tape across the top of your blank as well, leaving a gap that is just taller than your letters will be.
Choose the metal punch stamps that will make your phrase/name/hashtag, and place them in the correct order in front of you. Make sure they are already turned the right way so you don't get halfway through your phrase and then realize you just stamped the "R" upside down. Totally done that one. I would highly suggest getting a bunch of cheaper blanks to practice on (like these) if you have never stamped before. It took me a while before I got the feel for it, and it helps to have a practice round to test out your phrase and get warmed up before you stamp your item.
Starting with your middle character, hold your stamp in the appropriate place on your blank and use your hammer to do a light tap on the punch stamp, followed by a second firm hit. The first light tap helps you get the feel for where to hit so you can come down much harder on the second hit. Doing more than one big hit may result in getting a second ghost impression if your punch stamp moves at all, but, with a little practice, you should be able to do more than one big hit if you want a deeper impression. I noticed that my particular hitting style tends to leave a lighter impression on lower "limbs" of some of the letters (like on the lower leg of the "R" which makes it look more like a "P"), so on those letters I do one extra hit while I rock my punch stamp slightly towards me to make sure I get the full letter stamped. Once your first character is in place, continue to stamp the letters one at a time on either side until your phrase is complete.
To darken the letters, use a black marker and color over the phrase you just stamped. Put some rubbing alcohol on a soft cloth and wipe over the letters. The marker should be cleaned from the surface but remain in the letters to make the phrase more legible.
Now that you've got the basics down, you can do whatever you want! To make my double bar and double pendant necklaces, I stamped two of the same blanks with related phrases and cut a longer and a shorter length of chain. I used jump rings to attach the blanks to the chain and two more jump rings to attach the two chains to the necklace closure. Since I wanted the necklaces to be one piece with two chains instead of two separate necklaces, I only used one closure per necklace. If you want to keep them separate, just give each one its own closure and you can wear them together as a set or just wear one at a time.
Although you do have to customize your phrase based on how big your stamping blank is (no long, wordy phrases on those tiny bar necklaces, that's for sure!), you can still do anniversary dates, names, initials, or even hashtags for a little bit of fun. The bottom of my round necklace says "ever ours," which is the end of a phrase from a Beethoven love letter that Todd and I have written to each other over the years, and I included our anniversary date above it. And of course, I had to do a cat themed version for the shorter bar necklace with our kitties' initials (Mac & Charlie).
There are so many possiblities with stamping, even outside of jewelry, but this is definitely one idea that makes a great gift for others as well as a gift to yourself. Happy stamping! xo. Laura
Credits // Author: Laura Gummerman, Photography by: Laura Gummerman and Sarah Rhodes. Photos edited using Stella from the Signature Collection.