(originally published on my PNN page)
My latest addiction - once I learned how to make my own hand stamped sterling silvery jewelry (so easy!) I knew I had to share it with the world. One thing I learned while trying to find information on this craft was that it is hard to find information about it! :) This tutorial will outline the basic tools you need, and help you get started with how to use your tools.
You will need a mallet (or some people prefer to use a regular hammer), steel bench block, 600 grit sandpaper, polishing pads, design stamp (I use a snowflake stamp in this tutorial), black permanent marker (for the oxidizing look), 1/2 inch 24 gauge sterling silver disc, 1.7mm hole punch pliers, a sterling silver jump ring (sizes vary, use the size that you like best) and a necklace chain (I am using an 18" 1.2mm sterling silver ball chain.
Okay, after seeing that list, you should be getting the idea that this is not an inexpensive hobby/craft. It will take a little investment in the beginning, but it will pay off when you are creating beautiful pendants that people charge a lot of money for.
Okay- let's get started!
Step 1: Start by placing your sterling silver disc on the steel bench block. Place your design stamp carefully in the desired place on the disk. For this small pendant, I'll place the design slightly below the middle of the disc, so that when the hole is punch on the top, it still looks centered.
Step 2: Firmly hit your mallet against the design stamp several times, to ensure your design has been stamped into the sterling silver disc. You want to make sure you get it right the first time - otherwise, it would be difficult to place it perfectly back on top of the design to stamp it again.
Step 3: Using your hole punch pliers, place your disc in the hole punch, lining the disc up so that the hole will be place properly. Squeeze the punch tightly - if you don't do this correctly, you could end up damaging the disc, and you'll want to start all over again.
Step 4: This is the step that makes your design image pop off of the disc - to give your silver the "oxidized" look, we're going to cheat a little by using a black permanent marker to mark in the grooves of the design. When you are done, it will look something like the picture at right.
Step 5: Use the fine grit sandpaper to smooth off all edges of the disc, and then follow it up with the polishing pad. As you work the polishing pad over the design area, it will polish off the excess black marker, leaving your disc beautifully polished and your design will stand out on the disc.
Step 6: Add your jump ring and necklace chain (or you could make several of these and add them to a charm bracelet), and you are finished! Here is an up-close picture of my finished product. This particular sized disc also works well for single letter.
What do you think of this tutorial? Was it easy to follow? I love getting feedback, so please feel free to comment!