I’m from a family of makers. When we get together for the holidays, we either share and show what we’ve been making, talk about what’s up next to make, or teach the group something new. This year, I’ll be carrying metal stamping tools and jewelry-making supplies along with me. Swinging a hammer and creating an ornament, bracelet, or pendant seems like a fun way to spend some time together. I’m happy to share my plan in case it works for your next family get together, too.
Above: Say It Like You Mean It bracelet project by Aisha Formanski
What I’ll Take Along
- Bench blocks
- Rubber blocks
- Metal stamps
- Metal blanks
- Samples for inspiration
Without Taking Over, Take Over
You want to work on a table that is solid and sits on a solid surface (basement floors are ideal!). This set up will help the hammer do the work as intended and helps you from interfering with the rest of the house. You will be making some noise and if the table is bouncy or not on a solid floor, everyone will know what you’re up to. Placing sandbags and rubber blocks under the steel bench block will also help with all of the above.
If you’re sharing your tools and materials, my suggestion is to get enough blanks to suit a wide variety of people without going so far as to make it hard for anyone to make a choice. Bracelet blanks can double as drink stirrers. Dog tags can double as a pendant or a dog tag! I’m sure you get the point. Spread out all you brought and enjoy seeing your family make their choices.
Free Project: Metal-Stamped “Grandma” Bracelet
Fonts & Symbols
It’s hard to resist the new font releases different companies put forward and, for me, it’s really, really hard to not want to buy every single shape and design stamp made by talented stamp makers, like Danny Wade. It’s SO fun to share my collection with friends and family and see the tools put to good use. If you sell your work, this is also a great way to see what resonates with people and gather ideas for new ways to use your tools and materials.
Related: 6 Tips to Align Metal Stamps
Once everyone has made a design, it’s time to help them finish off their creations. Drink stirrers are easy—stamp a bracelet blank then add a patina to highlight the design. Bracelets can be stamped then easily formed with a bracelet bender or mallet and bracelet mandrel. Ornaments need a simple hook and patina for increasing their wow factor. A pendant can be strung with a Lark’s head knot made using leather or cotton cording. Of course, you can take these designs even further and finish with chain maille, wire wrapping, or even adding crystals for some sparkle.
Related: How to Create Colorful Patinas on Metal Jewelry
The most important part of this whole thing is to enjoy doing something fun with your family, helping them learn something new while sharing your passion, and simply enjoying the time together.