Wednesday, October 13, 2010

How to Make Your Own Jewelry Stamps

Sometimes commercial stamps just wont cut it...not everyone makes an = sign, a + sign or a simple circle.
That's why this technique can come in handy!
1. Start by procuring a set of steel nails. I bought hardened steel masonry nails. I should have bought longer ones (Mine are a bit short, but work fine).

2. Get a nice hot torch (I'm using a big acetylene torch). Put your nail on a fire safe surface & surround it with a few soldering blocks to keep the heat in. Turn on the torch & heat up the TIP of the nail only. Once it gets red hot, pull away the heat & let the nail cool slowly.

3. Take a jeweler's saw & saw off the tip of the nail to create a flat surface

4. Now plan out your design. I needed an = stamp, so I'm doing a simple bit of lines. Your stamp is only as good as your carving. For the first one, go with something easy- straight lines are super easy, as are basic circles (polish the outer edge then drill out the center). I did a + sign that was VERY hard to cut, but with the right tools in my flexshaft, it was possible.
5. Start by deciding how big your stamps surface should be. I used a file to taper down the head of the nail to be the square size of my final = sign marks. I then sharpied on the top two lines that I wanted to follow
6. Use a jeweler's saw, metal files, flex shaft bits, drill bits..whatever works to carve in your design. As you go, test out the design by stamping it into soft copper to see how it looks

7. Once you've finished carving, heat the tip of the nail back up, but this time once it's nice & glowing hot, QUENCH IN COLD WATER. This will harden it up
8. Now do some final finishing..I like to buff mine with a polishing compound like Zam. This will smooth out any tool marks & make it stamp cleanly. Then start stamping away!

12 comments:

3 squares said...

super helpful! i might just try this. thank you :D

Fluxplay Jewellery. said...

Great tute! I bet lots of people will be pleased to learn this. That's how I make my stamps too...it's very satisfying :-)

Alice Istanbul said...

Amazing. I've always wanted to learn how to make these. It helps so much to have step by step pics. Thanks Rachael!

Riki Schumacher said...

Now that looks like fun! Thanks for the great demo. Riki

Healing Hues Art - positive paintings for healing and meditation. said...

Very cool. In my other ninth life I'd be a metal worker.*sigh* So many cool arts, so few lifetimes. Lol!

Nicolette said...

i can't wait to try this out! a great money saver, thanks!

Copperheart said...

Thanks for the great tutorial! I did this back in college but couldn't remember quite how we did it.

Dale said...

oh wow, what a great demo! I love the idea of making my own metal stamps.

Now if only i had a nice big torch lol :)

Filed away under: to do one day :) (and i really mean it)

Three Birds Jewelry said...

this is so great! i have had other fish to fry and haven't wanted to invest in a stamp set just yet. this should get me by!

Shirlee Grund said...

Great tute. thanks

For an even quicker + sign, I file flat the tip of a philip's head screw driver.

Loose Precious Gemstones said...

Very detail tutorial Rachael! Will try this out later :)

Anonymous said...

If you heat the nail till it's nonmagnetic and then place the nail in some ash, or vermiculite and let it cool slowly the metal will be softer and easier to carve the stamp. Once you've finished the stamp, heat the nail till the shiny area turns a dark straw, about 439 degrees F. then dip the nail in water.

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