Coffee and the Universe have conspired to have me make a hand stamped spinner ring, photograph it one handed and somehow have it make sense. I hope it helps you in your journey of hand stamping 🙂
Here in this blog post, I’m making a spinner for a spinner ring. I’m focusing on the stamping, not so much the ring making, although the fitting of the spinner to the main ring is a big part of it.
It’s important to have the spinner fit inside the width of the ring, so that it spins. If it’s too wide, the spinner won’t spin, and that’s no fun.
My customer wanted a 1/2″ wide spinner but also wanted it kicked down a notch or five in width, so I have to make the spinner a custom fit or it won’t work.
Here we go!
First, I measure my ring blank from raw copper sheet, using my tools. I love tools 🙂 I score the line slightly and mark each end with a sharpie, (that’s my cutting line with my guillotine shear later when I make the ring)
My usual spinners fit inside the width of the main ring, but there’s no way this will spin once it’s been flared, so …away we go to custom made! It’s way too wide, see?
Using my dividers, I make the spinner the appropriate width. I know I have to hand stamp it, so I calculate that in. It’s all by eyesight at this point, as I’ve been doing this a few years 🙂
In this layout, you can see where I’ve done the calculations on how wide it needs to be and taped the outside of the cut line just a smidge. I stamp first and cut later. If I cut first and stamp later, then the stamping curls the metal and …more work for me to flatten it again.
This is what works for me, stamp first…cut later. I use painters tape and electrical tape. They’re both abundant at yard sales and the electrical tape has enough of a raised edge so that I can gently move the edge of the stamp and use it as a guide. Why gently? Scratches in the metal = more work. An old goldsmith once told me “Linda, the best way to get scratches out is to not put them there in the first place.” Sage advice!
I try to keep the tape as close as I can to the score line I made with my dividers. I know I have a tiny bit of wiggle room. Stamping moves metal so I tape it all down, I may have to move it more later.
These are some of my stamps! I love stamps and am always looking for more. You can see some hand made stamps (awesomesauce!!) in my collection. My favorite so far is the tiny bird. Made by York Avenue Studios on Etsy. I’ll be using those and pine trees to make my Oregon necklaces. Because…TREES! 🙂
Here’s Kathy’s studio on Etsy 🙂 York Avenue Studio
I love the stickers, they’re so quirky and fun!
A little about my stamps. I’m really scatterbrained. I have A.D.D. (bright shiny things) and a photographic (sort of) memory. Being super visual, both of these work in my favor (most of the time!)
If things are organized and stay in the same place (and if I put them back right away) then I save tons of time and energy and my work space is …well, it just works for me.
I found these tiny little drawer organizers at Rite Aid several years ago and my stamps fit in there. If they’re too big, then I make a 2nd drawer. All of my other stamps go into a McGyvered stamping holder thingy. I’m hoping to have one made professionally one day but, til then, this is what we have!
I stamped an “abc” on tiny copper tiles and numbered them to match the sample sheet I take to shows and have as a reference. I try to get and STAY organized. 😛 Some days it’s like herding cats!
I also measured each font and each design stamp so I can tell instantly using my calipers if it will fit on the custom spinner or whatever I’m working on.
It took a lot of time to do this sample sheet and by the time I was done, I was irritated. My patience was very thin and I had to still clean it and fill in all the freaking stamped parts…But I’m glad I did this because now, HUGE time saver for me. Time is money…and money means coffee, right? 😉
I made a huge sample piece of copper sheet and stamped all of my letters. After stamping them, I made “I am enough” stamped samples so I can show people what the font looks like with “I am enough” since that is the most ordered item in my shop.
Most artists are visual, so, in it makes sense to me that my stamps have some kind of marking on them to show me where my thumb goes and where the location of “top” of the letter is.
One thing I’ve done is …on all 4 sides of my stamp, I have taken a word and corresponded that word to the letter of the stamp. Here’s my list and WHY I chose that word. Oh wait, I digress…
Speaking of words, you guys know I love the Four Agreements. So I love the one agreement that says “Be impeccable with your word” ~ words are powerful.
Some people read daily devotionals, I have my little daily devotionals right in my studio, where I can see them every day.
Each letter has a meaning and I’ve tried to be creative and fun at the same time. I’ve tried to be consistent but some days are better than others. It’s just easy for me to reach for the word than the letter of each stamp. After a few years of reaching, it became obvious to me that I needed to drop what worked for everyone else and be true to my own brain. Some words have more meaning than others.
A- always stands for “Ass” – as in “Don’t be one” and a smartass reminder to be kind
B- usually is “Boy” ~ easy to remember 🙂
E- Ego ~ this one is a huge reminder to stay humble
F- Fear (face everything and rise)
G- God or girl
H- Halt – For “am I taking care of me today?” (Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired)
I – ignore ~ ignore negative thoughts and people… or “Ice”
L – Love…because…LOVE!
M- Marry (this always makes me think of my handsome groom of 18 years!)
N-No or Nope (don’t be in a rush, slow down, breathe)
P- Play~ because…life is too short to not play!
Q- Queen (umm…because I am?)
R- Run (usually)
S- Stop (stretch my neck, get up and stretch, pay attention to my body mechanics)
T- Tool (because, TOOLS HELLOOOO)
U- Up (look up, ease eye strain and neck/arm stretches)
V – Vote (I don’t know why but I usually VOTE to have a sip of coffee haha)
W – Worry (sometimes confused with “marry” but pffft whatever)
X – just usually stays “X” or “x-ray”
Y- Yep (it’s a good day, yep!)
Z- Zebra or Zee
You can make your own words or just use the letters. I also put a tiny bit of color on the top of the stamp so I know which way to orient them to the top so I’m not stamping upside down (don’t ask how many times THAT happened!) There’s some that I have really screwed up and need to fix. They’re not all this crazy. This is an early font set so it’s pretty messy. I refined my later stamps 🙂
I lay the stamps out in the order I’ll use them and no, I’m normally not THIS organized but it’s a blog, right? 😉
Because my spinner is so much thinner, I have to use my calipers to see which font will fit on the tiny width and these fit pretty good. As does the heart my customer chose 🙂
I lay out my tape and get to work. I make sure my tape is straight all the way across.
Using the tape as the guide to where the bottom of my stamp should rest. Going easy on the metal, buffing out takes time and time is money! Here’s my letter “i”
Because I was taking pics for the blog post, I was distracted (SURPRISE!) and screwed up a cardinal rule about the lowercase letter “G”
Let me tell you about letter “g” …if you’re a serious person, letter “g” will give you the worst lemon sucking expression you have ever had. Stamp the letter “g” wrong and you have ruined the piece. I hate the letter “g” because she’s such a princess!
The letter “G” gets thrown across the room more than my hammers!
Letter “G” is a royal pain in the ass. There’s a tail that the letter “g” has that goes below the tape edge and if you don’t get that just right, cussing will probably ensue (another reason I don’t cut my metal before I stamp, what a waste!)
Grrrrr I hate it when this happens so take it from me, keep a scrap on your bench block and repeat after me “this is the letter “g” and she needs some special attention.”
Optivisors help in this instance and it’s worth the extra time to get it right.
Since I screwed up that piece I’m going to show you a tip I learned the hard way.
I laid out my copper scrap, taped it and here’s a letter “g” before I marked it up on the sides.
You can see where I stamp it, that it’s above the line. I can sight it by eye to make it hit the line but that takes time and bends my neck weird, so I made the lines on the bottom part of the letter “g” …so that the letter is balanced.
Does that make sense?
I made a line on my stamp, then lined it up with the tape so that it will be even with the rest of the words I’m stamping.
Otherwise it will be like the red headed step child at the family reunion…just a tad out of place.
Practice makes perfect <snickersnort> or as good as we’re gonna get.
Good thing hand made has the charm of being imperfect!
Before and after, I had to put the camera down and get serious!
Off to the buffer to remove all the marks and measure it for trimming, or, as precise as I can get.
Usually I can tell if I have to re-do any letters after I’m done buffing and now is the time I’d re-stamp if I didn’t get any letters deep enough. Sometimes I get carried away with buffing and remove too much metal!
Trimming it with my guillotine shear (4″ Pepe guillotine shear) I removed the plate on my shear and have it totally bare bones so it fits on the top of my jewelers bench. I line the left dot with the right dot and get it as straight as I can. If it’s not 100% straight, I can fix that later, after I form the ring.
Trimmed. Not perfect, but less sanding will be needed. I LOVE my Pepe shear. I can see a bit of a dent under my heart. I’ll buff that out and fix it in a bit. PS~ when using a shear, a quick hard cut makes the edge flat. If you go slow, it will make a tapered cut.
The finished product! I added some hammer texture to both rings and showed this pic to my customer. She wanted it antiqued, but after seeing the “matte and naked” look…decided to go with this look. I managed to buff out the tiny dent using the buffer and made the edges of both rings smooth so they don’t cut into her fingers when she closes her hand.
I still have to flare these but you can see all the rings I’ve made here in my Etsy shop! LindaboBinda’s Etsy shop
or on my Facebook page LindaBoBinda’s Designs Facebook page
and I’d LOVE it if you could follow my antics on Instagram LindaBoBinda’s Designs in Oregon
Have fun hand stamping!