Stamped sterling silver charms are very popular. Stamped silver charms are worn alone as pendants or incorporated as components to customise bracelets, necklaces, belt and watch chains. You can make your own sterling silver stamped charms with the message or design of your choice using a hammer and decorative steel stamps.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Jewellery saw & blade
- Needle file
- Drill press & 1.8mm drill bit
- Wet/dry sandpaper (220, 400, 600, 800 & 1200-grits)
- Warm acid pickle bath
- Steel block or anvil
- Magic marker
Sketch the design for your stamped silver charms. Decide what shape charm you want to stamp and what type of design you want to stamp on your sterling silver charm. Explore how the shape of the sterling silver charm and the design interrelate.
Purchase or make your sterling silver blank. To make the blank, use a jewellery saw to cut out the shape of your charm from a piece of 18-gauge sterling silver sheet metal. Use a drill press and 1.8mm drill bit to drill a hole in the top of the charm. The hole you drill should be large enough to accommodate a jump ring. File the edges of the charm with a needle file until the edges are smooth. Use 220-grit wet/dry sandpaper to sand away tool marks from sawing, drilling and filing the blank sterling silver charm. Switch to increasingly higher grits of sandpaper (400, 600, 800 and 1200-grit) until the charm is polished. Heat the finished charm with torch so that the sterling silver charm is dead-soft and easily hammered. Dip the annealed sterling silver charm in a warm acid pickle bath to remove any fire-scale caused when annealing, if needed.
Measure the blank with a ruler to be sure your stamped design will fit on the blank sterling silver charm.
Find the centre of your stamped design. Mark the centre of the sterling silver charm with a permanent magic marker. Mark the beginning and end of your stamped design on the sterling silver charm.
Place the sterling silver blank on a steel block.
Use a hammer and your steel stamps to stamp the design. Strike the steel stamp firmly with the hammer on the annealed blank. Repeat with the next steel stamp until the design is complete. Work from left to right. Be sure the centre of your stamped design is in the marked centre as you work.
Tips and warnings
- You can use any hammer to stamp sterling silver charms but a brass hammer will work best. There are many, many shapes of annealed sterling silver charms sold on the market. You need not make a sterling silver blank to make a custom stamped sterling silver charm. You can purchase blank sterling silver charms in many styles and gauges designed expressly for stamping in local bead shops, Internet based bead suppliers, many craft stores and most jewellery supply houses.
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