The idea for this necklace woke me from a dead sleep the other night at about 2 in the morning.  I’ve been wracking my brain to come up with a way to use the 3×3 inch metal blank from Vintaj and boom. There it was when I was least expecting it.  This necklace is intended to be a Mother’s Day gift for my own mom, so I really hope she’s not reading this post right now.  Anyway, I wanted something that represented each of her four children but didn’t look like your typical Mother’s jewelry.  I’m pretty happy with the finished result and I hope she likes it too!

Because this pendant is hand cut and formed, a lot of tools are required.  A similar style can be achieved with a pre-made metal blank.  The finished piece will be just as personal, and you won’t have to invest in a bunch of specialty tools.  Lucky for me, I have a bead store’s worth of tools to choose from.  And speaking of tools, the Lindstom shears easily cut through the brass.  I am also really liking the new hammer I used for the stamping.  It’s nice and heavy and really works nicely to get clear, crisp impression with the stamps.  The file set used has 10 different files in it all of different shapes and sizes.  This allows you to really get into all of the corners when smoothing out your piece.

Vintaj Metal Blank – VJ4000-3×3
Metal Stamps – MS17-B4
Ruler – FI492
Lindstrom Shears – FI4006-LS
Metal Files – FI501
Hammer – MS153-BS
Ring Clamp – MS55
Bench Block – MS147-L
Metal Hole Punch – FI458-M1
Vintaj Reliefing Block – VJ9000
Rubbing Alcohol
Cotton Ball/Pad
Scotch Tape


Steps – How to Make the Pendant:
1) Decide on the size of your pendant. I made mine 1 inch wide to accommodate 4 birth dates. Mark your metal blank with a Sharpie.  (Image 1)
2) Mark the center of your pendant and draw lines from the corners to the center as shown. (Images 2-3)
3) Cut the metal shape out with your shears being very careful of the sharp edges.  (Images 4-5)
4) The pennant shape was a little long, so I trimmed about 3/4 of an inch off the straight end.  (Image 6)
5) Secure your pennant into the ring clamp.  You do not need to have this tool, but I found holding the pennant in the vice and filing was a lot easier than holding in it my hands.  It also keeps the sharp edges away from your fingers. (Image 7)
6) File down all the sharp edges, adjusting the piece in the clamp as needed.  Remember when you are filing, push the file against the metal away from you.  To preserve the life of your tool, be sure not to “saw” your piece.  (Image 8)
7) Continue filing until the edge of the pendant is no longer sharp. (Image 9)
8) Place your piece onto your bench block and lightly hammer the edge only with the round end of the hammer to create texture.  (Image 10)
9) Use your reliefing block to polish the metal.  (Image 11)
10) The texture on the edges will be much more visible after polishing. (Image 12)

Steps – Stamping the Birth Dates:
11) Tape your pennant to the bench block to secure it while stamping by taping down each end. (Image 13)
12) Place another piece of tape lengthwise prior to stamping to ensure your number are straight.  Hold your stamp against the metal and hammer solidly to create a uniform impression. (Image 14-15)
13) I did not have a stamp to create the “period” in between the numbers of the date so I used one of the pointed heads on this hammer by using it like a stamp.  (Image 16) You can also create the “periods” with your metal hole punch.  Lightly make an impression with your tool without punching all the way through the metal. Rotate the tool and press a second time.
14) Move the tape (lengthwise) for each line to make sure they are straight.
15) After stamping all of the dates, turn the piece over and flatten it with the flat side of the hammer.  It will become a little warped when you are stamping it. (Image 17)
16) Use a Sharpie to color in the stamped sections. (Images 19-20)
17) Apply rubbing alcohol to the cotton ball and rub onto the metal piece to remove the excess markings.  (Image 21)
18) Lightly polish the surface with the reliefing block. (Image 22)
19) Punch holes in either corner of the pennant with your hole punch. (Image 23)
20) File down the burrs on the backside of the pendant if necessary.
21) Now your pendant is ready to add to a piece of jewelry. (Image 24)
Here is the finished piece I made.  The turquoise rounds, once of Decembers three birthstones, represents me.  I am the oldest, therefore there are more turquoise rounds on the necklace than anything else.  My brother, April birthday, has three crystals since he is the next oldest.  My two little sisters are represented with their birthstones hanging with a little bird charm, since they are still living at home and are still “in the nest.”  The finished necklace measures about 34 inches.   Find information about birthstones here.
If your mom is not a fan of jewelry, try using the pennant piece as a key chain.  Instead of punching a hole in each corner of the piece, punch one hole in the center.  Then finish up your key chain as shown in this blog post.  You could also stamp an inspirational quote or message instead of birth dates!
Here is a list of the products I used in the finished necklace: 88CX2858, VJ101-1, VJ130-475, VJ100-3, VJ4000-3×3, VJ131-7, VJ230-12, VJ1115-W, 45CR245, 57CT282, 7CR212, 4CR685, 45CX0858.

Are you making jewelry for your mom this Mother’s Day?  Please share it with us on Facebook or Instagram using the hashtag #ShipwreckBeads!


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