keychain tut header.fw
Not too long ago, we got in a whole line of metal stamping goodies that I have been itching to play with. The first project I wanted to try my hand at was some simple stamping for a Father’s Day gift. This project is pretty simple to accomplish and I am excited at the possibility of adding metal stamping to future jewelry projects. I’ve separated this tutorial into two parts, first the actual stamping process and second the construction of the key chain.  The key chain can be easily be made with a pre-made charm, if you don’t feel like taking on a whole new craft (but you should because metal stamping is SO MUCH FUN!)

Stamp Set
Bench Block
Black Marker
Rubbing Alcohol
Cotton Pads
Metal Blanks (12MS18-* and 3MS18-* pictured)
9mm Split Ring
24mm Key Ring
Metal Hole Punch
3mm Leather Cord
2-hole End Clamp
Asst. Lg Hole Beads (75FC283, 75FC278, LH3128, PW6098-AG, IN184-13C pictured)
E6000 Adhesive
Split Ring Plier

keychain tut pt 1

1) Decide on what you would like your charm to say. I made one set saying “#1 Dad” and another saying “#1 Grandpa.”
2) Hold your stamp firmly in one hand and hammer with the other.  Be sure to use an even amount of pressure.  Hitting the stamp more than once can cause the stamp to move and you will not get a clear impression.The “#” sign does not come as part of the set so I created my own.  I simply used the “I” (image 2) and stamped it twice vertically and twice horizontally.
3) It is helpful to use a small piece of tape to attach your metal blank to your bench block when stamping.  This will prevent your blank from shifting as you work. (Image 3)
4) After completing your stamping, color in the stamped portion with a black permanent marker. (Image 6 and 7)
5) Using a cotton pad to apply the rubbing alcohol to the blank to remove the excess ink.  As you can see, the ink remains settled in the stamped area, allowing it to stand out and be more visible. (Image 8 and 9)
6) Use a metal hole punch to create a small hole in the top of both metal pieces. (Image 10)
7) Connect the two pieces together with the 9mm split ring. (Image 11)
8) Save your fingernails and use a split ring plier to open up the rings and make it easier to add the charms. (Image 12)

keychain tut pt 2

Steps Continued
9) Cut 15 inches of 3mm leather cording and string your charm onto the center of the cord. (Images 13)
10) Tie an overhand knot, add your beads and tie a second knot to secure them in place. (Image 14)
11) Trim the end to about a half an inch. (Image 15)
12) Add a small amount of glue to the end of the cord. Since key chains tend to take a lot of beatings we want to make it extra secure. (Image 16)
13) Insert the cord ends into the 2-hole clamp. Test the clamp BEFORE you apply the glue.  It the opening is too snug to fit the cord all the way in, use a round nose plier to make the opening wider.  I found that the opening on the silver one was fine, but the gold and copper had to be opened a little more so the cord would fit.  (Image 17)
14) Using a nylon jaw plier, close the end clamp tightly over the cord. (Image 18)
15) Attach a small split ring to the end of the clamp and then attach your key ring.

Some metal stamping tips from a newbie: I have never worked with metal stamps before. And I will admit, I did a couple of test pieces before wokring on this post. It does take a little practice to learn how much pressure to apply. You might not be able to tell from the picture, but I made a little mistake on the first “D” in dad. The first time I stamped it, it came out too light. I tried to go over it a second time, but was unable to get the stamp lined up perfectly. Making the “#” sign took a little trial and error as well. Each time I made it, it came out a little different. I like the way it turned out on the copper one best.

I guess thats part of the charm and character of hand made. It will never turn out the same way twice and it definitely gives it a more personal touch. If you have older kids, this would be a great project to get them involved in.  The younger ones, however, will still require some help.  We wouldn’t want anyone to end up with smashed fingers. It really hurts!! This was a really fun project though and would be really easy to personalize.  You could even make one in Dad’s favorite teams colors!!



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