How to Make a Stamped ID Bracelet

comments (14) October 12th, 2009     

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Jen_W Jennifer Worick, contributor
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Choose a message, and design a one-of-a-kind inspirational message for a loved one.
A stamp set and a hammer offer all sorts of possibilities.
A bench block or anvil is a perfect surface for stamping or hammering silver.
Stamping in progress.
When you are done stamping, use horse cutters to trim off excess rectangle wire.
Center your stamped bar under the bit before twisting.
A metal file will smooth the cut edges.
Dab liver of sulphur on the letters and allow to dry. This darkens the letters for better legibility.
Lightly rubbing steel wool over the bar will brighten the silver while leaving the letters darkened.
I like stamping bracelets with favorite song lyrics, from 32 flavors and then some (Ani DiFranco) to I just want to live while Im alive (Bon Jovi).
Choose a message, and design a one-of-a-kind inspirational message for a loved one.

Choose a message, and design a one-of-a-kind inspirational message for a loved one.

Photo: Jennifer Worick

I love anything with type on it. Being a writer, I guess that's not a shocker. When I learned how to make stamped jewelry, I was able to bring together my love of wordplay, crafts, and jewelry. For breast cancer awareness month, I thought I'd make my mother, a breast-cancer survivor herself, a little reminder to remain the bawdy and vibrant gal I'd like to think I take after.

You'll need:

  • approximately 2 inches sterling silver rectangle wire
  • 1/16-inch letter and number stamp set
  • bench block or anvil
  • hammer
  • horse cutters
  • 2-bit metal hole punch
  • metal file
  • liver of sulphur
  • bowl
  • cold water
  • cotton swab
  • steel wool
  • chain-nose pliers
  • three 6mm heavy jump rings
  • small toggle clasp
  • 5–6 inches sterling chain
  • pink ribbon sterling charm

Step 1: Plan your message for the bracelet. I chose "LIVE OUT LOUD." Count all the characters, including spaces; I came up with 13 for mine. For the purpose of the ID bracelet, it's good to keep your message short since you are creating a bar that will be attached to chain. Starting 1/4 inch from the edge of your rectangle wire (flat sterling wire), start stamping. I've inadvertently stamped letters sideways or upside down, so it's important to pay attention to the direction of the stamp. Most stamp sets have a groove in them to let you know which way is down (the groove on my set indicates the bottom of the letter). Position the stamp in the middle of the wire and with one good whack of your hammer, hammer the letter into the wire. Try to hammer straight down, not at an angle. Place your next letter close to the first and repeat the process. Work your way across the wire, making sure to leave a space between words.

Step 2: When you are done stamping, it's time to cut your wire. Cut off excess wire, leaving the same 1/4-inch space as you have on the other end. This is thick wire, so I recommend using horse cutters, which will cut right through the silver. Place one end of the stamped bar under the bigger hole of the metal hole punch. Slowly twist the bit until it punches through the wire. Slowly untwist the bit. Do not try to pull the bar off the bit; the bit could break. With a metal file, file the rough edges of the bar until the ends are rounded and smooth.

Step 3: Grab the bottle of liver of sulphur, a less-toxic version of Silver Black. Fill a bowl with 1 cup of cold water and 1 tablespoon of liver of sulphur. It will smell like rotten eggs, let me warn you, but what price beauty, am I right? Swab the solution over the letters. Let it really get into the nooks and crannies of the letters. Wait for the solution to dry on your stamped silver bar. When completely dry, lightly polish the surface with steel wool. This will shine the surface and make the now-darkened letters really pop.

Step 4: Attach the rest of the bracelet. Think about the recipient. Is she smaller or bigger boned? With chain-nosed pliers, twist open a jump ring, and slip on the hoop component of a toggle clasp. Also slip the jump ring through one hole of the stamped bar and twist closed. Twist open another jump ring, slip it through the other hole on the bar and through the end link of your chain. Wrap the chain around your wrist and eyeball the length, keeping in mind that you will be adding the toggle clasp and a jump ring to the end of your chain. Chain length will vary based on the length of your stamped bar and clasp and wrist size. For my bracelet, I needed 4-3/4 inches of chain to finish the bracelet. Clip off the excess chain. Twist open a jump ring, and slip through the last link of the chain and the loop of your bar toggle component. Twist the jump ring closed. Now just drape the bracelet around the wrist of a loved one and secure with the toggle clasp.

Live (and craft) out loud!

Note: Most of my supplies came from Fusion Beads.

In the future, you can find me at my website or blogs, Things I Want to Punch in the Face and Prairie Tales. My new book, Backcountry Betty: Crafting with Style, is in stores now.

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posted in: Jewelry, bracelet, make it pink, Breast Cancer, silver stamping

Comments (14)

Nodan writes: Your bracelet is so cute, but I think I can't have a try, because I don't have the tools I need,what a pity!
Posted: 2:31 am on March 6th
disneygirl writes: I live in Shoreline and would love to learn how to make this bracelet. Do you teach classes or will you teach me? Thanks!

Tami Hanson
[email protected]
Posted: 7:24 pm on February 14th
Jess_daisy08 writes: I want to make one of these bracletes but I dont know where to get the supplies?
Posted: 10:54 pm on June 4th
RelicaJewelry writes: Jennifer, I love this tutorial. Not the usual fluff. It's the 2 bit punch that I'm stuck on.... Have to figure out if it's something you just hit with a hammer or if it's a drill bit./// FYI wire sources: Check out Rio Grande (I think you have to have a tax i.d. for that one, not sure) for rectangle wire. Or maybe Fire Mountain Gems or Jewelry Supply. They used to have. If not, just google 'Sterling wire supplies' or a similar search and you should get some supplier listings. My experience with Rio couldn't be better - and Fire Mountain as well.

Best of luck to everybody and thanks so much for this amazing tutorial. Oh, and come check out my vintage brass i.d. bracelet DeStaSh, esp. the hinged bracelet. Would be cool bases for stamped metal, if the brass is soft enough to punch. Have to go experiment. Maybe I should horde the bracelets and stamp them myself... Good luck everyone!!!

Jane RelicaJewelry
Posted: 11:58 am on March 30th
Jen_W writes: The rectangle wire comes flat and I've found it in two different widths but there may be more options.
Posted: 10:19 pm on January 2nd
blingslinger writes: Jennifer--I love your bracelet. I have never worked with rectangle wire before. Do you hammer it flat before you begin stamping? What gage did you use? I have some stamps--hope I can do something as cute as you! Thanks-a-bunch, blingslinger
Posted: 9:11 am on November 10th
loveMaegan writes: so great.
Posted: 4:09 pm on October 12th
NanaDaw writes: Thank You, this looks like something I would really enjoy making and giving as gifts.
Posted: 6:00 pm on October 16th
Jen_W writes: They sell rectangle wire in the store of Fusion Beads in Seattle. I don't think they sell it online. However, I do think they have it at Jewelry Resource & Supply:
Posted: 4:40 pm on October 16th
NanaDaw writes: Where did you buy your silver rectangle wire?
Posted: 3:59 pm on October 16th
Cheekyattitude writes: Fantastic! Thanks so much for the tutorial.
Posted: 12:59 pm on October 14th
sigridsoto writes: Thank you for creative idea
Posted: 3:02 am on October 12th
fashionista29 writes: I saw these stamp sets at Harbor Freight for $20 and wondered how I might use them. Now I know! Thanks!
Posted: 10:59 am on October 11th
Belladatura writes: Super cute! I love that you can make this really personal and it isn't another cheezy, token pink thing. Yay for stylish crafts (and crafters)!
Posted: 1:24 pm on October 6th
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