Last week I experimented with an idea I’d had. I have several sets of alphabet stamps for stamping on metal, and when I’m working on a project, I’m always having to stamp out on a scrap piece of metal because I don’t remember exactly what the font looks like.
I’ve done a few classes in stamping, and we run into the same problem. Students can’t really tell what it’s going to look like because it’s kind of hard to imagine what this will look like when it’s stamped into metal.
I thought back to when I was a kid, and learning to cross-stitch. We’d made “samplers” (I’m sure they came from a kit) that were based on early American (think pioneers!) samplers. I did some quick Googling and found a number of patterns that gave me some ideas.
Of course, this was WAY more complicated than I wanted to create with my little metal stamps, but I figured the concept would work nicely. I still have a boatload of copper tiles from Mom & Dad’s old kitchen, and I thought they would be perfect for making a little copper sampler using my letter stamps.
The tiles are a little over 4″ square, and unfortunately, covered in some kind of sealant. They also have some glue on the back. I’ve found the easiest and fastest way to remove the layer of sealer and glue are to torch them. It smells terrible, and I’m sure it’s not the best thing to breathe in, so I try not to do too many of them at a time. For this project, I decided to just clean up a few tiles.
After torching, the tiles get cleaned up a little in some pickle and then get quenched. One of the good things about running the torch on them to clean them up is that they are annealed – this means that the metal is nice and soft, and is easier to stamp.
I worked out my first design, bordering the tile with 4 different fonts and “cross-stitching” in the center. Not sure if I like that bit in the center or not, but that’s what experimentation is for!
The second tile I tried, I was happier with. I used all of the different fonts that I have and a few more of the design stamps to create borders. The only thing is…I messed up! One of the alphabets is out of order, and I’m missing an “S” in “the quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog” because it should be jumps, not jumped! I guess I could just make the “dog” plural, lol.
The last thing I wanted to do was to display them nicely. I stopped at the Salvation Army on my way home one day, and found two square frames for .99 each. What a bargain! I think they turned out pretty nicely, even with the mistakes.
I’ll continue to play around with these…maybe even offer up a class to make your own “sampler”. It was a lot of fun, and I got to play with fire, hammers, and metal. Lots of my favorite things.