Metal Stamping: Creative Mandalas Made with Alphabet Stamps
I’ve been learning so many new metal stamping techniques in Taryn McCabe and Lisa Niven Kelly’s book, New Stamped Metal Jewelry. One technique I’m particularly excited about is mandala stamping.
The book offers up beautiful step-by-step photos for creating a variety of mandalas and shows several design ideas for them, such as creative earrings and bangles. I’ve been eager to set aside some studio time to focus on learning this particular technique. Now, I don’t have quite the range of design stamps at my disposal as Taryn and Lisa do. (Confession: I actually don’t have any design stamps other than two basic alphabet sets.) But I’m not about to let that stop my creativity, because another key technique taught in the book is learning to look at your design stamps in new ways. So I decided to take on the personal challenge of mandala stamping with just alphabet stamps.
For my mandala stamping I started with a 1″ (2.5cm) 24g copper disc, the letters O, X, and V, and the period stamp. Working on my bench block and pad, I found the center of my disc and began stamping from the outside in towards the center.
I first stamped 4 Os, one at each end of my marked lines. Then stamped Xs in a semicircle around the O. With a permanent marker, I darkened in the impressions then polished the surface of my disc to reveal the design.
I continued building the motif adding a third row to the border design using the O again. Then, as I did in the round before, I darkened the impression to reveal the design. I found doing that at the end of each step really helped me visualize what I wanted to add next.
For the final step, I filled the center of the mandala by stamping the letter V, a few more letter O stamps, and dots using the period stamp. From start to finish the stamping took just 10 minutes and required almost no clean up.
Mandala Metal Stamping Variations
After I finished my first mandala, I experimented with a few variations. In one sample I created an entire border with the letter O and in another I worked from the center out stamping a square effect. Clearly, I need more practice! But I’m officially hooked and excited to have this new technique to play with.
Design Ideas for Mandalas
The easiest way to convert this mandala into a finished piece of jewelry would be to punch a hole along the edge, add a jump ring, and slide it onto a length of chain. As a simple pendant, it would be a striking piece to wear, but if you’re looking for something beyond the basics, here are a few more ideas for what you can do with your mandala stamping:
- Create a bezel for a faceted stone
- Embellish with a wire wrapped ring band
- Cut in half and thread with chain
- Add additional mandalas for tiered earrings
For complete instructions for these and many other stamped metal jewelry projects, pick up a copy of New Stamped Metal Jewelry today! Share your mandala stamping projects on social media with #mandalastamping. We’re looking forward to seeing the creative designs you stamp.
Editorial Director, Books
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