Stamping Metal Designs: Stamp a Flower Ring with New Plaque-Shaped Blanks

Inspired by the stamped metal, bicolor Vermillion Ring in Aisha Formanski's book New Directions in Punched Metal Jewelry (below) and the metal stamping plaques from Beaducation, I stamped a ring with a decorative floral design using just the exclamation point, the letter o (or a circle or dot stamp), the dash, and the asterisk. The plaque blanks have such nice shapes, making them ideal to stamp and stack into pretty layered designs on cuffs or pendants, too. My large brass plaque blank wanted to be a cigar band-style ring.

how to make a metal stamped punched metal ring by Aisha Formanski

Aisha Formanski’s Vermilion ring

I soldered my ring but you can also rivet it like Aisha did–or use the cold connection of your choice. The plaque shapes are detailed and pretty enough to be left alone, too, creating an open adjustable ring band. There are endless ways to personalize this and make it your own, of course–but here's how I made mine.

metal stamped punched metal cigar-band style ring

Materials

Impress Art "Newsprint" metal stamp set
Beaducation plaque stamping blanks *
brass hammer
ring mandrel **
rubber mallet
steel block
sandpaper
pickle pot
soldering setup (or cold connections of your choice)
torch
hot tools (pliers)
optional: steel wool, Sharpie marker, clear nail polish or other sealant 

* The plaque blanks are available in a few shapes and sizes, in brass, copper, sterling silver and silver filled. Note that a ring this wide will need to be at least a size or two larger than your regular ring size.

** I sometimes use the barrel of one of the daps from my dapping set as a ring mandrel; the smaller size is easier for me to handle and one of them is my perfect ring size. Plus it isn't tapered like a ring mandrel, so it's better for consistently shaping wide ring bands like this one. You could probably also use ring-forming pliers.

Steps

 

1.       First, anneal the brass plaque that will be the ring band if you'd like to make it easier to stamp. To anneal, heat it until the metal glows red, quench, and pickle to remove fire scale.

You'll see that my plaque has a crosshatch texture and some copper visible around the edges. After pickling, some of the copper became visible on the surface of the brass, so I removed it by rubbing 150-grit sandpaper across the surface in two directions, creating the crosshatch texture. If it happens to you, you can leave it or remove it using finer polishing methods if you don't want the subtle texture.

2.       Stamp the design of your choice with metal stamps and a brass hammer. I first stamped the letter o to be flower centers (see photo in step 1); then I used dashes as petals on some flowers, exclamation points on others. Be sure to stamp some going off the edges. I filled in with smaller flowers made using asterisk stamps.

Tip: As you stamp, the metal will cup and warp a bit, as well as work harden. Anneal as needed while stamping to soften the metal; you'll want to anneal before shaping the ring as well. While stamping, if you need to flatten the piece, sandwich it between two steel blocks (or a steel block and the smooth flat back side of a dapping set base, for example) and hammer to flatten it without marring the metal and ruining your stamped design.

3.       Form the annealed ring around the mandrel of your choice using a rubber mallet.

4.       You could stop here and have a cool wide cigar-band-style ring (skip to step 7 to finish it up), but I wanted to use another smaller plaque, in a different metal, to add a message and focal piece to the ring. So I stamped "bloom" on a small silver plaque and added a few more flowers.

5.       I prefer soldering over riveting, so I soldered the small stamped plaque onto the wide ring band. Because the band was brass (yellow metal) and the plaque was silver (white), and because I was dealing with odd shapes that were hard to hold together for soldering, I used copper solder paste. It turns whitish when soldered, so it matched the silver plaque, but also the paste consistency holds onto the metal almost like lightweight glue to stay in place and to help the pieces stay in place until the solder flows (which is fast, by the way). Consider which metals your plaques are made of and use whatever solder or cold connection you prefer.

6.       Pickle briefly to clean off any remaining fire scale and rinse. If you need to, clean it up a bit with steel wool or other polishing tools of your choice.

7.       Color in your stamped impressions with a Sharpie marker and rub off excess ink if you want to help your designs stand out. If you use copper or brass for your ring, coat it with a clear sealant (or clear nail polish) to prevent tarnish.

To learn more about metal stamping and practice your skills with 20 fresh stamped jewelry projects, get Aisha's book New Directions in Punched Metal Jewelry: 20 Clever and Easy Stamped Projects 

Resources:
metal stamps: ImpressArt.com 
stamping plaques: Beaducation.com

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