Using Stamps in Jewelry Making: Real and Faux Leather, Faux Stone, and Epoxy Clay
Tucson isn’t just the place for shopping and connecting with old industry friends–it’s also packed full of jewelry-making inspiration. At the To Bead True Blue show, I visit the booths of many friends and favorite vendors, and one booth (and friend, and vendor) I never miss is Nunn Design.
Becky Nunn, owner and namesake of Nunn Design, makes gorgeous jewelry herself but she also has the Nunn Innovation Team full of talented designers with a seemingly endless supply of mixed-media jewelry ideas–and many of those ideas are on display in the Nunn booth each year.
This year in particular I was drawn to their jewelry designs embellished with rubber stamps. I’m a big fan of crossover crafting and using supplies from the craft side of my studio on the jewelry-making side, especially for mixed-media jewelry. Becky and her designers used crafty rubber stamps in jewelry two ways: the traditional way, by stamping ink designs (but onto leather!), and as texture sheets, stamping impressions into epoxy clay.
Stamping Designs on Leather
I really like the feel of leather and often see jewelry designs featuring leather that appeal to me, but leather jewelry never quite seems my style. So I was extra pleased to see examples of rubber stamped leather in the Nunn booth. Being a writer, former English major, and avid reader, words are meaningful to me. Being a designer, beautiful handwriting and script are attractive to me. So when I saw the Nunn jewelry designs with script writing stamped onto leather (like these two cuff bracelets by Stephanie Gard Buss for Nunn Design), I felt I’d finally found leather jewelry that was just right for me. Plus, the monogram embellishment on that bottom one made it a modern version of a Southern girl’s icon. Gorgeous!
Stamped designs add an extra layer of interest to leather pieces and can give them a whole new style. For example, you can give a wide leather cuff a feeling of girly femininity with a floral or script stamp; alternately, stamp skulls, flames, or some other sassy design onto the same cuff to create a more modern, tough-girl look.
I didn’t think to ask what kind of ink they used, but I feel sure that you’ll want a good permanent ink like StazOn.
Stamping Textures on Clay
Nunn recently introduced Clay Squishers from Judikins, which are textured rubber mats (similar to unmounted rubber stamp sheets) with a variety of coordinating designs on them. They’re prefect for stamping impressions onto epoxy clay, metal clay, and polymer clay, and you can bend, curve, and roll them in ways that mounted stamps just won’t go. Very handy!
As with polymer clay, stamping impressions into epoxy clay can give it the look of tooled leather or carved stone. I love the high/low mix in this ring, with the stamped “faux leather” (textured epoxy clay) set in an ornate Nunn Design ring bezel and embellished with a sparkling crystal.
This especially looks like tooled leather to me because it’s brown; black would also give the same effect, but if you wanted to make it look like textured metal, you could use metallic epoxy clay or rub metallic pigment over any clay. If you wanted it to look like carved stone (like the top cuff in the photo, above), you could use colored epoxy clay or polymer clay and a variety of finishes (metallic inks, powdered pigments, shiny sealants) to get the look you want.
The process is the same either way–simply press the clay into the rubber stamp or texture sheet to create the design. It’s super easy, too–if you don’t like your impression, just squish it away and try again until you get one that you like. Note: You might want to use a little mold release on the stamps, especially with polymer clay, so your stamped designs release from the rubber cleanly.
If you’ve been curious about trying out epoxy clay, now’s the perfect time! Check out our Nunn Design epoxy clay ring and bracelet kits before they’re gone and see for yourself how versatile epoxy clay can be!
You can learn more about Clay Squishers, epoxy clay, and the jewelry-making components shown here on NunnDesign.com.