As you probably know if you come here often, I do love a workshop and learning something new so I signed up for a metal stamping class.
It was only ‘down the road’ and not too expensive and it was promised you’d go home with three small projects.
The class was small – just five of us excluding the teacher – and it was held in a rather lovely café in the nearby town which doesn’t open to the public on a Saturday so we had it all to ourselves.
Before I start on the class, I have to give a shout out to this wallpaper in the café’s loo.
These were the tools provided for our class of complete beginners – all laid out on lovely tablecloths.
The thin square of aluminium was to practise our first faltering steps into metal stamping. The blue box contained all the letters of the alphabet and the white box a sturdy metal block to absorb the hammer blows.
First we practised with the ‘I’ and the ‘Q’ and then our name.
It was at this point I realised I’d forgotten my reading glasses 🙄
Still, although I did briefly consider running across to the grocery shop to see if they had any ‘off the peg’ cheapo specs, I tried to manage without.
Using the masking tape helps to keep the letters in a straight line. Or at least that’s the theory.
Our first project was a small heart. My mind went blank – it doesn’t take long – and the only thing I could think of to stamp was the first three letters of Miss Tialys the Elder’s name. I would say I didn’t hammer hard enough on the ‘M’ but I think I had a deformed punch as it came out weird each time I used it.
Still, Laura, our lovely teacher, gave us a jump ring, a chain and a little organza bag to put the heart in and I will be putting it inside the home made Christmas cracker destined to be pulled by Miss T. the Elder on Christmas day.
Next up, a Christmas tree bauble. I chose a snowflake shape and decided on a family ‘in joke’ for the words. Every year we watch ‘The Muppets’ Christmas Carol’ – it’s become a family tradition and we are all word perfect with both script and songs. One of the songs sung by the (Muppet) Ghost of Christmas Present is called ‘It Feels Like Christmas’ and one of the little muppet mice sings the lines
‘It’s in the giving of a gift to another
A pair of mittens that were made by your mother’
so, for Miss Tialys the Younger’s Christmas tree…
You can emphasise the stamped letters by using a Sharpie over the letters then rubbing off the excess with a cloth moistened with a little nail polish remover.
The third project was to be a bookmark and, by this time, we’d had a lovely lunch and a chat and all felt more relaxed and confident so were hammering away with gay abandon on the long strip of metal provided.
That’s my favourite one and, although the odd letter is a bit skewiff, I don’t think it really matters in this font.
To get the slightly different finish seen here, you use one of those double sided, spongy nail files to gently sand the surface and then buff it up a bit with the smooth side.
Although I’m definitely not going to get into jewellery making, Mr. Tialys reminded me that we do have a set of letter punches lurking in the garage somewhere so, now I vaguely know what I’m doing, there might be the odd occasion when I might wield the chunky little hammer again. Aluminium plant tags come to mind for instance.
Anyway, a really enjoyable day with a nice bunch of people, a patient teacher and a lovely lunch. Plus three passable little gifts to take away at the end. Who could ask for more?
And if you’ve never watched the Muppets’ Christmas Carol I highly recommend it and here’s a taster to get you in the festive mood.