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Dapper dapped earrings

Celebrate spring by stamping up a cute pair of flowered earrings. Fun and easy, and perfect for a casual weekend look. 

MATERIALS

pair of earrings 1 1⁄4 in. (3.2 cm)

  • 24-gauge copper sheet for practice
  • 2 7⁄8-in. (22 mm) 22-gauge circle blanks (sterling silver)
  • 2 10 mm freshwater coin pearls
  • 2 2-in. (5 cm) 24-gauge ball head pins
  • pair of earring wires
  • bench block
  • 1–2 lb. (16–32 oz.) brass mallet or household hammer
  • dapping block and punches
  • metal design stamps (all from beaducation.com):
    • 1⁄16-in. (1.6 mm) asterisk
    • 3⁄32-in. period
    • 3 x 3 mm tiny spiral
    • 3.5 x 3.5 mm spiral flower
    • 3 x 5 mm leaf 
    • leaf set of three
    • 4.5 x 5 mm branch
    • 1⁄16-in. (1.6 mm) basic flower face
    • 3⁄32-in. (2.4 mm) basic flower face
    • 5 x 6 mm hibiscus flower
  • 1.25 mm hole-punch pliers
  • permanent marker (black)
  • Pro Polish Pad
  • scrap of cardstock
  • chainnose pliers
  • roundnose pliers
  • wire cutters
INSTRUCTIONS
Setup, practice, and planning

Your workspace should be a strong, sturdy table. A wobbling surface will cause your metal and tools to bounce, creating a slightly shadowed impression when stamping. A stable table provides the resistance you need for a sharp, clear impression.

If you’re new to stamping on metal, start with simple design stamps. They will impress correctly every time, and once you master them you can move on to more detailed stamps. 

Practice first on inexpensive 24-gauge copper sheet: Place the copper onto the bench block, and set the design stamp flat against the metal so that it is straight up and down. Strike the stamp once or twice with the mallet or hammer, making sure your hammer comes down straight and centered onto the back of the stamp. If your impression is too light, strike your stamp a little harder next time or switch to a heavier hammer. If your impression is distorted and very deep into the metal, you may need to lighten up on your strike. 

For larger stamps, you may need to “tilt and tap” to get the whole impression. This means striking the stamp multiple times while very slightly tilting the stamp to catch all sides of the design.

If desired, pre-plan your design: Trace the 7⁄8-in. (22 mm) circle blank on a piece of paper, and gently press your stamps into the paper as you would like them to appear in your earrings.

Earrings

Dapper earrings_step 1

 

1. Place a 7⁄8-in. (22 mm) circle blank onto the bench block, position your first stamp, and strike the stamp with the mallet or hammer. Repeat with the remaining stamps to achieve the desired design.

To create matching earrings, place both circle blanks side by side on the bench block, and stamp each one identically. For a more varied look, stamp each circle blank separately.

Dapper earrings_step 2 b
2. Press the tip of the permanent marker into the impressions on each circle blank. (Don’t worry if you mark outside the impressions.) 
Dapper earrings_step 2 a

3. Use a Pro Polish Pad to polish away the excess black.

Dapper earrings_step 3

 

4. Place each circle blank face up in the appropriate hole of the dapping block. Holding the appropriate size punch straight up and down, strike the punch with the mallet or hammer.

Dapper earrings_step 4
5. Using the hole-punch pliers, punch a hole 1⁄16 in. (2 mm) from the edge of each circle blank.
 
The pin of the hole-punch is mounted on a small stump that may mar the metal. To prevent this, cut a small piece of cardstock, punch through it, and use the cardstock as a cushion between the stump and the circle blank.
Dapper dapped finished earring cropped

6. On a head pin, string a 10 mm coin pearl, and make a wrapped loop

Open the loop of an earring finding, and attach a circle blank and the pearl dangle. Repeat this step to complete the other earring.

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