Monday, March 18, 2013

Boot Camp: Alpha-Texture

by Staci L. Smith

I think that when people decide to try out metal stamping, the first thing they buy is a set of letters.  I know I did.   I got this very basic set ages ago. It's capital letters, and numbers and a few symbols.  I didn't use it very much for letters though.  I'd like to share with you some of my favorite ways to use my letter to make patterns and textures on metal.  Remember- using letters as letters is NOT part of this challenge.

Here are my stamps, very basic.  I think I got these at Cool Tools many years ago.

Here is the hammer I like to use for stamping.  It's shorter, which gives me good control, (I hit my finger a lot less) its heavy, and its cheap, so I don't care if it gets marred from striking the steel stamps.  I got this one from Melinda Orr of Orrtec.

I took some discs I had lying around, they are made from about 24 gauge copper sheet.  Then I took my capital letter I.  In this simple set, it is just a straight line, and I use it a lot!

I hammered it over and over in some random patterns to create a sort of trail across my disc.

Then I took my letter O.

And I filled in the gaps, randomly changing the direction of the O so it gave it more natural look.

So using two letters, I created a kinda modern organic pattern on my metal.
Now we will get fancy. You can use a whole bunch of letters to make a really cool Boho like pattern.
I started with the period. I love using this as a dot texture.  I stamped it around the entire outside of my disc.

Then I did the same thing using my S going side-ways.  For the next inner ring I used the letter W.

After the W's were done, I took my letter X and stamped it, turned it on its side, and stamped it again in the same spot, to create these little star bursts in the center of the disc.

I thought I would show you one more thing I love to use as texture.  It's not an alphabet stamp, its my awl.  It's just a steel awl from the hardware store, sharp point on one end.  I use it with a rubber block, ILO a steel block to get the effect I want.
I hammer it hard into the metal (a brass strip this time).  It will curl as you do this, and that is fine. 
Then you can take your rawhide or rubber mallet and hammer it gently flat on a steel block.
I like it for the reverse side texture, with the bumps sticking up.  Sometimes I even break through the metal on purpose to create a rustic torn up effect.
Here they are, all done, I used Liver of Sulfur to antique the copper discs and then cleaned it off the high points.  It really brings out the textures that way.

If you didn't get to see Barb's post and video from last week you can view it here.
The blog hop will be on April 8th- so get those creative juices flowing.  Remember, we hope you will not only try to hand texture metal, but then, use it in a design, be creative with it.  Let's inspire each other!


Ema Kilroy said...

That is a great idea to use the letters as pattern makers. I saw the pieces and it didn't register that they were letters until I read the post. Brilliant. :)

Kelli said...

Ha! Love this. I've used my I, X and O quite a bit. Never envisioned the w and s. Very cool!

Barbara said...

LOVE the trailing with the I's....I still have my first cheap set too, and it came with TWO V's and no U....Can I get a U, Vanna?

Anonymous said...

Love this idea! The last disc is my favorite of these, but they are all very cleverly done. I bought a set of cheap alpha stamps from H.F. only to discover they are covered in some kind of oil. I am not a car mechanic! WD40 to the rescue!

Unknown said...

What an awesome idea! I never use ny letter set

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