This is an easy, personalized, stamping project for the beginner. You’ll stamp the spoon flat and measure where to place the letters of your chosen phrase. Then you’ll create a loop in the spoon handle, decorate with glass double dip art beads by Cindy Gimbrone and finish off with a wire spiral ornament hanger.
Inspiration for the project
Several years ago, my mother handed me a container full of odds and ends silverware owned by her mother. Since my grandmother had died when I was very young, I’ve always cherished the small things passed down to me that were hers.
My heirloom of mismatched tableware isn’t particularly valuable. There isn’t a full set of any pattern and it’s inexpensive silverplate. So for years I carried around the silverware wondering what I’d really do with it. This is the perfect project. I have a memento from her yet don’t feel like I’m ruining something of value. If you don’t have a set of grandmother’s mismatched silverware lying around, you can pick some up at garage sales and flea markets.
vintage silverplate spoon
3 crimson double dips from Cindy Gimbrone Beads
3.5 inches of 18 gauge copper wire
1/4 inch steel letter stamps
steel bench block
stepped jaw pliers
steel wool pad
liver of sulfur
12 inch ruler
fine point marker
kiln or torch
large container for water
Step by Step Directions
1. Softening/Annealing the silverplated spoons:
Hammering metal causes it to become brittle after awhile, if you don’t have a torch to anneal the metal, you can use a kiln. I anneal the vintage silverplate spoons at 1000 – 1050 degrees F for about 20 min or until they look white – like in the picture below.
I take them out of the kiln with metal tongs and drop them immediately into water then they’re able to be handled.
2. Using the brass hammer, hammer the bowl of the spoon flat:
3. I annealed the spoon again after I pounded it flat, just to be sure it wouldn’t get too brittle when I started to stamp.
4. Measure the flattened bowl of the spoon, this will give you the “stampable” area for the phrase you choose. I chose, “Bead Bravely” to encourage one to follow one’s own voice boldly.
I found the middle of the spoon and drew lines. You might be tempted to skip this step but believe me, it’s important to measure especially if you’re a beginner. Work from the center of the phrase out to the end. If you have a copy of Stamped Metal Jewelry by Lisa Niven Kelly, pages 36-37 have the best directions and tips for stamping and is where I learned to stamp for this project.
5. Patina your spoon to highlight the stamped phrase/design. I used liver of sulfur from Cool Tools which has a video tutorial right on the website. Liver of sulfur is available from many jewelry supply companies. Immersing the spoon into the patina solution will darken the whole bowl of the spoon. Remove some of the patina by gently rubbing with a steel wool pad. Don’t rub too long because the spoons are silverplate and you don’t want to remove too much of the silver. Wipe with a clean cotton cloth.
6. Create a loop in the handle using the chainnose pliers. It doesn’t have to be a perfectly round loop, you just need a secure place to put the wire spiral ornament hanger.
7. Wrap crimson double dips around the spoon handle.
8. Make the wire spiral ornament hanger. Using the stepped pliers, make a loose spiral on each end of the 18 gauge wire. Then, using your hands, make a large “S” out of the spiral wire with one end smaller than the other. Attach the smaller end to the loop on the spoon. Now your Bead Bravely Ornament is ready to hang!
Enjoy your new heirloom ornament and Bead Bravely my friends!