October 14, 2009

Try a Hammer Technique to customize your Jewelry Supplies

Have you been looking for a way to customize your sterling silver jewelry supplies? Try hammer finishing pendants and charms. It’s an easy way to add more depth to your designs, and make them unique. You’ll need a steel block to hammer on (I bought mine from Rio Grande) and a small planishing or ball peen hammer (whichever you prefer). Adding a hammered texture to our sterling silver charms makes them look rustic and gives them a hand made appeal. I like how the rippled texture makes them less shiny and a bit “imperfect” looking.

Shiny vs. Hammer Finished Charms

Shiny vs. Hammer Finished Charms

Hammering Tips:
1) A hammer doesn’t have to be heavy to get the job done! You can actually really hurt yourself by using a hammer that is too heavy. Be careful! Using an extra heavy hammer contributes to carpels tunnel syndrome over time. Your hammer should be fairly light and comfortable to use.

2) Experiment with different types of hammers. My favorites are a planishing hammer, with two super smooth faces, one flat and one slightly convex. Both faces have smooth edges that can be used to create deeper and sharper impressions than the convex face. I also recommend trying a ball peen hammer. This hammer has one face that is round (like a ball), and will make softer smaller dips on the surface of your metal.

Take some time to experiment with this technique. With practice you’ll figure out how much force is too much and how much is just right. You’ll also begin to notice how other details of charms may change as you hammer them. For instance, notice on the karma word tag how the lines of the word “karma” became finer. You may also want to start oxidizing pieces after you hammer them for an even more rugged look! Hammer finishing is a really fun and easy way to produce unique jewelry.

Hammered Word Tag

Hammered Word Tag

Hammered and Oxidized Silver Charm

Hammered and Oxidized Silver Charm

  • Hi guys, I love these tips on altering your jewelry findings! As customers, often wary of experimenting on items and “losing” a good piece! I also like to take fine abrasive cloth/fine steel wool and brush items for that “matte” finish.

    peggy