24 December 2014

ImpressArt Tutorial :: Christmas Tree Ornament

"Maybe Christmas," he thought, "doesn't come from a store."
"Maybe Christmas... perhaps... means a little bit more!"
~ The Grinch Who Stole Christmas

To celebrate Christmas each year I like to make some ornaments to give as special gifts. This year in the Hintz family we will be fully celebrating with Max, the son of our niece Megan and her new husband Larry. Max was born in 2013 right after Thanksgiving, so this isn't technically his 1st Christmas, but this year Max will be fully engaged the way only a toddler of 1 can be. 
It is bound to be a lot of fun!


It is no secret that I have been doing freelance work for ImpressArt for about a year now. I have received some products and tools from ImpressArt to play with, including a hammer and bench block, letter and number stamps, design stamps and blanks. Every other month, I make something. For December I thought an ornament would be a good project, and a fitting way to welcome Max to the family!

Among the blanks I received were a guitar pick in two sizes and a brass star. Stacked together they looked like a tree to me. Now to decorate them! Follow along as I show you how to make a Christmas Tree ornament that you can whip up before you pour that first glass of eggnog!

You will need:
Two guitar blanks, small and large
One star blank
ImpressArt Lollipop font upper case
ImpressArt Lollipop font numbers
ImpressArt Stamp Straight tape
ImpressArt brass stamping hammer
ImpressArt steel stamping block
ImpressArt 2-hole punches, small
Paint (acrylic or metal patina) or permanent markers
 1 10mm jump ring
Optional: Rivets, Rivet tool

To make a personalized Christmas Tree Ornament, follow these 12 steps:

 1 :: Lay it out: Plan out the look you want, in this case, a tree shape with three stamping blanks.

2 :: Choose your font: I am particularly smitten with this new font from ImpressArt called Lollipop. It is a cool handwritten font that is very tall and lean. I am hoping that someday they will have a lower case version of this. I am very impressed with the new cases that ImpressArt has to hold the stamps. I will be honest...the last ones were... awful. I hated the way the letter stamps bumped around in the box against each other, which made it hard to get the stamps back in the same place when you took one out. Not so with this one. Each stamp has it's own little parking space. And the other thing I love? Each stamp has the image of the letter or design on one side. This ensures that you will use the O and not the Q (unless you really aren't paying attention...ask me how I know!). Bonus! There are extra design stamps included in each letter set to round them out. What a nice surprise!

3 :: Tape it down: ImpressArt sells a white 'Stamp Straight' tape to help you keep the blank from moving when stamping. If you don't have this, painter's tape works well in a pinch. But this tape is a little elastic so you can stretch it taut over the blank, which I like.

4 :: Line it up: Drag your letter stamp to the edge of the tape. When the letter hits the edge, that is where you stamp. You can mark on the tape where you want to line them up to get them to be evenly spaced if you like. I am more of an 'organic stamper' (read: I embrace imperfEction!)
Tip: once you have the stamp where you want it, tilt the stamp back and you can use the reflection of the metal to see where your letter will be placed. Note: with ImpressArt stamps you will always know which way to stamp by putting your thumb on the engraved words on the side of the stamp.  Another reason why I love them so!

5 :: Deckle the edge: Take the ball pein side of your hammer and gently hammer the edges for that chiseled look. It just looks more finished this way. Optional: Use letter stamps, like a V to convey branches on the tree (see the finished option).

6 :: Plan the Message: Plan out the words you would like to stamp on paper first! Make sure you are spelling things correctly. For longer words, like 'Christmas,' you want to make sure that the word will fit and be centered. Start with the middle letter and stamp out from the center.

7 :: O Hole-y Night: Decide where the pieces will overlap for rivets. Draw hole placement with a permanent marker.

8 :: Punch it: Using your screw punch or a hole-punch pliers, make the holes. Match the size of the hole to the size of the rivet you will use.

9 :: Darken it: Use a metal patina paint in your choice of colors or a permanent marker. Don't worry about the excess.

10 :: Buff it: To scrub off the excess patina or marker, I like these inexpensive sanding blocks from the beauty supply store found in the nail section. You can get them in various grits, but I find I like a medium-coarse one the best.

11 :: Brush it: To get the brushed look, first run the sanding block up and down, then side to side. Switch directions and go diagonal one way and then the other. This will give the metal a distinctive brushed effect.

12 :: Rivet it: I use a tool from Crafted Findings for putting in teeny-tiny rivets, but if you have a better way to rivet, do what works! You can also attach the pieces with jump rings, but then the tree will have a lot more movement. Attached a jump ring at the top and a pretty ribbon for hanging.

The Hintz Family Christmas party will be celebrated this afternoon complete with the gift exchange, the White Elephant and this year's theme - Crazy Hats! (We have a moose, a milk carton, Horton along with his Who-speck, a shark and a roast turkey. I think we are going to win the contest for sure!). Tomorrow will be the Prais side of the family and we will celebrate with good food and wine and cookies and chocolates and gifts and lots of family blessings to go around.
No matter what you celebrate or how, I wish a you many blessings of the season and a....
 Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!


Treasures by Louise said...

Thanks for the tutorial, Miss Erin! This may give me the incentive to get out my blanks, tools and start working with stamping metals in the New year.

fanciful devices said...

This looks really friggin cute! I don't see that many punched metal projects that surprise me, but the unexpected way you used the different parts, layered and then made it look like agree with the Vs and the green? That was awesome. Consider me IMPRESSED- see what I did there? *Snort. *

fanciful devices said...

A tree, not agree. *double snort*


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