Putting Your Stamp On It: A DIY

Thank you everyone who gave me suggestions on my last post! You guys rock! I really have no idea what I would do without you guys. I took your suggestions and messed around with some shiny old forks I found and look what I got!

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Are they perfect? Well, no. But I did get two that look fine and that’s good enough for me.

So let’s start at the beginning now, shall we?

It kind of all clicked together after the last post when someone nicely pointed out that I was supposed to be using silver plated silverware, not stainless steel. Duuuuuuuuh. I feel like such an idiot.

Thus, I went out to my local thrift stores in search of old silverware. I got insanely lucky this weekend and found these forks (and some spoons) at Goodwill for 25 cents each.

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They were tarnished and you can tell that some of the silver plating has been chipped off. On the back of each, there was a symbol that I had never noticed until this week. By sketchily Googling on my phone while there, I discovered that they were silver plated silverware (though, the tarnish kind of gave that away).

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Because they were in such bad shape, I decided to do the baking soda, aluminum foil, and hot water trick that I had seen on the internet. I lined the bottom of a glass dish with aluminum foil and added my silverware. I then added hot water into the mixture and a little bit of baking soda and let it sit. Immediately, you could see the tarnish coming right off of the silverware. It works surprisingly well.

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Shiny decided to take a bath too.

Actually, let me geek out for a second and just marvel at how amazing this chemical reaction is. From Science is Fun (Shakhashiri’s Lab in University of Wisconsin):

Or in English, the tarnish on the silver reacts with the aluminum through an electric current (similar to how a battery works) that causes the sulfate to bind to the aluminum, leaving beautiful silverware. This also means (as I understand it—correct me, chemists, if I’m wrong), that this method of cleaning silver probably doesn’t work on other metals, sadly.

After I finished cleaning the silverware I marked on the forks with a permanent marker where I wanted each letter, only to realize that ALWAYS and FOREVER that I had originally planned, probably wasn’t going to work.

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Always barely fit on there.

I decided on ALWAYS HAVE and ALWAYS WILL, which I found in For Such a Time Designs on Etsy. It was a sentiment that I thought was endearing and that I really liked.

I set the fork on top of a towel, which was on top of a scrap metal plate I found in lab. I highly recommend using the towel, which helps to keep the fork stationary as well as helps dampens the noise a little. I used my stamp set and hammered about four to five times for each letter to make each letter, while trying not to move the letter.

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Afterwards, I filled in the letters with a sharpie and then scrubbed off the excess marker. I know the permanent marker might erase over time with use, but I have no problems going back over the letters every once in a while to make it more obvious.

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Tada!

I will say, the curves are a pain. It is nearly impossible to get a good indention on it. It is also nearly impossible to reposition the stamp back on the half formed letter, so I think getting a good letter on the first try is key. I had some trouble with some of the letters pretty consistently (I don’t think the W ever fully formed). But as a whole, I would recommend getting extra forks and using short words ;)

Did anyone else try to stamp their own forks? Did you have better luck? What would you want written on your forks? Also, thoughts about what I should do with those spoons?

BLOGGER

Mrs. Panda

Location:
Boston, MA
Wedding Date:
June 2013
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comments

  1. Member
    vintagefair 751 posts, Busy bee @ 6:40 am

    I Love This!! Glad that you didn’t give up, I am going to use stamped forks for my wedding as well… but it is on my LONG wedding to-do list!

  2. Member
    Mrs. Bracelet 1411 posts, Bumble bee @ 7:12 am

    Oh wow, this turned out great! I was skeptical after your first post, but this one’s definitely a keeper.

  3. Member
    HOGUE 28 posts, Newbee @ 7:13 am

    I Love This!Very creative:)

  4. Member
    Mrs. Squirrel 276 posts, Helper bee @ 7:39 am

    Glad you made a second attempt!!!

  5. Member
    Mrs. Buffalo 176 posts, Blushing bee @ 8:05 am

    I’m glad you didn’t give up! They came out awesome! This was one of those things I wanted to order from Etsy but then kind of waited too long. I never would have thought to DIY them!

  6. Member
    blonde17jess 1290 posts, Bumble bee @ 8:39 am

    These are super cute! I commend you for even attempting this DIY lol. I would definitely be buying them because that seems like quite the endeavor!

  7. Guest
    Aly Nickerson, Guest @ 8:50 am

    Hi there! Thanks so much for mentioning my shop! I would have happy to make some forks for you if you like (free of charge)! :) Just contact me and let me know! <3

    All my best,

    Aly Nickerson
    For Such A Time Designs

  8. Member
    asia 2555 posts, Sugar bee @ 2:03 pm

    just as a tip if you’re going to do this again, I can give you actual instructions for how metal stamps are supposed to be used. :) I only noticed one major discretion in your post.
    First: Aneal (heat) your metal with a torch to soften it
    Second: Place your metal on either an anvil (if you don’t care how the back looks/how the metal warps) or a block of wood (if you DO care how the metal warps, which would be my suggestion in this case)
    Third, carefully place your stamp and strike it ONLY ONCE with a mallet. The more times you hit it, the messier your letters will look. No matter how hard you try to line it up, the hammer/mallet strike will shift your stamps and make a second (or fifth) impression.

    Aside from that, if you want to create a patina in the letters, usually you would use gun blue (they sell it where gins are sold) and sand/ polish your finished piece. The indention will retain the patina but you will have removed it from the rest of the surface. However, gun blue is not safe for eating (but then, neither is sharpee) so I would recommend this type of stain only if they are for decoration ONLY

    Sorry to have missed your last post! Wish I could have given you these tips before hand. They look adorable!

  9. Member
    asia 2555 posts, Sugar bee @ 2:58 pm

    uh, that should have been where guns* are sold. :D

  10. Member
    Mrs. Panda 1329 posts, Bumble bee @ 3:09 pm

    @vintagefair: I hope you try it! it was admittedly a lot of fun after I got over my fear of losing fingers
    @Mrs. Bracelet: @Miss Squirrel: @Mrs. Buffalo: I am also glad the hive convinced me to try again! It turned out way better than I thought it would! I know professionally would be way better, but *shrug* I’m cheap
    @HOGUE: @Blonde17Jess: they are super cute. I can’t believe I’ve thought so much about forks!
    @Aly Nickerson: You have such a great etsy shop with such clever phrases! Everything is so cute. Thank you so much for the offer but I think I’m good on the fork front!
    @Asia: thank you for the tips! It’s great to hear from someone who actually knows what they’re doing with metal instead of me just fumbling around! I definitely plan on doing this again (as soon as I can decide on a phrase…) so these tips will be useful for my next attempt!

  11. Member
    Mrs. Pony 9265 posts, Buzzing Beekeeper @ 5:14 pm

    I love how they turned out, so glad you followed through with this project!

  12. Member
    mrshollinger 1046 posts, Bumble bee @ 5:31 am

    Love these!

  13. Member
    ChicagoDreamer 509 posts, Busy bee @ 6:44 pm

    I think fabulous job for a unique DIY!

  14. Member
    Mrs. Mongoose 726 posts, Busy bee @ 10:27 am

    You did a GREAT job–congrats girl!!

  15. Member
    SnowBride2013 60 posts, Worker bee @ 11:48 am

    These are awesome!

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