How to DIY your own stamping blanks (rectangles)? [Metal stamping in Manila]

by - April 16, 2015

Here is a tip on how you can DIY your own stamping blanks (straight edges) if you're really looking on being economical. You get to customize the size, shape, and also produce as infinitely as you want depending on your need.

What you will need:

1. Metal sheet

Yep, you can purchase a big sheet of metal for your stamping blanks here in Metro Manila. Drop by the busy streets of Quiapo, specifically along Alonzo St., which is a haven of metal sheets. You may start with aluminum since this is the cheapest. I got my 4'x8' aluminum sheet for just around  a thousand pesos. Just prepare yourselves when it is time to bring this big baby home, 4'x8' is definitely one big roll of sheet.

2. Metal snips

Since this is one big sheet, you need a handy-dandy metal snip, which you can find at any hardware store. Just be careful with your hands when cutting the metal. I suggest you get some help from any male within your place.

Another tip when cutting your metal is to cut it in equal measurements. For example, measure a series of 2'x2' squares; this way, you can pile your cut sheets in an organized manner and you will have an easy starting point when you are about to cut your actual stamping blanks.

3. Metal shears (not immediately needed, but comes in really handy)

Metal shears are small scissors that can cut through metal sheets. You may opt this out at first since it is quite hard to find one locally and a bit pricey, but I recommend getting one when you have the budget already as it will really come in handy; metal snips may limit you on your desired size and shape, plus, your fingers will get hurt when cutting multiple pieces.

I got my ImpressArt metal shears from MetalStamping_ph (FB)/DIYCRAFTS.PH (instagram) for Php 700.

4. File and sandpaper

Cutting metal results in sharp edges so you have to file it to prevent injuries. I use both a small file and a piece of sandpaper to deburr my cut pieces. I like using sandpaper for polishing the straight edges since a file's grit may still be big enough to leave a crooked finish. Choose a grit with a higher number; I prefer working with 600 grit. Then I use the file to chip of the sharp corners, working on a curving motion so I could achieve round corners. Make sure to get a small file with a fine grit. Again, hardware stores are your friends for these tools.

Here's a tip on sanding your metal: lay the sandpaper flat on your working table then brush of the edges of your metal against it. Also, when filing the corners, try holding the piece with the wrong side facing upwards, so that you will have a lesser possibility of damaging the right side when your fingers suddenly slip off.

Round (filed) corner vs. pointed (unfiled) corner

5. Paper cutter (optional)

Cutting straight lines with your metal snips will not be all that easy. You may try using a paper cutter (yes, a paper cutter to cut metal) to help you cut straight lines. Don't worry, paper cutters are tough enough to cut a metal sheet; I have proven it and it has really helped me a lot.

6. Gloves (optional)

I recommend that you get a good pair of fabric gloves, preferably the one that is rubber-coated on the palm side, so you could protect your hands especially from the fine, grain of burrs while sanding and filing your metal. I suggest buying from big hardware stores found in malls, such as Ace Hardware, as they have a selection of high-quality gloves. Local hardware stores usually just sell low-quality gloves, not very convenient for long-term use.

So there you go, I hope this gave you an idea on how you can DIY your own stamping blanks. If you want to know how you can create circle blanks, check out DIY your own stamping blanks (circles). Teehee.

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Check out my shop: @pressednotcrushed

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