I still laugh at myself for buying stainless steel blanks. In my defense, I was seduced by the mirror finish on them.  It was virtually impossible to stamp them properly as stainless steel is very tough. Although I like brass and copper which are easier to stamp, they are not the silver color I was after. Sterling silver blanks aren't in my budget.

Soft Strike™ Pewter Blanks by ImpressArt

So I use aluminum blanks which are silver tone but have one feature which is both good and bad - they are light to wear but some people (read - customers) equate heft with quality.

I was intrigued when ImpressArt, known for their excellent metal stamps, sent me their new Soft Strike™ pewter blank collection for review. These are US made and  designed for easy stamping. Cheap pewter of poorer quality can sometimes contain lead. So it is good to know these ImpressArt pewter blanks are both lead free and nickel free.  As you can see from the above picture, each blank is hallmarked "IA" at the back so you can tell it is theirs.

So are they easier to use?  I put some of the blanks to the test. First I picked the smallest tag and stamped it with an ImpressArt snowman motif.  I use a strip of painter's tape to keep the tag still.

It's best to get the stamping done in one sharp blow. I found I was able to get a spot on deep stamping even with a tiny tag. 

I just used a black marker pen to color the whole stamped area and wiped off the excess ink from the surface. This picked out the motif very well.

I noticed I had lost the zipper pull from one of my duvet covers when I recently "winterized" the spare bedroom in anticipation for company coming.  So this snowman tag became the new zipper pull!

I then tested out a rectangular aluminum blank with the star Soft Strike™ blank using a star stamp.  A close examination revealed the stamp went in deeper in the pewter blanks than the aluminum ones. The stars look more substantial.

I also tried out simple texturing using the round part of my ball peen hammer on this flower pewter blank. Looks just like my regular aluminum stampings.

I also tested it out with brass and copper but using a more defined embossing pattern with a cross hatch texture hammer.  All three metals look great with this pattern although it took a little more effect to texture the brass and copper.

I used gun blue (easier to use than liver of sulfur - see link below) to patinate the stampings.  All it takes is a few seconds in the solution to darken the copper and brass.  I rinsed each piece in water and dried with a paper towel. The pewter blank did not turn color in the same way.  Pewter is an alloy containing 85-99% tin.  So my guess is these pewter blanks have a very high content of tin or don't contain a metal like copper which patinates easily.

Then some steel wool (#0000) was used to clean off the top layer of patina leaving the darker stuff in the crevices. The pewter blank still looks good without any patina on the metal.

Note that you can darken pewter with some chemical recipes. But why would you?  These pewter blanks are awesome as they are easy, inexpensive silver tone stampings which are also lead and nickel free. Can you imagine if you made a stamping error on a sterling silver blank? Ouch.

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Original Post by THE BEADING GEM
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