1/05/2010

Antique Spoon Plant Markers . How To-sday


I'm clearly on a major metal stamping kick right now, but I've still got projects, so why stop now? This is a cute and unique way to label your plants, using old silverware that you could easily get from a thrift store.


Materials:
  • Antique spoon (Modern stainless versions don't stamp well at all.)
  • Metal stamps (Mine are from Evie's Tool Emporium on Etsy!)
  • Nail file, steel wool, or fine grit sandpaper
  • Permanent marker
  • Heavy rubber mallet

1. Place the spoon face-down against a very firm surface. Using a heavy rubber mallet, pound the back of the spoon until it is completely flattened. I found that setting the spoon atop a towel on the concrete worked better than a countertop or table.


2. Count out the letters in your word. Mine has six letters, so I marked six equally-spaced dots with permanent marker. These dots are to help you line up and space your letters properly when you begin stamping. Don't worry about ruining your spoon with permanent marker; we'll remove it in the last step.

3. Beginning with one of the middle letters, carefully place your stamp over the corresponding dot. Be sure that the letter is facing the proper direction, and then firmly whack the top of the stamp once with your rubber mallet or hammer. As you can see from the photo, I hit mine too hard, leaving a circular impression around the letters.

4. Using a permanent marker, completely fill in each letter. This will create a patina look to make the letters really pop against the silver surface.
5. Using a nail file, steel wool, or very fine sandpaper, gradually buff away all the permanent marker using a small, circular motion.Finish by wiping away all the dust and marker residue to polish it to a shine. Stick it into your plant, and voila!

103 comments :

  1. Now I'm really impressed ! I tried this over the summer and do you know what happened ? NOTHING - I didn't even bend the damn spoon - How is that even possible ???? I am pretty strong too so I don't think it was lack of trying. Hence I gave up spoon art. On to the violin perhaps....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous2/07/2013

      Were your spoons sterling silver? I have tried this with metal dollar store spoons and same result of nothing. Silver is a soft metal so it works much easier, aka works. Maybe this helps?

      Delete
  2. this is so cute and creative, i love it!

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  3. These re so unique! I'm sure they look would look great in the garden : )

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  4. Oh very cool, I like that a lot!!

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  5. Sooooo cool. I really want to try this for my mother in law. She loves to garden and loves antiques. Perfect!

    www.dirksendabbles.blogspot.com

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  6. Awesome!! If only I was capable of maintaining plants...

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  7. This is just fantastic and so creative!

    Props to you!

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  8. Those are so cute! I have always wanted to try metal stamping, it looks like fun! This project would make a really nice Mother's Day gift, thank you for sharing!

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  9. Stop it with your cuteness. *Impressed*

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  10. What a fun tutorial! Awesome idea! I finally played along and answered the "tagged" questions: http://designsbyvanessa.blogspot.com/2010/01/ive-been-tagged.html

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  11. I LOVE it! When spring comes and I replant my herb garden I will HAVE to make these! :)

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  12. I LOVE this! I just bought some metal stamps the other day but I've yet to use them. I think I found my first project!

    Would you mind if I shared your tutorial as a "Teach Me Tuesday" feature on my blog? www.LivingWithLindsay@gmail.com Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  13. I guess my email or my website would be best - not both combined. hahaha oh, geez. www.livingwithlindsay.com

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  14. Do these have to made with silver spoons or could you stamp on the newer stainless steel spoons? Just wondering before I get too excited.
    I'd love to make these for my psycho gardening husband.
    tamboinmo@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
  15. Anonymous1/14/2010

    Where does one get the metal stamps..? They werent listed in your list of materials I noticed.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous9/01/2012

      Amazon.com or Ebay.com

      Delete
    2. They're from Evie's Tool Emporium: http://www.etsy.com/shop/eviestoolemporium

      Delete
    3. Harbor Freight Tools have reasonably priced ones as well.

      Delete
  16. I love it! Great idea! Another reason to visit a flea market.

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  17. LOVE it! thanks for sharing ♥

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  18. Would have never thought of this, great!

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  19. What are those stamps called? Where did you get them? I would love to try this, but I don't know where to get the stamps.

    Thanks!

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  20. this is so awesome! i've been wanting to make these as a gift for a friend. thanks for sharing!

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  21. Thank you for sharing this spoon trick ,
    love it!

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  22. Anonymous4/01/2010

    This is the cutest project and totally inspiring! But, let me share my experience: I bought a little (1/4 size I think?) set of small letters from Harbor Freight, it came in a little red case with a "punching tool." It was only $10! WRONG set to buy. The letter stamps are very short so you can't really hold them alone to pound them in, they are made to go into the stupid "punching tool." The punching tool is apparently made for soft materials like wood or leather, because it bounces around when trying to hammer into the spoon.

    Also, the rubber mallet is a little difficult to get the spoons flat, so I tried a hammer - much faster results! But the letters with the punch tool still does not work, and the letter size I bought was too small. So keep this in mind when buying the letter set! Get a bigger size letter with LONG "handles."

    Now I need to go back and buy the other ones. I can't wait to get my spoons in the ground and am sad that my first attempt was a flop...but...I hope this helps the next person! :)

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  23. Love this idea and I'm glad to know I can get the stamps at Harbor Freight. I can't wait to get them and see what else can be done with them. lol

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  24. LOVE THIS! Can't wait to start stamping!

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  25. Anonymous4/25/2010

    I tried this with stainless steel spoons, and they didn't really bend or stamp-- is silver softer? Or is there a certain type of spoon I should look for?

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  26. I've done it with stainless steel, and it worked, but it took a lot more hammering to flatten the spoon. I also had a much harder time getting the marker off afterwards. Old silver flatware works much better.

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  27. This is great! thanks! :)

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  28. Miette5/22/2010

    Merci beaucoup pour cette superbe idée!
    si vous me le permettez je vous citerai sur mon propre blog, à très bientot, miette

    ReplyDelete
  29. This is wonderful, I LOVE it! Thanks so much for sharing.
    Amy.

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  30. Very nice *and* ironic since I'm going to use this great tutorial to mark plantings in my vegetable garden which I plan to eat from all summer. Thank you for posting this wonderful project.

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  31. Oh my this is soooo helpful. I've seen these for sale at Anthropologie and they seemed so easy to DIY. GREAT tips listed in the readers' comments. Thanks Lindsay.

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  32. these are great! did you use special stamps?

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  33. Hi everyone - glad you like the tutorial so much!!!

    I used metal stamps from Evie's Tool Emporium ( http://www.etsy.com/shop/EviesToolEmporium ), and they work fantastically and have nice, long 'handles.'

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  34. excellent tutorial and great, great result.

    so good in fact that i would like to invite you to join our DIY tutorial link party :
    http://www.finecraftguild.com/diy-linky-party-free-pillow-crochet-pattern/

    others will love to find out about this tutorial on your blog!

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  35. i am making these today! awesome. thanks for the tutorial!

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  36. Anonymous7/28/2010

    what a wonderful idea!! thanks!! jo

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  37. I'm so glad I found this site. oooooooh a MARKER! I bought the stamping tools but had no idea how to get my letters so dark. I thought I didn't hit it hard enough. Now it makes sense. Thanks

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  38. Lindsday

    I have just come across your site and look forward to reading the rest of it. Thanks a million for posting this tutorial up - the markers are fabtastic. Quick question what size is the type on these spoons?

    Cheers
    Vanessa

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  39. Thanks, Vanessa! They're 1/8"

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  40. The antique spoons are so interesting. I have lots of that here at home and I think I have now an idea on what to do on them.

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  41. I just bought a metal stamp set and am so excited to have found your wonderful tutorial! Thank you! I'm looking forward to browsing around your blog. It's lovely!

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  42. Where would I find a metal stamp set? Thanks for the instructions.

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  43. Anonymous1/29/2011

    Hello. I was wondering if anyone found what size of stamps to get? Thank you

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    Replies
    1. 1/8 or 1/4 inch. 1/8 for longer words.

      Delete
  44. Hi guys! I used 1.5mm stamps from Evie's Tool Emporium on Etsy. Their larger sizes would probably actually work better on spoons, with the 1.5mm on fork bases.

    Here's the shop link:
    http://www.etsy.com/shop/eviestoolemporium

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  45. Hi Lindsay: I am thinking of trying this, but did you have to have a special set of the alphabet to be strong enough for the metal on a spoon? The descriptions I've seen say for sheet or soft metal.

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  46. I used stamps in a couple different sizes from this shop: http://www.etsy.com/shop/eviestoolemporium, and they've worked wonderfully, but stamping works better on vintage silver spoons than on modern stainless steel varieties. Thanks for checking out my tutorial!!!

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  47. Anonymous4/14/2011

    My Experience:
    Don't frustrate yourself, invest time into finding silver plate silverware (not sliver which is SO expensive and too beautiful to smash). Stainless Steel is WAY TOO strong, even with a hammer. I found plenty silver plate at a local antique shop, but didn't have any luck at a thrift store. Buy extras because you will probably screw the first couple up- until you get a feel for how to punch the letters well.

    You need to lay a towel between the spoon and hard surface, while hammering and punching letters-it is key in my experience. Helps stabilize the spoon. Skip the permanent marker, get some acrylic paint and rub it on with fingers, and before it drys rub excess off. Quick and seems to adhere very well.

    Thanks Shrimp Lady! I love this project.

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  48. Hi!!
    It´s gorgeus. I like IT, its very creative....
    I know your blog today, its very creative. I like so much....
    I go on around here a litle bit more ;D
    Kisses from Madrid♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

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  49. I made a couple of these yesterday - using stainless steel spoons - took a really good hammering to get them flat and I had to use a metal hammer to do it. The stainless steel is really hard to my letters didn't imprint very well either, but I was really please with the results.

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  50. Thank you so much for this tutorial! It was just what I was looking for!

    Wishing you a wonderful day!

    Betty

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  51. Brenda Pruitt6/21/2011

    Thanks so much for your time and energy! I found you my accident! Thank you Lord!
    Brenda from Kentucky USA

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  52. Anonymous7/06/2011

    I did these in these in a much simplier version. I typed out each name. printed. Modged podged it on. Then applied several coats of a spray outdoor sealer. { Valspar clear flat - interior/ exterior premium enamel}

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  53. Thank you so much for showing this!! :) If want to keep them as spoons, and not hammer them, is it still the same procedure?

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  54. I'm excited to try this project out for my husbands garden. He would just loovvee it! Thanks

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  55. This is beautiful! Tell me, do the spoons need to be a soft metal like silver? I have had some issues stamping on stainless steel. Any tips?

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  56. Busy Bee Tools in London, Ontario, has the metal stamping alphabets in two sizes. The shafts are about two and a half inches long - plenty of room to hold and steady the individual letters. You could also kludge up a clamp with two pieces of wood to hold several letters together into a word... They cost ten dollars for either size (includes the numbers 0 - 9 as well). I suspect any decent hardware or tool store would have these for much less than the craft places!

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  57. I have several sets of stamping alphabets and the all the tools, etc., but I would love to know more about the types of metals that the spoons ideally need to be.

    Really struggling with stamping on stainless steel right now.

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  58. Thanks for the sweet compliments and the questions, everybody!

    Anonymous: That's a great, very cute idea, but this is an entirely different look. It just depends on what you're going for! :D

    Carina: Yes, it would be the same procedure. You just have to finesse the stamps into the curve a little!

    Mrs. R: I have overwhelmingly found stamping on stainless steel to be problematic and ineffective. It's so solid and dense that the stamp just bounces right off, barely leaving an impression at all.

    I would definitely recommend sticking to old silverware from antique, vintage, and charity shops/thrift stores.

    Another problem with the stainless is that it doesn't flatten out the same way as old silver, so you really just can't replicate the look as well.

    - Lindsay

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  59. THANK YOU SO MUCH!

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  60. Anonymous11/13/2011

    We are looking to make these and are curious as to what size metal punch you are using. Thanks!

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  61. Anonymous, I used a 1.5mm stamp set for the images here. I would actually recommend going larger in the future, unless you have a longer word.

    - Lindsay

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  62. I love this post. I have featured it on NZ Ecochick. Please view my post on: http://www.nzecochick.com/2011/11/christmas-ideas.html Feel free to grab my featured on button. Thanks for the great idea. I can’t wait to make some.

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  63. Anonymous12/31/2011

    I had a hard time finding the stamps but finally found them at a hardware stopre they were selling them to mark your tools, love this craft do pie servers for weddings

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  64. Fantastic idea thanks so much. We made our own ones and I have added a link to your blog from my post. Please check this out on http://www.nzecochick.com/2012/01/garden-spoon-labels.html thanks again.

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  65. What a neat project I'm pinning it! Love it

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  66. Anonymous1/17/2012

    The spoons are very unique, I enjoy them very much! :-)

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  67. Anonymous2/09/2012

    Cute! If you use dry-erase markers over the permanent marker, it should wipe right off (also works great if you've accidentally used a permanent marker on a white board!

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  68. Thanks for the wonderful tutorial! My mom and I just made these, and I'm thrilled with mine!

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  69. Anonymous3/04/2012

    Love this idea! I didn't use mine in the garden though. I decorated my kitchen in herbs and spices and needed something by the door for keys. So I did the spoons just like the pic but then I attached them to an old piece of barn wood with wire. I bent the ends up to hang the keys from and it looks awesome! Thanks for the idea!

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  70. Anonymous5/09/2012

    How much on average are people paying for a vintage flatware piece. And Silverplate? My local thrift store had SP for 1.99. I wasn't sure on the markings so I only bought 3.

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  71. Anonymous5/29/2012

    Re: above: i buy all kinds of vintage silverplate in questionable condition for .10 - .25 cents/piece at thrift shops, church sales, etc, i've been doing it for years. look for places and situations that have TONS of mismatched flatware, and then dig! (hint: look for tarnish to find the old stuff!!). if a piece is in really poor shape i'll craft with it, but if it's shabby chic or better after i (lightly)polish it, i add it to my collection and use it on the table :) hope that helps

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  72. Fantastic!! Thank You for the tutorial.

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  73. Nice outfit!Beautiful blog:)

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  74. Anonymous9/11/2012

    thanks for sharing.

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  75. Anonymous9/16/2012

    Hi Lindsay, what size did you use in the metal stamp from Evie's Etsy shop?

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    Replies
    1. Hello! I used 1.5mm because they were all I had at the time. Now, I'd recommend going up a bit - maybe to a 4mm.

      Delete
  76. Amazing post....!!!!! really I appreciate it..

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  77. great...post...!!! I really appreciate it...

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  78. I know it's an old post, but I googled stamping spoons, and your blog came up first. Thanks for the tips, I made some and they look great.

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  79. I heated my spoons up with a blow torch to soften the metal a bit before trying to flatten. Then put the spoon in a strong vice. Still need to hammer a bit but it helped. Brasso helps shiny the spoons up at the end. Brasso with fine steel wool would work a treat. Yes, need a strong surface to pound on, flat concrete or edge a brick.

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  80. Anonymous1/24/2013

    thanks for share.

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  81. My daughter just gave me a beautiful spoon she bought for me from the faded nest, and now I want to make them. I don't like to ask the seller what size stamps she uses as it seems such a cheek.
    Lindsay, you say you used 1.5 but recommend going up to 4mm which seems a big jump in size.
    What would be the best letter to measure because an 'o' is smaller than an 'h' :-)
    I don't want to invest in a set of punches only to find they are too small/big.
    Any advice would be most welcome

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Moira, you can probably search for letter stamp sets on Etsy to get a size comparison. If you want to put a lot of text on the spoon, then maybe the 1.5 is just what you need, but I think the 4 is a lot more typical of what you see from the already-made stamped spoons. You could compromise with a 3 if you're worried though. I think that the size measures a full-size letter, like an 'h.'

      I hope that helps!

      Delete
  82. Anonymous2/04/2013

    What a cool hobby! I'm sure they make great gifts.

    ReplyDelete
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