Friday, June 22, 2012

Revived Yard Sale Finds

I wanted to show you what I did with some of the junky treasures I found last weekend.  When I spotted a pile of mismatched silverware, I had to have it all and didn't waste any time flattening it out and stamping it.  So many of you asked about the silverware stamping, so I want to apologize for getting ahead of myself and not being more specific. I wish I had thought about doing a tutorial before I finished this batch of silverware, but hopefully this will give you a better idea of the tools I use.

Stamped silverware tutorial
I started pounding and stamping silverware about five years ago and now flat keys and other trinkets have become victims too.  Warning:  It's extremely addicting!!

stamped silverware garden markers
I look for silver plated spoons, forks, and butter knives (regular knives are too hard), sterling is too expensive, and stainless steel is too hard and new looking.  Most all flatware is marked on the back.

how to stamp silverware
What you'll need:  1) Silver plated spoons, forks, or butter knives.  2) Letter/number stamping set.  I have a few 1/8" sets with different fonts and larger sets also.  You can also buy individual stamps with different designs on them.  I purchased mine online from Firemountain Gems and Rings&Things.  3) A hard surface to stamp on such as an anvil or steel block.  Notice my very sophisticated pounding surface?  The bottom of an old sad iron works great and I already had it.  4) Hammer  5) Safety goggles  6) Ear plugs are optional, but I always use them. 7)  Smooth rag to keep your silverware from sliding around (optional).  8)  A steady hand.

Forks are very easy to flatten and butter knives are pretty much already done for you.  I lay the fork upside down on my surface, hold it by the handle, and hit it with a hammer a few times.  Spoons are a bit more work and usually come out with a few wrinkles, but that's fine with me.  I lay the spoon upside down, hold it by the handle and start hitting it in the center working my way out to the sides.  To get them completely flat requires a few hits on both sides.
I've seen a lot of different tutorials and everyone seems to have their own method, but this is what works for me.  I cover my pounding surface for a better grip, but this isn't something you have to do.  Be sure to use something without texture on it like this old sheet.  If you use a towel or something thick, it will transfer the texture onto your silverware when you flatten them.

How to stamp silverware
I like the whimsical look of these so I don't get too fussy about whether or not all the letters are straight.  I lucked out on this one by eye-balling it.  I like a little tarnish to show, so I lightly polish the silverware after stamping, and then use an ultra fine black Sharpie to darken the letters.  CHEERS!

silverware garden markers

Garden markers
Sometimes I'll add a little rhinestone or other embellishment.

stamped silverware tutorial
Ready and waiting to be planted.

stamped silverware tutorial baby shoe plant holders
If it's metal, rusty, old, and banged up, I'm going to put a plant in it.  Doesn't every yard need a lard bucket?  When I find baby shoes I usually tie them together, embellish them with some bling, and sell them.  So many fun ideas, so I wanted to do something different with these scuffed up old shoes.  For a really good idea, check out what Barb at Treasures from the Heart does with her baby shoes.

How to stamp silverware
I decided on a Romeo and Juliet theme for this little shoe.  These shoes will be coming with me to a show in Ashland, Oregon (home of the Shakespeare Festival) in a few weeks.  Juliet is from a dictionary and set in a vintage typewriter key. 

Stamped silverware tutorial
To add weight and keep the spoon and fork in place, I filled the shoes with rocks.  Not dirty old rocks, but decorative rocks I already had.  Some dried moss and a real flower adds a pop of color.  

How to stamp silverware
A dried or silk flower would have worked, but I had some pretty flowers in bloom that were perfect.  I tucked a little glass tube inside the rocks to hold water.

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  1. marieJune 22, 2012 at 10:16 AM

    Thanks for the tips. I have some silverware just waiting to be stamped! I love the test tube in the baby shoe idea too!

  2. Marsha @ Tattered ChickJune 22, 2012 at 10:33 AM

    Fabulous, Betsy!! I have everything I need to start stamping away, it's been on my to-do list!! I just may need to do that this weekend!!

    When you have a chance, come see what I bough this morning for $13.00!!!!!! You will NOT believe it!!!!


  3. Marsha @ Tattered ChickJune 22, 2012 at 10:36 AM

    Oh, Harbor Freight carries the stamps. That's where I got mine :)


  4. LululizJune 22, 2012 at 10:42 AM

    You make it sound so easy! Love they way they have turned out.

  5. MaggieJune 22, 2012 at 10:47 AM

    Heavens to Betsy, these embellished baby shoes are darling! Still hunting for silver plated flatware...going on my big junking hunt tomorrow and that's what I'll be looking for!

    Have you been to Ashland before? It's such a fun, pretty little town. Hope you can see a play while you're there--they're always top-notch.

    Thanks for a great post!

  6. Into VintageJune 22, 2012 at 11:17 AM

    Thanks so much for this tutorial! I love the look of the stamped silver and I have a small mountain of here waiting for me to do something with it. One more little vintage addiction can't hurt...

    PS Just returned from Ashland a couple of days ago, shopping many, many of the antique stores between there and Portland. :-)

  7. Connie MercerJune 22, 2012 at 11:23 AM

    this is awesome. I have always wondered about the stampsing.

  8. Cheryl in WisconsinJune 22, 2012 at 11:41 AM

    Thank you for sharing. Your instruction is very clear, and you obviously have a great eye for combining all the results.

  9. KathyJune 22, 2012 at 12:09 PM

    Oh, Betsy, you make it sound so easy and your results are beautiful! Maybe my wrist problem was the 5-pound sledge hammer I thought I needed to use - LOL! I have some of those metal stamps and have never used them so maybe I will give it another try. Thank you for sharing.

  10. jdpJune 22, 2012 at 12:24 PM

    How can you tell if the silverware is silver plated and not stainless or sterling?

  11. Michelle L.June 22, 2012 at 12:28 PM

    Just what I wanted! To see you work your magic. Love the shoes in all their teeny glory! And with all that flattening and stamping, you must have biceps of steel. Great post, thanks for the tips on stamping metal.

  12. PeggyJune 22, 2012 at 1:48 PM

    Now I get it! What an awesome way to use the silverware. Definitely on my list of things to try. I really like the way the Lard can and the metal measuring cups look with the plants. Something else to keep an eye out for. Thank you so much for sharing your talents. I get inspired every time you share something new!

  13. Glenda/MidSouthJune 22, 2012 at 1:57 PM

    Those are so cute! Thanks for the tutorial. I have all required, but just another one of those projects on the back burner. I just remembered I have a bag of those tubes (mine are plastic) here somewhere.
    Enjoy your weekend.

  14. SusanJune 22, 2012 at 3:15 PM

    Betsy, you creativity is awesome! I would never in a million years thought of using those utensils in that way!

  15. Sherry@Back2VintageJune 22, 2012 at 4:31 PM

    Your unique garden stakes are so creative!!! You must sell out at every show! Love the baby shoe embellishments!!!

  16. Charm Bracelet DivaJune 22, 2012 at 5:40 PM

    Great idea, the baby shoes! SO cute! I've wanted to do spoon stamping for a long time, just never happened. Happy to see you do it for me!

  17. KathrynJune 22, 2012 at 7:36 PM

    Oh Betsy! Everything turned out wonderful! Still oohing and awing over the sweet baby shoes!
    So that's what you had planned for the measuring cups, awesome. Still my fav is the flattened flatware (excuse the pun) So many uses!!
    Thanks for the tutorial and your pics are great. Very easy to follow!

  18. Linda @ Itsy Bits And PiecesJune 22, 2012 at 8:04 PM

    These look so great, Betsy! I bought a set of stamps a couple of years ago and have yet to try them! I love your hints and the rhinestone you added makes it extra special! Thanks!

  19. Pamela GordonJune 23, 2012 at 10:17 AM

    I would love to do this if I can find an alphabet tap set. I have the old silverware and even a sad iron. Thanks for all the great tips. Yours look sweet in your flowers. Pamela

  20. AnneJune 23, 2012 at 3:09 PM

    Love your creations.Looks like fun too!I may have to try this.

  21. Lauren @ My Wonderfully MadeJune 23, 2012 at 5:37 PM

    These are so cute and with all of the different words you stamp on them they have so many uses. I'm afraid my letters would never line up but I guess that's where you really call them shabby chic :) Love the baby shoes!

  22. Liz - ImageremixJune 23, 2012 at 6:13 PM

    Every day I'm made aware of another old item I had forgotten about and/or never considered as something I need to be on the look out for. I can't say as I've ever come across old baby shoes. What a great idea though, and your tutorial on the flatware flattening is so cool and much appreciated.

  23. Nantucket DaffodilJune 24, 2012 at 6:14 AM

    Love the garden markers! Very crafty!

  24. Diane WritesJune 24, 2012 at 6:02 PM

    My friends would always say that beauty always entails inflicting some pain. When I saw how you hammered out each letter in the spoon, waaaah I can't imagine the effort needed to have them in place :)

    Anyway, the effort was worth it because your output was a piece of priceless beauty. I love it! And you never failed me with that baby's shoes. Thank you for showing us how you repurposed that shoes.

    Have a great week Betsy!

  25. MaureenJune 24, 2012 at 7:20 PM

    I love 'em! Thanks for the instructions.

  26. BohemianJune 24, 2012 at 8:28 PM

    You have created another Stamping Addict... I have been Jonesin' to learn how to do this and now I have all the info I need to get started... obviously this will soon become an obsession. *winks* Thanks for Sharing...

    Dawn... The Bohemian

  27. Yesteryear EmbroideriesJune 25, 2012 at 6:06 AM

    Thanks for sharing the turtorial on your wonderful work! They all look so lovely!

  28. Rebeca TrevinoJune 25, 2012 at 6:27 AM

    what a fun and creative project.
    found your blog via PINTEREST looking for ideas for yardstick art. . . . and i been hanging around for over an hour YIKES!

    love the coat hook projects you created . . . i may try my hand at making a few of these.

    your jewelery is terrific (keys)
    i do assemblage art- do stop by my blog when you can

  29. MargaretJune 25, 2012 at 6:55 AM

    Very cute!

  30. Faye ~ Wild Rose Vintage ~ Cabin CreekJune 25, 2012 at 7:32 AM

    They look great! Thanks for showing us how it's done...maybe...someday I will try it.

  31. ~ LauraJune 25, 2012 at 6:01 PM

    So cute!! They would be so charming in a garden!! I'll have to add spoons to my list now!!! :D

  32. sandyJune 25, 2012 at 6:27 PM

    I really want to try this! I purchased one a while back but now I'd love to learn to make them! Looks like fun! I'm your newest follower now!


  33. ~Lavender Dreamer~June 25, 2012 at 6:38 PM

    I love cute little baby shoes. You can do so many things with them! Love your stamped silverware! You are so smart!

  34. Laurel@chippingwithcharmJune 26, 2012 at 4:34 AM

    I have a big pile of collected silverware...I think I'd better get stamping...I can see how it would be addicting! Those little Romeo and Juliet shoes are too sweet :) Laurel

  35. SueJune 26, 2012 at 10:05 AM

    Your stamped flatware turned out so cute, Betsy. I like how your "planted" the baby shoe! :-) Sue

  36. OklahomaredheadJune 27, 2012 at 8:16 AM

    I really do like your stamped flatware. Do you ever put any in your Etsy shop? I also love the old cans you used for planters and the baby shoes!!

  37. Wax Beach ArtistJune 28, 2012 at 8:52 AM

    So many really cool ideas. I totally love the spoons!

  38. Julie@chiclittleshopJune 28, 2012 at 9:23 PM

    Hi Betsy

    I would love to do this if I can find an alphabet tap set. I have so many old silver plated spoons in my studio. Thank you so a great inspiration.

    Julie x

  39. Hands to Work, Hearts to GodJuly 13, 2012 at 10:17 PM

    terrific project! Patsy from

  40. emilywestlowryJuly 17, 2012 at 7:24 AM

    such an awesome blog!! I am now a follower and can't wait to read more!

  41. Linda @ A La CarteJuly 20, 2012 at 6:01 PM

    Somehow I missed a bunch of your posts so I'm going back and catching up. I love the lettered silverware, so cool!
    hugs, Linda

  42. Jody and StanOctober 25, 2012 at 7:32 AM

    Love all your finds and what you've going to do to them. Have fun!


  43. The Polka Dot ClosetOctober 30, 2012 at 8:38 AM

    Thanks Betsy, I really want to try this!


  44. Kimberley BattersbyNovember 7, 2012 at 4:08 PM

    Love the post. Now following. Hopefully you can stop by sometime over at

  45. Coffee and ChampagneDecember 23, 2012 at 8:16 AM

    What a great tutorial! I'll have to try this some time. Thank you for sharing!

  46. Barbara JeanDecember 24, 2012 at 11:42 PM

    hey girl
    I just popped over from your knife handle ornaments to check out stamping instructions. And thanks again, for sharing so freely.

    And double thanks....I saw my name and a link to one of my tutorials.
    How very sweet of you. =)



  47. Elizabeth JohnsonDecember 29, 2012 at 4:16 AM

    Thank you for the tutorial. You have lovely creative ideas. Fun!

  48. Karen BatesJanuary 3, 2013 at 7:43 AM

    I love these and have been wanting to do them for ages. Thanks for the tut...I will be trying these. Love the way you display them too.

    Happy New Year!

  49. JudiApril 14, 2013 at 11:06 AM

    Hi there

    Sorry to seem a bit thick, lol, but can you confirm for me is your stamping done with rubber stamps, or are they metal stamps that you have to tap into your cutlery. I've seen this before but have never been sure, and I've not seen it in the UK where I live?

    Loving your blog and have just become a follower.

    Judi in the UK

  50. Curtains in My TreeOctober 16, 2013 at 7:38 AM

    OK we all love these and I just never have purchased the stamps I know I have a box of vintage silverware out in the garage

    love the sweet baby shoes I liked when we made pin cushions of of baby shoes the little planters are cute

  51. Christa atCedarmereFarmApril 13, 2014 at 5:27 AM

    Hi Betsy, I have over 20 random vintage pieces of silverware that I collected over the years (loved them, bought them without a plan, let them sit idle in a box). This post MADE MY DAY! Thank you for teaching me how to make these sweet little markers. I just bought my first tool from Rings & Things. Can't wait for the letter stamping set to arrive. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Christa

  52. Patty AntleFebruary 26, 2015 at 7:37 AM

    This is a lovely tutorial. I've been wanting to do this for a long time! Thank you!

  53. RobinAugust 9, 2015 at 5:01 PM

    Glad I found your tutorial on Pinterest!!! Was wondering what to do with my parents silver plate set. Thank you so much!


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