November 6, 2014

Starting from Scratch with Aluminum

Aluminum blank with initial deep scratches.
Our Customer Service Lead, Lora, gets questions quite frequently about working with aluminum. Sometimes folks are downright shocked when they receive their blanks, because their surfaces are scratched. The important thing to know is that this is completely normal and easy to remedy. By following a few quick steps, they will not remain scratched up for very long!
Aluminum is such an amazing metal because few people are allergic to it, it doesn't tarnish, and it is as light as a feather. It is a fraction of the cost of silver and very easy to stamp. You can use your one pound brass hammer and hardly any muscle to get some great impressions with your stamps.

The one initial drawback to aluminum is the superficial scratches that occur during shipping. The more complex shaped blanks tend to scratch more easily because the edges can be sharp and rub up against one another when they are in transit. The best way to get rid of these scratches is to get abrasive!!

If you like a modern matte finish, grab your coarse sand paper and give it a good polish. That's it! If you prefer a more glassy finish, start with a coarse grit sand paper or sanding sponge and continue polishing with finer and finer grits to bring up the shine. Finishing with a Pro Polish Pad will really create a nice shine on your aluminum.

Lora took one of our Aluminum Plaques back to the design space to demonstrate how your blank might look when you first see it. She added some additional scratches across the blank to really show you how you can get scratches out. These gouges are mighty deep! She simply used a few different grits of from our sanding sponges pack and a little elbow grease. She found that the spongy backing makes them easier to hold. Her final polish was with a Pro Polish pad.

Creating a slightly matte finish with these blanks makes a more sustainable product because it will not look scratched with wear. Instead, it will look beautiful and modern and scratch free!


J Reihl said...

Thank you so much for posting this!! I was wondering if I would ever be able to make my blank tags look professional. I was losing heart and now I feel hopeful and relieved. So great that you guys offer support along the way. Thank you!

Jennifer Reihl

Unknown said...

You're welcome Jennifer - if you haven't already, we would love for you to join us on Thursdays at 11AM PT on Facebook. We are live and do demos, answer questions, share DIYs and more. Here is the link to our videos, see all of our episodes and get a reminder for our next episode.