by Ashley
(Monroe NC )

Hi there!

I just came across your info on tumbling. Im a beginner considering purchasing a tumbler if it will help me. I currentl hand stamp my charms (copper, nickel and aluminum) fill them with a marker, sand them with fine sand paper and rub with a polishing cloth. Im hoping to shorten my time in creating each piece and was hoping to find someone who could walk me through a different way?! Also alot of my charms have a hammered texture if this matters when using a tumbler.


Stacy's Answer:

Hi Ashley!

While the methods you're applying will work, tumbling can save you lots of time! I think you'll find that many of your questions will be answered by reading my tumbling article. If you type in your question in my site's search window, you won't have to read through pages and pages unrelated to your question.

I personally do not care for nickle-silver or aluminum, so I don't work with them. I have zero experience with aluminum. Both of those metals have gained in popularity recently. Darkening in your stampings with a Sharpie-style marker works great when you want bright-finish metal and black lettering. By the way, 91% isopropyl alcohol will remove those permanent marker marks. Just dampen a Q-tip or soft cloth with it and wipe away the marker from the high areas. No sanding necessary! On copper, you can add a patina like liver-of-sulfur to darken in the low areas and tumble then buff the high areas to create a nice contrast to the recessed stamped areas.

Tumble polishing is a great way to finish multiple quantities of items and frees up your time for other things. Nickle silver will polish nicely in the tumbler, but the metal is pretty resistant to the LOS patina. I have had better luck with using a brass patina like Brass Black on it. Your hammer textures should not be affected in a negative way by the spin in the tumbler....just made shiny!

Don't be afraid to experiment and try new things. It's what helps you gain first-hand knowledge about what works and doesn't with your own jewelry fabricating process. The tumbler is a wonderful thing and can save you many hours of finishing work. But it is not always the best option.

Have fun creating Ashley! Jewelry making is quite addictive!

Click here to post comments

Return to Tumble Polishing Q & A.