I often get asked how to make fingerprint jewellery. In theory it's really quite simple however in reality it takes a lot of skill and practice, professional training and good quality jewellery making tools make your precious fingerprint jewellery.
Here is just a small selection of the tools I use:
To make your fingerprint jewellery I will need a mould of your loved ones finger tip. This is created using special moulding putty that captures the tiny details on the fingerprint. This mould is used to create an exact replica of the fingerprint which is then used to imprint into the silver. Watch the video below to see how amazingly easy it is to make the fingerprint mould (scroll down for the inkless wipes video for taking full hand or footprints).
The jewellery is made from silver clay. This is so named because it is a clay like substance which can be cut into any shape and the fingerprint cast is pressed into it to make the impression. The clay is then dried, finished, fired and polished to create a completely hand made fine silver charm.
The firing process burns away the binder that makes the silver behave like clay, and leaves behind a solid piece of 99.9% fine silver.
One technique you may see other people using is to press the finger directly into the clay. This works fine, but the downside is that if anything goes wrong in the creation of the charm or if the charm is lost or stolen, it is impossible to create another one like it. I prefer to take a fingerprint mould, as this way if anything were to happen to your charm you could have another one made from the same fingerprint. If capturing an exact moment in time is important to you, I recommend this method. Think about how you would feel if you had a baby's fingerprint charm made, and then a couple of years later you lost it, you could never get that print back if it had not been preserved in a mould. Each mould is sent to you along with your jewellery, some companies like to file them away so that you are forced to go back to them if ever you want to use that print agan. I like to think that my work and customer service is good enough that you would come back to me without that force, and if you don't ever want any more jewellery made with that print, well you have a bonus little keepsake to keep somewhere safe!
Hand/foot/paw print jewellery
This is made in a similar way to the fingerprint jewellery, but is a slightly more complicated process. The same silver clay is used to create the jewellery but the print is taken using an inkless wipe system.
The wipe enables you to capture a clear print of the hand, foot or paw. Because it is invisible and not like thick paint, it captures a clear print including all of the fine details which sometimes get lost in paint prints. It's also a lot less messy!
What the video below and check out my blog post on How to get good handprints from your child.
The print is scanned in to my computer, I use special techniques to edit it to miniaturise it and create a negative of the print which is then used in a special machine to create a stamp of the hand, foot or paw print. this stamp is used to create an impression in the silver clay, much ike with the silver jewellery.
As with the fingerprint moulds, the prints used in this jewellery will be returned to you in case you wish to use them again or get them framed as an extra keepsake.
If you have a hand or foot print previously taken that you wish to use to create a special piece of jewellery this can also be done, even paint prints can be used. I can accept images via email if you have a scanner or a black and white photocopy will work just as well, I won't ask you to send me your precious originals.
As with the Hand/foot/paw print jewellery, artwork jewellery is created using a miniature stamp of the drawing. Because of the size, detailed drawings do not work well for this type of piece. It is best to choose a picture with strong lines. Children's 'stick' people drawings generally work quite well!
Raised impressions require me to see you in person. The hand or foot print will be captured in pre rolled strong clay. I use this clay to create a cast of the impression which is raised up. Generally the raised impressions or 'outprints' show more detail than the imprints.
The casts are sanded and finished using specialised crafting paint and can be given a gold or silver antique finish or a natural finish.
Currently raised impressions are sold unframed, as soon as I find a framer that I am happy with I will be able to supply them framed (any local recommendations appreciated!).
I am not yet offering these, but they will become a part of the service very shortly. They are created using an alginate much the same as the dentist uses to take dental impressions! The mould is then used to create a 3d cast which is painted and finished in a similar way to the raised impressions.
Pottery prints are very easy to make! I use specialist non toxic ceramic paint which is painted on to the child's hand and then pressed against the item of choice. I currently do tiles, plates and mugs although this will be expanding soon. Personalisation such as names and dates can be added.
Pottery items come with instructions how to make them dishwasher safe so that they can be fully usable.