Tuesday, September 22, 2015

DIY: Martha Stewart Crafts: Tiny Aluminum Dish

I was recently sent some Martha Stewart crafty supplies, & when I opened the box my heart went *pitter-patter* at the sight of her Metalworking Alphabet Stamp Set. I immediately went into brainstorm mode. I LOVE brainstorm mode: Notepads filled with scribbles & doodles....hot cups of tea...plus, candles + music to help expel the crafty joo joo. And so I came up with these sweet little lightweight dishes, celebrating & welcoming my favorite season. But this craft can totally be customized & personalized for anyone, any day of the year.

This supply list might look cray-cray. I'll explain...
• Martha Stewart Metalworking Alphabet Stamp Set
• Aluminum (I purchased a 12" x 30" roll that is .005 thick/36 guage. As an option, you could recycle a pop can. There are loads of tutorials on YouTube to show you how to properly cut a can.)
• Embossing pad (A cutting mat would work too. Just not a hard surface. Something with "give".)
• Small round shape to trace (My cup is 2 3/4" in diameter. Because of the lightweight nature of the dish you'll be making, I would keep the maximum measurement of the item you trace at 2 3/4".)
• Small round bowl for shaping (My bowl of choice is that metal egg poacher. But any heavy duty metal/plastic/wood/glass bowl would work, as long as the base is shallow & will shape your aluminum into a nice shallow dish/bowl shape.)
• Scissors
• Shaping tool (I used the round knobby end of that knitting needle. You want something that is small with rounded edges. I even experimented by using the back handle of those green scissors & it did the trick too.)
• Small hole punch. (1/8" is best!)
• Embroidery thread in your color(s) of choice
• Needle (small enough to go through holes you punch into the metal)
• Permanent marker
• Paintbrush
• Black paint
• Small paper towel or cloth/rag

Ok, now that all your weird supplies are gathered, let's DO this.
Trace your round shape onto the metal using the permanent black marker. Cut out this shape. As an option, you could wear gloves in this step, because the aluminum COULD cut you. I lived dangerously & didn't wear gloves.

These next steps involve the shaping of your flat piece of aluminum.
1. Center your aluminum circle shape above your shaping bowl.
2. With both hands, carefully + evenly push this shape into the bowl. It will buckle & fold all over. That's normal. Don't worry.
3. Again, with both hands, flatten those buckles & folds against the sides of the bowl with your fingers as much as you can.
4. Use your rounded shaping tool to smooth out the buckles & folds. Do this by holding the bowl with one hand on one side, & use the other hand with your shaping tool on the other side. Push & slide the tool all over. I found it easiest to start in the middle & rub the tool to the outside. I went side to side, up & down, in circles, just all over. The longer your work, the more smooth it will become.

Now you can punch holes evenly around the edge of your bowl. My small hole punch (pictured) actually broke. Not because of the aluminum. It was just headed in that direction. So I went out & bought a smaller punch---the 1/8" size. And I LOVE it!! So much better.

We can now personalize our bowl. Think of a word or a letter or something very short (this is a small dish afterall) that you want to stamp on your metal. It is so easy to slide letters onto the Metalworking Alphabet Stamp Set. The little notches make sure you're lining things up perfectly. Just remember: slide your letters in backwards so that they appear in the proper direction when you stamp them.
I actually had trouble using the stamp set at first. I couldn't get it to stamp a full word onto my metal. I even tried using lighter/softer metals, but it still didn't work. After playing a while, I DID have success stamping one letter at a time. Maybe it's just me. I don't know. I saw other crafty bloggers using the tool with no problem. It's me, isn't it? *sigh*

When you're stamping, use your embossing pad. Apply a lot of pressure, with a slight rocking motion. 

At this point, your dish will be a crunchy mess.

All you have to do to remedy that is to insert it BACK into your shaping bowl. Use your shaping tool to smooth out the edge you just punched & any other place on the dish that needs flattening. JUST BE CAREFUL NOT TO SMOOTH OVER YOUR WORDS. Go around the letters you just stamped. 

There. It's all smooth & awesome now.

Ready for the details?
Cut 3–3.5 feet of embroidery floss. (The amount you'll use depends on the number of holes you punched & how big or small your bowl is.) I used the full amount of threads in the floss. Double up your floss, bringing the ends together, so you're left with a loop at one end. This is how I secure my first stitch (as seen in 1). I used the blanket stitch all around the edge of my dish, as seen in the photos.

When you've stitched all around the dish, knot the end, Slide it under a nearby stitch & cut the floss.

You could also stitch it this way. It's more simple: just in one hole, around & through the other, etc.

I wanted the words on my bowl to stand out a bit more, so I smeared black paint all over the letters. 
(You could use any color of paint. Ooh, you could even coordinate with your floss color, too!)

With a flat paper towel, carefully wipe away the paint. The paint on the flat surface will disappear, but the paint that got into all the grooves & dents & crevices of your letters will remain.
On some dishes, I had to do this a couple times because I either wiped away too much paint, or my initial stamping didn't get deep enough into the aluminum. 

This stamping set is super awesome & I love it. It's made of sturdy plastic & comes with multiple letters, numbers & symbols.

Here's a sideview to give you a different perspective.

Use your nifty little dishes on a dresser or side-table to hold spare change, special treasures, or rings & things.

Hello Cozy Fall! I have missed you.
Welcome back! We're gonna have a splendid time together...

This post was written as part of a campaign with Martha Stewarts Crafts & their new fall & Halloween crafts + products. I was compensated with free crafty supplies. The opinions expressed in this post are my own. 


  1. Adorable! I love how you style everything too!

  2. How lucky are you!! Thanks for sharing this project with us. I love how you stage your photographs.


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