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The holidays are over, and it’s time for spring cleaning, and one of the keys to getting organized is labeling.  I decided to make labels for chore lists that are whimsical and vintage-looking, using metal stamps.  Instead of your local politician’s magnet or the one from the neighborhood dry-cleaner, you’ll have these pretty, coordinated list holders, which may motivate you to get the tasks done!

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These steel letter punches are often used for stamping leather or metal, but using them on cardboard reminds me of letterpress printing.  And you can get out some aggression while crafting – that’s always a good thing!

Plain letter stamps are available at hardware stores (Dudes, you may have a set in your garage.  They’re often used to mark tools.) and cost about $10. You can find some here.

Fancy fonts can be found from Impress Art, cost about $50.00 to $70.00 for a set.

How To — Making To-Do List Clothespins:

Items needed:

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  • Wooden clothespins
  • Magnetic tape
  • Cardboard ovals
  • Gesso
  • Dye-based ink pads
  • Decorative Papers
  • Glue Stick/Glue Dots
  • Hammer
  • Surface to Hammer on (heavy wood or steel block)
  • Letter Stamps/Punches

Prepare your ovals by painting with gesso. Set aside to dry.

Attach magnetic tape to clothespins.

Cover other side of clothespin with decorative paper.

Once ovals are dry, choose letter stamps, and find the center of your oval. Beginning at the center, carefully space out the letters Use a very light pencil to mark, if desired.

Working on top of the wooden or steel block, pound the stamp with one or two firm blows.  Lift to check your work.  Continue with remaining letters outward, alternating sides, to make sure your placement is even. Erase any pencil marks.

When letters are done, apply color by brushing surface of oval with inkpad.  Use your finger to fill in as necessary.

Color edge of oval with contrasting color.

Attach oval to clothespin using glue dots.

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Use on fridge or memo board to assign chores.

I also made labels for all the nuts in my house…

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And made these Happy Sticks.  I thought of using these as get-out-of-your-funk sticks (Think of them as anti- (tongue) depressors.).  You can also make encouragement or affirmation sticks, activity sticks for kids, or even chore sticks if kids fight over who does what.

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To make the sticks, I brushed the stamps very lightly on dye-based inkpads, then hammer-stamped them onto the craft sticks to give them color as well as dimension.

A note about letter stamps.  I’ve used both the basic and fancy versions for years.  The Impress Art font stamps are worth the money, especially if you have other projects in mind, and their fonts are cool!  They are clean (the others are greasy), and much easier to work with.  They’re more precise than the hardware-store versions, and easy to read.  I never stamp upside-down with the Impress Art stamps.

But if you’re just trying things out, or don’t know if the letters are something you want to invest in, start with the hardware store version.  They are sturdy, and work well for simple projects.

Now go out and get hammered!

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