Everything You Need to Know to Get Started With Metal Stamping
Metal stamping is a great way to personalize jewelry, gifts, and just about anything else you can think of. All you need are a few basic supplies and a little creativity to get started.
The Four Keys to Metal Stamping
Like everything else, practice makes perfect. But the nice thing about metal stamping is that it’s actually pretty easy and definitely something you can master after a few tries. I recommend getting a piece of scrap metal to practice on before moving on to something more valuable. You can get scrap metal at any hardware store, just make sure to tell them it’s for stamping so they don’t give you anything too thick.
You probably already have most of these already but here’s a quick guide to what you’ll need to get started.
Stamps – You can find metal stamps at any craft store or on-line. I recommend starting with the alphabet and then moving on to other shapes after you’ve had some practice and are sure you want to continue with the hobby.
Hammer – Any old hammer will do but the pros use a brass hammer which they claim distributes the impact more evenly so you get better looking stamps. I use a regular hammer and have been happy with the results so if you’re just starting out I recommend you do the same.
Steel Block – This is what you’ll do your stamping on. I’ve tried stamping on a wood surface before but you really need to use a thick solid piece of metal to keep everything from moving around while you’re working. Concrete or stone is more likely to scratch your metal and is not a good option.
Masking Tape – This is to keep what you’re working on lined up in the same position so you can stamp in a straight line.
Ruler or Tape Measure – You’ll want to measure out the spacing of your letters before you get started to make sure they’re even.
And of course, something to stamp! I’ve included some ideas of what to stamp below.
You can buy a full metal stamping kits and blank jewelry on amazon for pretty cheap.
3) Lining It Up
This is the first step in making something you’ll be proud of. Taking the time to measure out the spacing of your letters ensures they’ll be lined up correctly and will help give your project a professional look. I’ve definitely been guilty of rushing this step and usually end up with something I’m too embarrassed to give away as a gift. It’s a somewhat tedious but essential part of the process. Part of the charm of jewelry you’ve stamped yourself is that it isn’t perfect, but if it’s too uneven it will look sloppy.
First you want to tape the metal you’ll be stamping to your metal block with masking tape. Tape to be just below the stamp area. Try and get the tape as straight as possible so you’ll have an edge to follow.
Next you’ll need to measure out the spacing of your letters. If you want a letter every ⅛ of an inch you draw a line on the tape every ⅛ of an inch using your ruler or tape measure. Then you just have to center your stamps against the edge of the tape at each line to make sure everything is straight and evenly spaced.
Or, if you don’t care about even spacing you can just wing it. Heck, it’s your jewelry!
4) The Strike
No pressure, but you only get one chance to get it right. After you’ve lined up your stamp this is the moment of truth; this is where the magic happens. And for most beginners, this is the most nerve wracking part of the whole thing.
They key to a good strike is to hit the stamp firm and square. Hit it too hard and you can bend the jewely. Don’t hit it hard enough and your stamp won’t be visible. And you can only hit each stamp one time. If you try hitting it again you’ll get a blurry double image.
Most people are worried they’ll hit themselves. I know because that was my fear when I first started. But as long as you keep a firm grip on the stamp and keep your eyes on the spot you want to hit with the hammer you’ll be just fine. I’ve never hit my hand and I’ve been doing this a long time.
So make sure you practice enough with your scrap metal to the point where you can make the same hit time after time and you’re comfortable doing so. After a little bit of practice you’ll be ready to start personalizing your jewelry!
Metal Stamping Ideas
If you’ve found my blog you probably already have some metal stamping project ideas lined up but here are a few of my favorites:
Pet tags: I have pets and a lot of my friends have pets so this is where I started. You can get blank tags at your local pet store. They’re a great option because tags are pretty inexpensive and it won’t be a big deal if you make a mistake on one. They make great gifts and everyone I’ve given one to has really appreciated it.
Guitar Pick: For your favorite musician you can find metal guitar picks and stamp their name or band name into it. Just make sure they don’t lose it!
Keys: Put a code on your extra keys to remember which door they unlock. I started doing this for my extra sets I give to people staying at our house. 1 is for the front gate, 2 is for the front door, and three is for the garage.
- Beaducation made a nice and helpful metal stamping video you can check out here.
- Simplecrafter.com has a great tutorial.
Do you have any tips or other metal stamping ideas? Leave them in the comments and thanks for reading!