Friday, February 4, 2011

Hand Metal Stamping...

I said Friday for this tutorial right? Better late on Friday than never! I promised I would show you how I taught myself how to metal stamp. The part about teaching myself should give you a hint that I am not an expert at this at all, but we all have to learn some where.

The first step is the steel metal stamps. I purchased my at Harbor Freight. Great service and fast shipping. This set is the full alphabet, numbers and the "&" sign. I know you can find a whole array of letter styles and symbols, but I wanted to start out with the basics, especially at a great price.

Here's the nice little box all the letters come in.

Each letter or number is on the end of the steel rod.

Beware when you get your set of stamps. They are coated in oil to prevent rusting! I just wiped my clean.

I'm sure the expert stampers use a steel or metal stamping block or area, but I just use our cement walkway or the garage floor. I know...not great for delicate sterling silver pendants, but I'm just practicing on 20 cent washers from the hardware store. DON'T hammer on tile floors for obvious reasons. Unless you want to replace your tile floors.

Set your letter where you'd like. Remember to make sure the letter isn't upside down!! See this picture below...this first strike made an upside down "S".

That's how I ended up stamping on the back of the washer on the rough side. Oh well, practice makes perfect right?

My advice in the beginning is to not try to make them all line up. Make them all crooked on purpose! To make the letters stand out, take a black permanent marker and color in over the letters.

On the first one I made for the bookmark, I stamped it on the smooth side and all the black ink rubbed off.

When you rub the surface, the ink stays inside the depth of the letters to show up more.

See that light hue of the black ink still in the rough texture of the washers? That won't happen if the surface is smooth.

You can make the bookmark like I did in the previous post, add a ribbon for a necklace, attach a key chain etc...

It's also great for stamping card stock or thick paper.

Make sure you stamp the paper with something thick underneath or you'll end up with an "S" on you butcher block desk...don't ask. I should take a picture of it. "S" for stupid!

I've been collecting old silver flatware from flea markets or thrift stores. I only paid 20 cents for some of these. If you look online, you'll find flatten spoons that are stamped and used for plant and herb markers. So cute.

For the best inspiration, go to Google Images and in the search bar type in hand metal stamps, hand stamped washers, hand stamped spoons, hand stamped crafts etc...
Or you can click on all these links below...

The best source for supplies and inspiration is Etsy. I typed in metal stamping and here's the link for that. Click here.

I hope this little bit of info will start you off on a new crafting we all need to start a new hobby. LOL No hate mail for tempting you on a new project.

Have a great weekend,



  1. I've wanted to do this forever! Thanks for sharing all your tips and tricks.

  2. A great tutorial (love the what NOT to do's.) thanks so much for putting it together!

  3. You did a really good job on the tutorial. It looks like so much fun. BUT I won't say I'll go out and buy the stuff to do it because as it is right now I don't have time to do the stuff I need to get done. (I say that but after I show a friend I have a feeling we will be having fun with the metal stamping.)

  4. S is not for stupid....that is for being silly and forgetting what you were doing....Stupid is hitting the S on your forehead with a hammer...LOL

    I've done so many things like that....ya just have to laugh.


  5. Ok, love the tutorial. I have been wanting to do some metal stamping, but thought the stamps were too expensive. Sooo, anyhow, I just ordered the stamps from Harbor Freight and am looking around for things to stamp!! Thanks for the info!

  6. Thanks for sharing. I have a Harbor Freight near me. Might have to run there today.

  7. You come up with so many great ideas and then provide wonderful tutorials so that we can all do them, too. Thank you for sharing your creative endeavors with the rest of us. I think I feel my first visit to Harbor Freight in the very near future.

  8. such a good idea "s" for smart not stupid :))

  9. Great turorial, Karen, I second the notion that "S" stands for "SMART IDEA".

    I think Harbor Freight is going to see an increase in their sales, next week, LOL.

    Gail :)

  10. P.S. My wheels are turning--I can think of lots of uses for this tutorial in my garden shed this spring!

    Gail :)

  11. Thanks for sharing. Those are all great projects. One thing I would be careful of though, is in doing this on concrete, you may risk cracking your concrete. Better maybe, to put a board under your project.

  12. Ok Karen no hate mail but really why such a cool techniques and so easy to start. I just started into "art" quilting and bought supplies. I have a very patient husband but he is an accountant! lol
    Thank you for sharing this.

  13. Thanks so much. Didn't have much to do today, but now I have to go to Harbor Freight.
    Thanks for the ideas! I guess...

  14. I gotta run . . .well drudge through 22 inches of snow to the blacksmith shop to steal, no borrow his stamp set that he recently bought from Harbor Freight!!
    Thanks for the tips and links.

  15. Thanks for all the info. and the great tutorial.

  16. O.K. Karen I thought I was the only dumb one....
    I feel better now. I stamped upside down the
    first S too. I bought mine at Harbor Freight
    too for only $4 and some change. I stamped
    the flatten spoons but hubby had a heck of
    a time flattening some of the spoons. He put
    them in a vise and then ended up still
    having to hammer them inbetween two pieces
    of steel. They don't make spoons like that
    anymore.LOL. Thanks for all the tips and
    it does take practice but it is fun. I
    never thought about stamping card stock.
    I never thought about using a sharpie
    either so thanks!!!

  17. Thanks for the great tutorial. With my birthday and Mother's Day coming up......I'm spreading the word. My wish list now has a Metal Stamping set as #2....#1 is anything by Analee Hoey.... My first project will be to stamp some silver spoons for my herb garden. Thanks for sharing:)

  18. Oh man, this is a great tutorial! I'm lovin it.

  19. I'd love to try metal stamping. Maybe I can get myself a set of those stamps for my birthday next month! :0)

  20. That looks like a lot of fun. Thanks for the great tutorial, Karen.

  21. A good use of flattened spoons and and a bent fork is a wind chime. I have mine right by the window of my office so I hear its melody a lot.

    Like the idea of stamping plant labels.


  22. Super excited to try these for labeling! Super cool! Thanks!

  23. I'm in love with this project, I'm gonna go to Harbor Freight tomorrow. The washer bookmark was had my eye!

  24. HA HA HA Now I have a reason to go to Harbor Freight!

  25. Thanks Karen! Next stop Harbor Freight :) My husband is going to love that I have a new craft :)

  26. Thanks for the post... I already ordered my stamps and can't wait to try this...

  27. Thanks so much for the tutorial ... and so glad to know I am not the only one who makes "S"tupid mistakes lol... I have a nice 'stripe' in my hardwood floors where I was using my rotary cutter and ran off the edge of the cutting mat, straight into the floors. OOPS!!! :)


  28. Thank you so much. I went to the website and bought my own set to give this a try. I am too excited. I know I have more projects than I know what to do with, but this was so inexpensive I couldn't pass it up. I think my teen will love doing this as well.

  29. I love this, now I have to go get a stamping set! One suggestion when hammering the it over a flat block of scrap wood. It will absorb some of the shock & keep you from cracking/ chipping your concrete garage floor. Also, the galvanizing on those washers can be a problem for a lot of people's skin, but you could spray a light coat of clear polyurethane to coat. Thanks for sharing so many ideas!

  30. Thank you for the inspiration! I tried it one time and I don't think I hit hard enough, but I gave up. I'm definitely doing this again~!

  31. Thanks!! It looks so simple to do (with your help, lol!), but makes such cute pieces!

    That's a surprisingly reasonable price for the metal stamps! But, there's usually a 20% off coupon for Harbor Freight (good in-store only) in the "Parade" in the Sunday paper too! HTH! =)

    ~ Mara @ Super Savings

  32. Well, I thought this is something I can do! I'm not a crafty person.

    Bought my set at Harbour Freight and some silverplated spoons.

    How do you keep the 'letter rod' from sliding around when you hit it?!

    Have you tried your flatware yet?

    Any further tips would be sooo appreciated. I really want to make a few spoons for friend's gifts.

    Thanks sooo much!

  33. Hey! I was looking at this post going 'oh man, I GOTTA try that.' :)

    Just a quick question-- did your set only come with uppercase letters? I looked at the website & it didn't say. :(

  34. Thanks for the great posts. I am new to stamping. Looking for a nest stamp. Where can I find one?

  35. There are a wide variety of metal stamps at with free shipping and some of the best design stamps I have seen. Also, eBay seems to have a lot as well. Great ideas, thank you for sharing!

  36. I just printed out a set of letters small enough to fit on top with a little frame around them, cut them apart and stick them on clear contact paper (you could use package tape etc.). I stuck them on the top making sure that the letters were the way you would hold them to stamp and trimmed the edges of the contact. No more upside down letters.

  37. You could take a bright color of nail polish and after you wipe the stamps REALLY WELL--maybe even use some de-greaser and dry with the hair dryer etc---place a DOT on the TOP EDGE SIDE of the stamp=---the edge that would face UP so the letter is right side up.

    You can also use this on aluminum flashing for more permanent tags--and use bright color markers too--if you use light enough weight sheet metals (hobby or hardware stores) you can cut with kitchen or heavy scissors and use a ball point pen or any other sort of tool to make designs on this--my mother was an artist and did this for several building installations and it was great fun to play with the scraps!

    Also copper COMPRESSION washers--these are softer than the newer copper plumbing washers which you could break an arm stamping unless you hit 'em with some heat from a torch first. There are some good books and sites out these with more info on this.

    I believe Harbor Freight ALSO sells a small steel anvil or metal block for just this sort of thing--the harder the underside the less distortion and the more force you will KEEP on the item being whacked.

    If you really want the letters in line try a thin bead of something--maybe hot glue--to line up the edge of the stamps on--make sure you can remove it without damage! OR use a Sharpie to make a line. Some of the charm of these is the uneven line tho! You can also file the edges or even the center for a more "crafted" look

  38. THANKYOU! What a great tutorial. I am pinning this now...

  39. I've been collecting old silver flatware from flea markets or thrift stores. I only paid 20 cents for some of these. If you look online, you'll find flatten ...


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