Metal Stamps – Tips and Techniques

by Rena Klingenberg.
(Jewelry Making Journal)

Metal Stamps - Tips and Techniques Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Metal stamps created the lettering on this washer pendant.

Metal stamps are fun, creative jewelry making tools.

These tips and techniques show you how to get great results, from the very first time you try metal stamping jewelry.

Learning the Technique:

It takes a bit of practice to get nice, even results when metal stamping jewelry.

I recommend practicing on pieces of scrap metal while you get familiar with using the stamps.

Metal Stamping Tools

In addition to your metal stamps, you’ll need just a couple of basic metal stamping tools:

  • A jeweler’s steel block or other very smooth, hard surface that can take some banging.
  • A metal hammer with a flat face; I use a regular hardware-store hammer. A fairly heavy hammer that’s still comfortable for you to use can make your stampings turn out better. (Don’t use your rawhide or nylon jewelry hammers on jewelry stamps – they’ll get torn up quickly.)

Other helpful items to have handy:

  • A small piece of non-skid, rubberized shelf liner.
  • Masking tape, blue painter’s tape, or post-it notes.
  • Fine-tip Sharpie markers, in black and / or any other colors you wish.
  • Rubbing alcohol, to remove excess Sharpie ink from your metal.

Tip for Using
Number and Letter Stamps

I recommend using a Sharpie marker to write the stamp’s number or letter on it:

Now it’s much easier to find the right stamp while you’re working on your project.

Also, if you’ve written your number or letter on the side of the stamp that will be facing you when you do your stamping, you’ll always know which way to hold it.

That helps you avoid accidentally stamping a letter or number upside down or sideways – which is a terribly easy mistake to make!

How to Label Dark-Colored Stamps:

If your stamps are black instead of light gray, you can dab a small spot of white paint near the top of each stamp.

After the paint dries, you can write the letter on each stamp’s white-painted spot with a black marker.

Getting Beautiful Results with Your
Metal Stamps

Part of stamping’s handmade charm is the imperfect alignment and spacing of letters and numbers.

If you embrace the lovely, rustic quality of metal jewelry stamping, you’ll get a lot of pleasure from this art form.

Here are a few techniques that can help you get beautiful results:

Put a small piece of rubberized, non-skid shelf liner under your steel block to hold your working surface completely still while you hammer:

Some people like to use masking tape to tape the item they’re stamping to the steel block. This helps them hold the item steady while stamping it.

Before you start, line up all the metal stamps you’ll use for your project and put them in the order in which you’ll need them:

This can help you avoid making “typos” in your project!

It also makes it easier for you to stay in your rhythm of hitting each stamp uniformly with the same amount of force.


Hit each stamp only once with your hammer. If you hit it more than once, you’re likely to get blurred or double images.

To keep your stamped message in more of a straight line as you work, you can use one of these methods before you start:

  • Use a ruler and fine-point Sharpie marker to draw a “baseline” on your metal, so you’ll know where to set each stamp.
  • Or instead of drawing a Sharpie line, place a strip of masking tape, blue painter’s tape, or the sticky end of a post-it note on your piece of metal to mark the baseline for your text.

Only Part of My Stamp is Making an Impression in the Metal!

This can happen sometimes, especially with intricate stamp designs. Try this technique to get the full design:

Place the stamp where you want the letter to go on your metal.

Then slightly rock the stamp toward you and hammer it; then slightly rock the stamp away from you and hammer it again.

Make Your Metal Jewelry Stamping
More Visible

It can be hard to read a stamped message on metal, unless you bring out the letters or numbers with color:

On sterling silver and copper, you can darken your stampwork beautifully by oxidizing the piece, then cleaning most of the oxidization off of everything but the letters or numbers.

You can get a similar effect on most metals by using Gilders Paste to darken your stamping.

Also on most types of metal, you can use fine-tip Sharpie markers to color or darken your stamping:

And depending on your project, you may want to use colors other than black.

Here Santa enjoys a jolly bit of red, while Frosty sports a chilly shade of blue:

(The Santa and snowman Christmas ornaments above were something my mom had lying around that got snatched up and stamped! I don’t know the source of them. You may find something similar in your local craft store or by an online search for something like “flat metal Christmas ornaments”.)

After coloring your stamping with Sharpies, you can easily wipe off the excess ink using a small piece of paper towel soaked in rubbing alcohol:

I hope you enjoy the wonderful design possibilities of metal stamps.

It’s a beautiful form of texting on jewelry! :o)

Please share your tips for
metal stamping jewelry!


Well Written Tutorial
by: Noreen

Your tutorials are always so clearly written and easily understood and followed. I do have one suggestion to add: Be sure to hold the stamp straight up and down, because if it is the least tilted the impression will not be evenly deep. Thanks for sharing your expertise.

Great Tutorial
by: Michelle

Thank you for sharing your tutorial! It is so clear and easy to understand!

my version – stamping brass
by: Thejoyfulgem

A friend sent an etched brass slab. I cut, finished edges and carried the daydreamer theme to the backside of the pendant. I love this look. May just have to keep it for myself. I wasn’t sure it would turn out since one side was already etched, but I was surprised and pleased with the result.

stamping blanks

I love the colored blanks & tags you used to stamp on. Where can I get those?

Source for colored tags and other stuff I stamped
by: Rena

Thanks for asking!

The cream-colored and gunmetal mini-tags you can see in my review of the American Typewriter letter stamps are made by “7 Gypsies”, and I ordered them from Ornamentea. I think they all came in packs of about 12.

The 7 Gypsies rectangular mini-tags I used are called “photo turns” and the round ones are “photo frames”. I think they’re actually intended to be scrapbooking supplies, so you may want to check in that section of local craft stores.

All of the washers (metal donuts) I used came from a local hardware store.

The Santa and snowman Christmas ornaments – I’m sorry I don’t know the source – they were something my mom had lying around that got snatched up and stamped! :o)

I recommend looking through your jewelry supplies (and items around the house) for all sorts of metal doo-dads that have stamping potential!

by: Anonymous

Of course Ornamentea! I forget about about neat and funky items they have.

Thanks so much

Random Letters are Fun, too!
by: Virginia Vivier – Esprit Mystique

I’m not as good as Rena is at keeping the letters in a nice straight line. I made a few pendants with random placement of letters and it gives a fun, casual look to the message. Then, when I make a mistake, and one letter is higher or lower than it should be, it’s OK.

by: Made by JD

Great tutorial Rena!

Love your tips. Can’t wait to do some stamping too!

Where did you get your stamps?

I noticed that has some like this.

Yes, they are Infinity stamps
by: Rena

Thanks so much, Jeannie!

Also, these are the same stamps I reviewed here: Letter Stamps.

great tutorial
by: Anonymous

I do practice on a piece of leather, draw the shape of my blank on it and then place the leather on the block and stamp your design that way when you stamp your blank you know how to space the word and will know what your design is going to look like!!
Believe me I ruined lots of my silver disks before I started using the leather and now after a lot of practice my works is finally looking much better.

No waste!
by: Debra Gikas

In order not to waste my copper, i practice stamp on a small legal pad…The impression it leaves shows me I am getting better at getting it straight…AND it has lines! Of course it is not the same hardness for practicing depth…but it has been helpful to me.

thank you
by: Agnes

I have been searching and searching for more info on metal stamping….bought a book, some tools and waiting for my blanks to arrive. Going to start on this new jewelry making idea…..and your info was the first that makes the instructions so clear and easy to understand….thank you

defining letters
by: Gail

i love metal stamping and working on learning more… what i have tried is the liver of sulfer to darken the letters. this technique does work but looking at the pieces on etsy for example the letter look way more defined and darker. does anyone have suggestions on how to accomplish this?

by: Anonymous

when i hit the stamp only once, it doesnt leave an indention. i guess im not hitting it hard enough. when i hit it multiple times, it doesnt blur. how can you hit it only once and still get a visible letter?

Hitting the stamp just once
by: Rena

Hi Anonymous,

What kind of hammer are you using? Maybe that’s the issue.

I use an ordinary, regular size, metal hardware-store hammer.

I make sure I’m holding the stamp completely straight up and down, and then give it one good whack with the hammer.

Also, what kind of surface are you stamping? I found that there were a few hardware store washers that were nearly impossible to make a mark in with my stamps. At the moment I can’t recall what metal those were made of, but it was very hard stuff.

Luckily I had bought a variety of washer types to experiment with!

Please let me know if you still need help! :o)

Re: help
by: Anonymous

i am using just a regular store hammer as well. this is my first time to try, so i was just doing it on a magazine i didnt care about! HA! would doing it on concrete be ok? like my garage floor? or does it need to be on metal? what kind of metal is good to do it on? should i buy one specifically for the purpose of metal stamping? i think im scared to give it one good wack! HAHA! scared ill miss!

Stamping without hitting your fingers
by: Rena

I can totally understand worrying about missing the stamp and hammering your fingers instead! :o)

And about using concrete as your stamping surface – I think the concrete would leave marks on the back of the piece you’re stamping – which you may not want.

I use a square metal jewelry anvil as shown in the photos above, and it works very well for that purpose. If you don’t have one, you may want to check your hardware / home improvement store for something similar made of metal with a smooth surface.

You might want to start practicing stamping on a notepad or post-it note pad. That way you can get a good feel for your stamps and how to hammer them without having to practice on expensive jewelry supplies.

You can start by hitting the stamp softly till you feel good about your aim with the hammer, then gradually try hitting harder. You may have to stamp up several sheets of the notepad till you hit your stride with the hammer, but practice is the best way to develop your technique.

Please let me know how you progress, and if you have any other questions! :o)

Practical Tutorial
by: B

Thank you so much! I love how practical your tutorial is, as you use simple items such as a regular hammer rather than an expensive stamping hammer, and shelf liners, rather than fancy rubber block, a sharpie instead of dangerous oxidizers…

Thanks for proving that this can be done cost efficiently!

Thank you!
by: Rena

Thanks so much for your kind feedback, B! I try to keep things simple, low-cost, and less toxic whenever possible.

The sharpie-darkening technique is actually quite durable.

Last summer I stamped a washer with my son’s name and blackened the letters with a sharpie marker. This washer is used as a “name tag” on his mess-kit bag for Boy Scouts.

This bag (including its stamped name tag) has been on numerous scout camping trips – where it’s been washed, rained on, dragged around, subjected to all kinds of weather and other hard use – but the sharpie-blackening hasn’t faded or washed off the metal tag at all. It’s still just as dark and well filled-in as it was when it was new.

by: B

That is great! I will definitely be using the Sharpie method. πŸ™‚ As I’ve been looking into this further, I had a question for you: What has your experience (if any) been like using aluminum blanks. Does the sharpie then rubbing alcohol work okay on aluminum too?

I’m sixteen years old and I’m going to be making a metal stamped necklace for my mom for mother’s day, with the names of her children (4) the foster children we have cared for (2 so far). Then, if we have other little ones who stay with us, I will add their names to the necklace.

All of that to say that using sterling discs gets kind of pricey for the amount I need, so I’m looking for a cheaper option…


B – Using Sharpies on Aluminum
by: Rena

Hi B, I’m pretty sure that aluminum washers have been among the items I’ve stamped and then darkened with sharpies.

If you’re looking for low-priced, stampable metal discs and donuts that aren’t sterling silver, check in your local hardware store or Lowe’s / Home Depot. Lots of interesting, cheap metal items there!

Craft and scrapbooking stores also sometimes have doodads with potential for stamping.

On my Letter Stamps page, the small round and rectangular tags came from Ornamentea – they are mini photo-frames and photo-turns that were quite cheap to buy. They weren’t made for the purpose of stamping, but they worked really well for it!

I love the idea of the Mother’s Day necklace with your mom’s children and foster children. A fantastic idea, and I’m sure she will treasure it.

You were a temptress!
by: Sheri from Edmonton, AB

I love you already! Your clear and tempting tutorial got my mind ticking for Xmas gifts to relatives, promo items for my husband’s small business or a simple “here’s a gift for you for being such a nice person!” that today, I bought the only and last metal stamp (so I had no choice of font)and anvil at my local jewelry store supplier. The other tools I already have so I will keep my eyes open for any metal in the house to get started! Yahoo! Thanks for the idea!!

cleaning with alcohol
by: Anonymous

thank you so much for your great tutorial. I have just gotten my alphabet stamps last week and have tried cutting some metal sheet that i bought, but not very successfully. I tried stamping and got an impression but very faint. i did not know about the sharpie and cleaning the excess off with alcohol. cannot wait to try that this afternoon. and i must not be hitting it hard enough. my workbench has a bit of a bounce to it, so will have to find a different surface.

I found my steel lettering stamps
by: Anonymous

At Harbor Freight. They have 1/8″, 1/4″ and larger letters!

by: Cath Mc

I have come across your tutorial by accident-i am now going to leave this site and find a website to buy a set of metal stamps and some copper blanks-Thank you so much for sharing. You have inspired me to try a new craft.
Your a excellent tutor!
Best Wishes from the UK xx

Glad to hear it!
by: Rena

I’m absolutely thrilled to hear how much this tutorial has helped / inspired so many folks here. Like most jewelry activities, stamping is quite addictive – no metal surface in your house will be safe after this! πŸ™‚

Oh What Fun!
by: Nancy Vaughan

Thanks for all of the information on using sharpies. And thank you Rena for providing a place where we can exchange idea and learn from each other.

A few weeks ago I borrowed a set of stamps from a friend just to play around with. Well, I don’t mind telling you I had more fun than I expected so I had to buy my own set of stamps. Since I work primarily with copper and use a lot of sheet metal I had plenty of scraps to practice on.

Quite some time ago I bought some metal snip. They are great for making straight line cuts and convex curves. They are also great for making shapes for stamping especially if you like to work with free forms.

I’ve done stamping on both copper and brass sheet as well as commercially made discs in both metals. And I have discovered if you add color from a torch you have limitless design possibilities.

by: Anonymous

I SEEM to have a couple options for buying my metal stamps. Beadsmith has some cheap ones but I want to make sure they are good quality. Are there certain characteristics these stamps should have? Made of a certain type of steel for instance? I dont knwo where to get them. Are they all pretty much the same?

Different brands of stamps
by: Rena

Hi Anonymous, I don’t think I can answer your question.

I would phone any of the suppliers you’re considering. Ask what the metal is, and where they feel these stamps fall on the quality scale. Most suppliers have staff who are knowledgeable about their products and willing to answer nearly anything you ask about them.

My experience with metal stamps is limited to the three sets I own:

1) A cheap, generic stamp set I bought years ago – in this set, two of the stamps came with a manufacturing goof. On the number 4 stamp and the letter C stamp of this set, the characters are messed up so you can’t read the stamping from them. I’m not sure what type of metal they are, but I’ve seen a very similar stamp set (not sure if it’s the same product) on several of the major jewelry suppliers’ websites. They came in a burgundy-colored plastic case with a sky-blue sticker that says “Pittsburgh”.

2) Another cheap, generic stamp set I bought years ago. Not sure what the metal is. This set works fine. It came in a royal-blue plastic case with no stickers or other manufacturer’s info.

3) A stamp set from Infinity Stamps that I’ve had for a year or two. These are much higher quality than my other two sets, and they’re also much higher priced. If you plan to do a lot of stamping, I would go for a higher quality.

I hope this helps somewhat! πŸ™‚

by: Mandy

I just got my stamps yesterday and they are oily. How do I clean them? I do not want them to rust but don’t care for slimy either. Thanks for all the info here. I am ready to get started.

Oil on stamps
by: Rena

Hi Mandy! I would use a cloth rag or paper towel to wipe off the excess oil – especially off the shaft of the stamps so you can hold them without slipping – and then have fun stamping!

by: Susan

Perfect. I just started metal stamping and your tips are extremely helpful. It’s trial by error, and I’ve made most of the ones you’ve already mentioned, so I appreciate your solutions! Keep stamping!

Stamping addiction
by: Rena

Thanks so much for your lovely feedback, Susan! I hope you’ll post some of your stamped creations when you have some you’d like to share here! We’d all love to see the projects you’re doing.

This was so helpful!
by: Fancy Nancy

I am just starting to add some metal stamping into my leather bracelets and am sort of going in blindly. I have had trouble with a few of the things you set straight here. I really appreciate the tips as well, so simple and helpful! Thanks so much! I am about to add the items with metal stamping into my etsy shop (within the next month).

Metal Thickness
by: Alexis

Hi Rena,

I was wondering what metal thickness you use for stamping?

metal stamping
by: Vel

I am wanting to buy some metal stamps, but don’t know about how large to buy. I like the American typewriter look. What mm is that? When looking at what to buy they have 2mm 3mm 4mm 5mm 6mm. I am wanting something that will stay out and be seem clearly. Like a name for instance. Also where to buy and the cost they vary so much.Any help you could give me would be great.

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  1. Great tips! I bought a metal stamp set from Pick Your Plum and have yet to use it. Maybe now I won’t be so intimidated to try it! Thanks for sharing.

  2. That looks so easy! I love the look of stamped jewelry. Maybe now I can make my own

  3. This turned out beautiful! Would make a great giveaway!

  4. Thank you for this! I just received a stamping set and had so-so results from my first attempt. This will help me a lot! Found you via the Inspire Me Monday blog hop!

  5. Thank you so much for these tips. I bought my metal stamps but have not yet used them because I am a little bit intimidated. These tips will help me get started! Thanks a TON!

  6. Thanks! I’ve been wanting to try this for a long time, so your tips are helpful!

  7. Thanks for the tips! I haven’t tried this project yet, but it’s definitely on my list!

  8. I’ve always wanted to try jewelry stamping! thanks for these great tip!
    glad you shared with us at tip toe thru tuesday!

  9. This is great! I’m always trying to find new tips like this on jewelry making. Thanks!

  10. LOVE this idea, Rena! What a wonderfully easy tutorial! I’ve used my stamps on clay tags in the past, but never metal. I think I need to try this out! Thanks for the great lesson today! πŸ™‚

    xoxo laurie

  11. Another great post! You keep coming up with some awesome ideas, and great instructions. You are an inspiration and I am so glad to see another one of your posts, keep up the awesomeness!

  12. Another great post. Thank you for all of your hard work. You do flawless work, and the instructions are perfect. You are amazing and I look forward to the next post:)

  13. I have some metal stamps and have been meaning to give it a try, but wasn’t sure where to start. Thanks for the tips–I think I’m ready to give the project a try finally.

  14. I bought some metal stamps months ago but was ‘afraid’ to use them but I think I will try them now.

  15. So inspiring and well written. You really make me want to give this a try. Thanks for sharing your tutorial on beColorful

  16. Great tips! Thank you for joining TTF last week. Hope to see you again. Have a fun day!

  17. Thanks for the great tips! I’ve been wanting to try this for awhile now and I think I’m ready to tackle it!

  18. Thanks so much for sharing on craft schooling Sunday, a great post and looks like there’s lots more to learn in the comments!

  19. LOVE your tip about writing the letters on the stamps.. can’t believe I never thought of that.. I’ve been putting them back in the alphabetical order in the wood block they came in and squinting my eyes!

  20. This is an amazing tutorial on how to do this! I’ve read a few trying to decide if this is something I want to do/invest in and this is the best resource I’ve seen! Thanks for sharing!!

  21. OK, I followed all your tips! Thank you so much! The sharpie is a great tool….

  22. Hi Rena, I’m featuring this project on Impatiently Crafted Sundays this weekend. Thank you for your submission! stop by again and participate, love your work/projects.

  23. Great job on the tutorial!

  24. New to this whole stamping thing, but love it! !! Your tutorial was awesome! !! Very clear and easy to follow. Few questions-how often do you need to live your stamps… is there a sign I should watch for? How do you lube stamps?

  25. This was a very helpful and informative tutorial. The tip about a regular hardware store hammer was most appreciated.


  26. Does anyone have any tips for stamping on narrow pieces of metal (copper), specifically a cross? I always have the problem of the metal curving as I stamp the word. I would LOVE help on this if anyone has any tips that help. Thanks!!!

  27. I have been playing with stamping on serving spoons as gifts- any advice on getting good results when stamping on a curved surface? My problem is having the spoon want to rock back and forth while I am placing my stamp and my spacing/alignment not being as uniform as I’d like as a result of the movement. I don’t want them to be perfectly uniform, i think that would make is lose some charm, but I do want it to be better than it currently is… thoughts?

  28. Ilene struck says:

    I recently talked to someone who said in order to get their letters black they used a wax based substance but would not say what it was said they think its better then a sharpie. Have any ideas on what it is????

  29. Thanks so much for sharing. I hopped over from Homemaker on a Dime. I’ve been collecting silverware to start yet another hobby!!!

  30. Thanks for the great info! I’ve stamped washers – hammered and hammered, trying to get it to imprint enough to see well. Now I know to color them! All your tips are very helpful. πŸ™‚
    His blessings,

  31. Thanks for the great tutorial. I’ve wanted to try out some stamping, and this is going to be so helpful.

  32. Jackie Davidson says:

    Rena, can we use a sharpie to darken stampings on sterling silver, too? It sounds like above, you say “on other types of metal” meaning NOT on sterling or copper? I would like to darken without using harsh chemicals to oxidize. I have tried the “egg” method to oxidize and that works nicely, but for stamping, it would be so much easier and quicker to use the sharpie. I am currently buying new tools for your upcoming class, and I am also purchasing tools for stamping my sterling silver. Thanks!

  33. Hi Jackie, I’ve used Sharpies to darken sterling silver, copper, and various hardware metals. It’s worked wonderfully, and is very durable. And I’m with you – I prefer to use as few chemicals as possible.

    Here you can see Sharpie ink on copper stamping:
    Adjustable Class Ring Tutorial.

  34. That is so cool. I remember wearing stamped jewelry when I was a teenager. Great tutorial. Visiting from The Gathering Spot πŸ™‚

  35. Michele says:

    Super neat project. Thanks so much for the detailed tutorial:)

  36. Thanks for the tips! I bought some tools a while back when they were on clearance but could never quite figure it out, I think it’s because I wasn’t using a block..

  37. You always have great tutorials. I imagine that children could get involved by picking out the designs or helping with the hammer. They might turn out a little more child-like but fun just the same. Thanks for sharing on Artsy Play Wednesday.

  38. Thanks for the tips. I have the metal stamps and the metal pieces, but I have never tried before. Today’s the day!

  39. This looks so cool! Smart idea to label them first! I’ve never done any jewelry making, but I can see that being a problem for me πŸ™‚ Thanks

  40. Great tutorial!
    I have looked and read plenty tutorials on the subject, but I just love how you added special tips. Like marking the stamp itself and also using tape for guide.
    I bought my stamps today, I thought I had washers laying around the house but I couldn’t find them..I found in my jewelry stash some flat blanks…. They were too thin that they tend to bend when I hammered. I will try again tomorrow after a trip to Lowe’s. I will surely keep your tips in mind. Thanks.

  41. I LOVE the tip to use a sharpie and write the letter on you stamp….GENIUS!

  42. Great tutorial. Thank you for sharing it with us at TTF!

  43. Great tutorial! I’ve always wanted to this. I’ve got to get myself some of these metal stamps so I can try it.

  44. Wow – thanks for the tips! I’ve been working with metal for a while but I’m just starting stamping it and I’ve been having some problems. This is really helpful!

  45. These are great tips! I love stamped jewelry – I can’t wait to try out some of these!

  46. These are great tips! Thank you for sharing with Small Fine Print! I’ve pinned this to my tips and tricks board on pinterest for future reference. I have a stamp set that is collecting dust, i’ve never braved trying it!


  47. Great tutorial!

  48. How beautiful. I’ve admired metal stamped jewelry and now I know how to try making my own. Thanks for sharing at Inspire Us Thursday.

  49. Just when I think I can’t take on another hobby you tempt me. πŸ˜€ This looks so fun and you make it look easy. Thanks for sharing.

  50. I enjoy your tutorials and always come away wanting to do your latest project!

  51. Hi, Rena, I love your awesome tutorials but I’ve tried these stamps and I am rotten at it. They are thin and in the wrong place. But yours are beautiful! Thanks for showing how, anyway. Linda

  52. Always love this Thanks for sharing again on my blog hop!

  53. Great tutorial. Thanks so much for sharing with Adorned From Above’s Blog Hop. We can’t wait to see what you have to share this week.
    Have a great week.
    Debi and Charly

  54. Jeannette says:

    Hi Rena,
    I recently bought the metal stamp from bead smith in gothic font. But I have a lot of difficulty in getting the impression on my blanks. Only a fraction of it is impressed no matter how hard I whack it . And only alphabet like I and J can be properly impressed.

    Any tips and suggestion. ? Or is the gothic font too thin to work with?

    Thanks in advance!

  55. I bought a set of stamps and hammer at Harbor Freight. Not to expensive but wanted to try this to add to my jewelry making collection, thought if I stayed with it, I could buy a better set down the road. I also purchased stainless steel washers from Menards, I didn’t have very good luck. Not sure if the wood I put the washer on to stamp wasn’t good for this or what. Is there a better thickness to use? I’m pretty sure I hit it hard enough. Can you tell me a little about the block you use? My boyfriend is in construction so usually he had something that will work for what I need. Also, I asked about the stamps being oily and he said its to keep them from rusting. Any help would be appreciated! I don’t want to give up yet.

  56. Hi Tammy, I use a standard jeweler’s steel block that you can get from most jewelry suppliers who carry tools. Any supplier’s website should have the details and specifications your boyfriend needs. Also, you may want to experiment with a variety of washers – aluminum, copper, etc. – some are much easier to stamp on than others. πŸ™‚

    Hi Jeannette, you may want to try stamping on a softer metal to see if that may be part of the issue. You might also try “rocking” your gothic stamp – place the stamp where you want the letter to go, then slightly rock the stamp shaft toward you and strike the stamp; then slightly rock the stamp away from you and strike it again. Sometimes this can help you get more of the details in your stamping. πŸ™‚

  57. Hi,
    I am just wondering what you are using for the colours? Is it pattina or just a sharpie?
    Thanks πŸ™‚

  58. The colors on Santa and the snowman? Those are also Sharpie pen ink.

  59. Michele Pequeno says:

    Hi! Great tutorial. I was wondering if you had any tips on cutting metal and smoothing out the edges so its not sharp… I bought a sheet of 20 ga metal to do some stamping but am having a hard time cutting it. It’s coming out sharp on the edges which I think would ve dangerous… thank you!

  60. Hi Michele! You can use a jewelry file, and also #0000 steel wool to smooth off those sharp metal edges.

    In case this helps, here’s a tutorial where I’ve cut and smoothed sheet metal, then stamped on it:
    Adjustable Class Ring.

  61. Great tutorial!! Never believed it was so easy I bought my metal stamp set and now I’ll make my own thank you so much have a happy Christmas!

  62. Is there anything else you can use besides buying the jeweler’s block? If you may only be doing this once for a project??

  63. Katy Ritter says:

    What a wonderful website and tutorial! I am always looking for new craft projects to try and I believe I have found it!

    I will be on my way to buy materials shortly, but am in need of hypoallergenic materials, as I am allergic to nickel. I know that I am not the only one out there with a nickel allergy, so I would like to try and make some things that are nickel free, or at least make things that are suitable for allergy sufferers, like myself- trust me, this is one allergy that is quite painful, as I can’t even wear belts with nickel in them. Does anyone know a way to coat the washers, or other metals I use so that the nickel wouldn’t be a problem?

    Any help would greatly be appreciated!!!!

  64. Thank you for your compliments, Katy! πŸ™‚

    There are lots of non-nickel jewelry metals. Many jewelry components mention on the package (or in the online listing) that they are nickel-free.

    You should also be able to find nickel-free metal components such as genuine brass and copper, Argentium sterling silver, 14kgf, niobium, aluminum. If you have any doubt about the metal content, contact the supplier and ask.

    About coating metals that may contain nickel:

    I haven’t done this myself, but I have heard of other jewelry artists covering metals with a couple of coats of clear nail polish to provide a barrier from nickel. If you’re stamping the metal, I would think you’d need to stamp first and use the nail polish afterward. That would mean wearing gloves of some sort while you do the stamping.

    And again, I haven’t done this nail polish barrier myself, and am not sure it’s a scientifically-approved way to avoid skin contact with nickel jewelry. You might want to ask your doctor, allergist, or dermatologist.

    I’ll be interested to hear what metal you wind up using, Katy – and how it turns out for you!
    Wishing you the best of luck with your projects! πŸ™‚

  65. barbara meagher says:

    Not quite sure that I understand the idea of stamping on leather (posted by Anonymous) as an initial guide for placing the letters. How does the transfer from leather to metal occur?Is the leather placed on top of the metal and used as a guide?Anyone able to enlighten me? The entire tute was so inspiring,I am rarin’ to go…….

  66. Hi Barbara, thanks for your excitement about this tute! πŸ™‚

    Regarding what Anonymous said about the leather:

    “I do practice on a piece of leather, draw the shape of my blank on it and then place the leather on the block and stamp your design that way when you stamp your blank you know how to space the word and will know what your design is going to look like!! Believe me I ruined lots of my silver disks before I started using the leather and now after a lot of practice my works is finally looking much better.”

    Anonymous is using the leather to make a practice draft (drawing a practice version of the metal piece onto the leather, and then practicing the letter placement and stamping technique on the leather) BEFORE stamping on the actual metal item.

    After doing a test run on the leather, Anonymous puts the leather aside and stamps directly on the metal item.

    Doing a practice draft on leather, cardboard, etc. is an especially great idea when you’re using expensive metals – and want to be sure of your letter placement and technique before making permanent marks in the metal! πŸ™‚

  67. I bought some zinc plated washers and some 2mm lowercase stamps. Its not working. I don’t know if I’m just bad at it (though my dad tried too, and he hit it much harder) or if my metal is too hard or if my stamps are just too small… any ideas I feel like I have been trying to figure this out forever and I’m so frustrated!

  68. Hi Andrea,

    Some of the hardware-store washers I’ve bought have been far too hard to stamp. You might try aluminum or copper – you can find copper washers at Harbor Freight and at various other places online, if you do a Google search for them. If you’re shopping in your hardware store, you may want to get washers in a variety of metals, and keep track of which ones work well for stamping.

  69. Donna says:

    Love this concept! Where do you buy the metal stamps to use? Looking forward to your answer!

  70. Hi Donna! You can get metal stamps at most jewelry suppliers. Do an online search for “metal jewelry stamps” and you’ll find stamps in a variety of typefaces, sizes, and price ranges. Also, if you have a local craft store or bead store, they probably carry metal jewelry stamps.

  71. Sharon M. says:

    I am just starting to metal stamp and have been collecting all I need to make my jewelry.

    I came across an item called “The thumb saver stamp holder tool”. My tip is about this item.

    Instead of getting the thumb saver tool, I use a spring type clothes pin to hold my letter stamps in place. The pin holds the stamp pretty tight. I can see where I’m placing the stamp and I saved that cost so I can buy more stamping blanks.

    If that pin gets broken all I do is grab another from the package of 36 clothes pins from the dollar store.

  72. I’m just getting into stamping, first attempt on guitar pick. It didn’t turn out so great. I was stamping on aluminum. What makes the imprint show on the back side? Had to whack it to get letter to show. I’m using Beadsmith stamps. Also, I purchased some from Harbor Freight. Thank you.

  73. Hi….. I am trying this new hobby and am liking the premise of it so far….but I am having trouble finding simple designs (non letters) There are many generic ones but I was wondering if it is possible to make my own? Or, is there a certain type of artist I can approach to ask for a commission?

  74. Hi Judy, if the metal is fairly thin, the imprinting may show on the back side of the piece. However, that’s not necessarily a problem for the finished piece, if it will be worn in such a way that the back will rarely show.

    Hi Tammy, yes, you can have metal stamps made with your own designs if you like – do a Google search for “custom metal stamps” and you’ll find several suppliers of those. πŸ™‚

  75. Hi Rena, thanks for a great tutorial. I have a question about the thickness of the bench block. I’m looking at two on ebay, one is 1/2″ thick, the other 3/4″ thick…is the thickness going to make much of a difference? Thank you for any thoughts on the matter.

  76. Hi Anita, my bench block is 4″x4″x3/4″. I’ve had it for many years and it’s been used a lot – for stamping as well as all sorts of other jewelry projects. It’s a reliable, durable tool and has had lots of use. I have never used a 1/2″ bench block, so I couldn’t really give you a comparison of working with the two different thicknesses. When it comes to jewelry tools, my personal strategy is to purchase the sturdiest, highest quality in my price range. I hope this helps! πŸ™‚

  77. Mandy Rice says:

    I bought a 1/8 set from harbor freight today for less than $15 and a hammer for $2.99. Been banging away all day and they are great!! Thanks for the tips. Wish I had read them sooner πŸ˜‰

  78. Hi, I tried metal stamping recently but couldn’t get it right. This blog looks so helpful, so I’m hoping you may be able to help. When I stamp, the metal significantly bends and the letter isn’t defined on the metal, so I’m wondering if it may be the supplies I bought. I tried hammering harder and more softly, on the block I bought and on a different surface, and on both types of metal discs I bought, but I get the same result. The supplies I have: Tekton 5/32” number & letter stamp set, Cousin weighted steel head 6-inch mini hammer (by Cousin: Tool Basics), Solid rubber bench block (2-1/2″ x 2-1/2″), Thumb-safe Stamp Holder, Round Bronze Tone Blank Stamping Tags Pendants 20mm(6/8″), frosted anodized aluminum 1” 21-gauge discs. Any thoughts or advice? Thanks so much!!

  79. Charlotte Smith says:

    Hi Rena and everyone, just wanted to let all of you know that I live in Durham, NC which is around 25 miles plus from Raleigh, where Oramentea is located and have been there many times and know the owner Cynthia Deis, who years ago gave me lots of goodies from her store for a meeting I organized for a bunch of NC jewelry makers. Her store is not like any other craft or bead store, very interesting. Harbor Freight also sells copper washers in different sizes. I love stamping on metal, which right now is my main project of making “sayings” and initial disc pendants. Another FYI, I found on a website PJ Tools, there is another alternative for silver called Alkeme and can only find discs now. Planning to order some soon.
    Oh yes, Rena, love everything you do, so keep up the good work and wish you were closer to Durham, Raleigh, Chapel Hill. Hope this has helped.

  80. Lillian orsino says:

    Thank you SO much!! I was on Etsy and I saw a lot of things like this but they were so expensive! So I thought I could make them myself and I kid you not you are the ONLY helpful site I’ve found in my hour of searching. Thanks a ton.

  81. Renee Russell says:

    I’ve just recently tried my hand at stamping. When I stamped a bracelet, the surface is no longer smooth. Is this normal? It is as if the edge of the letter imprint is rough.

  82. How did you cut or stamp out the Santa and Snow man figures? I like the lettering you added, but I would really like to be able to get those nice cuts and I don’t think I can do it by hand?


  83. Thanks for asking, Justin! The Santa and snowman Christmas ornaments were something my mom had lying around that got snatched up and stamped! I don’t know the source of them. You may find something similar in your local craft store – or by an online search for something like “flat metal Christmas ornaments”. I hope this helps! πŸ™‚

  84. Kirstie Christensen says:

    Where can I buy a set like this???? LOVE LOVE LOVE X

  85. Hi Kirstie! Thanks for asking. This stamp set is “American Typewriter” from . You can also see more stuff I stamped with this same set here: Letter Stamps. Have fun! πŸ™‚

  86. Cynthia Evans says:

    I just started stamping on metal! Been stamping with rubber and paper for over 20 yrs!

    I am having trouble getting my image on the washers. Not with the letters but with a small owl stamp! I’m sad cause I love owls!

  87. Hi Cynthia, can you describe the trouble you’re having with stamping your owl? For example, is it only partially stamping? Or are your washers too hard for the stamp to make an impression in the metal?

  88. There are so many wonderful posts on your blog! Often times when I’m trying to learn something new about making jewelry or metalsmithing I find it here. I’m trying to learn all I can, so thanks for the help!

  89. Makeda, thank you for your lovely comment! I appreciate that very much! πŸ™‚

  90. I’m wondering what type of washers you’re using to stamp on. The ones at the hardware store are too dense (zinc,steel etc)

  91. Hi CA, try aluminum or copper washers. You’re right, some hardware store washers are too hard for stamping.

  92. Rena,

    Just came across your article searching for stamp storage tips because I just got started with stamping. I’ve recently become inspired to stamp some memorial dog tags, which will be placed in shadow boxes that I’m making in honor of my dearly departed basset hound, Charlene. Anyway, I wanted to just add that the burgandy-colored case with a Pittsburgh label that you mention above is most certainly a set of steel stamps from Harbor Freight. I just got that very same set a week ago, and they’re 1/8″ size for only $10 and some change. And like you, I also got a defective set the first round. So when I exchanged them in store – I opened up and went through all the cases they had in stock, lining them up beside each other, and checking them letter by letter. Then I transferred all the best stamps into one case and made my exchange! That might seem like a lot of work, but to me – it was worth the $20-30 savings just to sit in the aisle and spend 5 minutes sorting through the stamps. Hell, I don’t mind looking crazy if it saves me money! (Besides, my OCD already makes me seem plenty crazy. I’m often mistaken as a store employee because I’m constantly straightening up their shelves.) When it comes to spending money and if you’re already a pro – sure, spend the extra money on the higher quality product. But if you’re just starting out and don’t know if you’ll stick with it yet? Do some consumer research on the product first so you’re frugal AND wise. Don’t just grab whatever is cheapest without first knowing its pros and cons. Otherwise you run the risk of having a miserable experience from the get-go and hating it.

    Thanks for all the wise tips! So many DIY articles in the blog world will mostly read like a product endorsement and advertisement. But your articles are a sight for sore eyes! They read as honest and direct, and they’re not intimidating to a beginner.

  93. Great article. I especially liked the tips for spacing the letters vertically. How can the letters/numbers horizontal placement be done consistently, especially with letters such as lower case “I” and lower case “L” and “m” and “w”? Examples would be: well and mill. I’m sure there is an easy way to do this, the solution just escapes me.

  94. Alyssa, thanks so much for your great tips – and for your lovely comment on the articles here! πŸ™‚

  95. Gail, you might use a ruler and thin Sharpie pen to draw a straight guideline on your metal, for lining up the bottom of each stamp. When you’re finished stamping, you can remove the Sharpie mark from your metal with a few drops of rubbing alcohol on a scrap of paper towel.

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