I can’t think of any one jewelry-making technique that can add as much personality and meaning to your designs as metal stamping, can you? With just a few whacks of the hammer and a set of alphabet metal stamps, you can add any message (love, encouragement, personalization) or milestone date to a stamped pendant, bracelet, or any other piece of jewelry.
Here are some of my favorite ideas for making meaningful stamped metal jewelry (or even wood! Read on…) and other gifts.
1. Victorian-style friendship bracelets: Stamp a different friend’s name or initials on a charm or small tag and attach them all to a charm bracelet. Add their birthdays to the back for a handy reminder.
2. Bridesmaid earrings: Stamp the date on the back of one earring and the happy couple’s name on the back of the other; then decorate the fronts with stamped flowers, hearts, birds, other symbols, or the recipient’s name or initial/monogram. Then she’ll have pretty everyday earrings with a secret sweet reminder just between friends.
3. Encouragement jewelry: For a friend battling an illness or a personal challenge like weight loss, divorce, or marathon training, stamp words of encouragement or an uplifting, encouraging quote or Bible verse on a pendant or cuff bracelet. Like the earrings above, you can stamp the message inside or on the back of the jewelry; then either create a decorative design on the front or leave it plain/textured so the personal message remains private, whispering encouragement every day.
4. Silverware: I gave “I love you” stamped spoons to several family members last Christmas, and they were a big hit. Since I moved 750 miles away a couple of years ago, we miss each other so much; now every morning when they stir their coffee with their special spoons, they’re reminded I love them and I’m with them. You could also stamp baby names and birthdates on baby spoons for sweet shower gifts, or “Mr.” and “Mrs.” on spoons for a wedding gift, or children’s names on their own special flatware. I’ve seen many artists’ versions of hostess gifts that feature stamped words, such as “yum” and “eat seconds” or specific terms like “brie” and “gouda” etc. on a set of cheese spreaders. So many possibilities for one-of-a-kind designs.
5. Key ring tags: My “little” (younger, but 6’4″) brother is very, very special to me–but not the kind of guy who’d want an “I love you” spoon–so I stamped “I <3 U” on a tiny tag for him to put on his key ring. It’s so small that no one else will likely see it, but it’s there to remind him and I like knowing he has it with him every day.
6. Guitar picks: Stamp a special date, message, or monogram on a guitar pick for a musically inclined friend or loved one. You could also make a memento of a special concert by stamping the details on a guitar pick; frame it, tuck it in a wallet, or punch a hole in it and attach it to a key ring with a split jump ring.
7. Collar stays: If your guy wears dress shirts, buy or make metal collar stays and stamp sweet nothings on them, such as “I love you,” “my man,” “hey handsome” (or sexy, or cutie), “#1 Dad,” or “Mr. Big.” He’ll remember your words of love or support every time he buttons his shirt or tugs on his tie. You could do the same with a shoe horn, golf markers, money clip, or special metal pen.
8. Prayer “dog tags”: Make dog-tag-style tags with the name or names of loved ones serving in armed forces for all of the friends and family who want to remember the soldiers in their prayers.
9. Speaking of dog tags: Make stamped metal tags (bone-shaped for your pup, fish-shaped for your kitty, perhaps?) to identify your fur babies and help them get home safely should they wonder off. Include their name, your name, address, and phone number, plus any other important health info like vaccination info, “needs medicine,” “has microchip,” or allergy warnings.
10. Knitting or crochet needles: Sassy sayings would be extra fun on special knitting or crochet needles, especially if you make the needles yourself. You can stamp on metal or wooden ones using the same metal stamps and technique.
11. Beads: Stamp designs or messages onto pairs of flat metal shapes; then dome the shapes using a dapping block and punch. Solder or glue them together to make one-of-a-kind ball charms; insert a small metal ball or two inside the bead before securing it closed to create metal chime beads.
12. Charms: One of the quickest and easiest stamped metal jewelry ideas is making charms. Stamp one letter on each charm to spell out a name or nickname, date, or short message, and then attach them to a charm bracelet with jump rings. By stamping just one letter, you don’t have to worry much about alignment or placement. Stamp “Class of 2013″ or “Go Tigers!” (or “Geaux Tigers!” if you’re down here in Louisiana) or other mascot for a graduation bracelet.
13. Family bracelet, key ring, or Christmas ornament: With a large enough collection of design stamps, you can stamp a whole happy family scene–a mom and/or dad, a kid or a few, your cat/dog/piglet, and a house with birds, flowers, trees, and sunshine.
Other stamping ideas: USB drives (stamp the cover half, not the vital half, or you could crush important interior bits), compacts (not the mirror side!), business card cases, julep cups, bar tools, lipstick cases, hair combs or brush handles, jewelry boxes, plant markers, music boxes, any kind of bezel, bookmarks, photo frames, baby rattles, grill tools (and kitchen tools, and office tools, and garage tools, and garden tools…), tooth fairy boxes, metal toothbrush cases, refillable metal lighter covers…
Metal-Stamping on Wood
You can also use your metal stamps to stamp personal messages or funny sayings on wood. Personalize wooden jewelry or key rings, trinket boxes, drum sticks, tool handles, golf tees, chopsticks, hair sticks, knitting and crochet needles, artists’ paintbrushes, coasters, kitchen spoons, walking sticks, and more. Darken the impressions with a fine-tip marker to create a wood-burning effect.
Metal Stamping Tips
When stamping metal jewelry or making other metal-stamping projects, remember:
- place whatever you’re stamping on a steel bench block to get the best metal stamp impressions
- dab your stamps on an ink pad and use them like rubber stamps on paper to practice placement and spacing if you’re new to metal stamping or are using a new stamp set unfamiliar to you
- mark inside stamped impressions with a Sharpie and wipe off excess to help the impression show up better
- use clear tape to give yourself a straight line with which to line up your stamps
Metal stamps can also be used for texturing metal, by repeating a single metal stamp such as a star, an X or plus sign, or a simple line stamp (like a flat-head screwdriver).
For more ideas for stylish and meaningful stamped metal jewelry and metal-stamping jewelry projects, get Lisa Niven Kelly’s classic best-selling book Stamped Metal Jewelry, which comes with a bonus DVD, or the 10 Fun Projects Stamping Metal and Wire eBook–or save a bundle when you get both of these awesome resources along with another popular stamping book, New Directions in Punched Metal Jewelry, plus a set of alphabet stamps, metal blanks, some hammers, and more in our Metal Stamping Collection!
What’s your favorite stamped-metal jewelry creation? Share in the comments below. One of you will win a sampler of metal blanks and an alphabet stamp set like the ones shown here, courtesy of our friends at ImpressArt! (Comment now through Sunday, February 24, to be entered to win.) This contest has ended, but we’d still love to hear your ideas below!
Resources: ImpressArt “Newsprint” alphabet stamp set and various blanks