Spread the Love with Metal Stamps: Stamping Personalized Flatware & Gifts

12 Dec 2012

I saw stamped metal flatware at a holiday show recently and fell in love instantly. There were cute sayings stamped in the bowls of spoons (like "yum" or "my ice cream") and on the blades of knives ("rosemary" or "thyme" etc. for plant markers, "brie" and "gouda" etc. for cheese spreaders, even "stinky" cheese--so clever!). Pairs of forks were stamped "Mr." and "Mrs." or "his" and "hers"--such a cute wedding gift. Then I saw a spoon stamped "love" and knew what I was making for some of my family this Christmas.

From Lisa Niven Kelly's book (with bonus video)
Stamped Metal Jewelry
Since I moved from Tennessee to Louisiana almost two years ago (wow, time flies!), there have been lots of bittersweet days when "I miss my Tennessee home" (as Brad Paisley says in his song that makes me cry every time I hear it!). I love living in Louisiana, but naturally I miss my family and friends there very much, and I cherish the phone calls "just to hear your voice" and then "I miss you" or "when are you coming home?" texts because I know they miss me too. It's good to feel their love all the way down here in the bayou, so I wanted to do something that makes them feel my love back, all year long. That's where the lovin' spoons come in.

I've collected silver-plated flatware for as long as I can remember, and I can't stop buying it. You used to be able to get it for a dollar apiece (sometimes I still run across deals like that), and I stocked up back then. Now old silverware has gotten fashionable and it's harder to find such bargains, but I still buy a piece or two when I find some I particularly like. As I add to my collection, I weed out some of the less fortunate pieces--but I can never bring myself to toss them out or put them in the Goodwill box, so they go in my studio. I was a little unsure about stamping in the rounded bowl of a spoon, so these pieces were perfect for me to practice on.

It was much easier to stamp on metal flatware than I expected. I used the same metal-stamping process, jewelry-stamping tools and metal letter stamps that I use in stamped metal jewelry projects. The key for me was just moving the piece a bit before stamping each letter in order to get the area I was stamping to be flat on the block, since almost all of a spoon is rounded. That required some clever propping to hold up the handles of the flatware, but it wasn't hard to do.

I started with simple stamps that didn't need to be spaced in a particular way, like a heart, "I (heart) U" or some random X's and O's, until I got a feel for how the bowl of the spoon would move when I hammered the stamp. Then I moved on to real words like "yum" and "love;" then came the lovin' spoons for my family, stamped "I love you." I'm so happy with how these turned out, and I love the idea that now when Mama and my special aunt put creamer in their coffee every morning, or when Daddy has lime sherbet with Sprite poured over it (my trick, but without me), they'll know I love them. I could make Mama and Brother spoons stamped "You are my sunshine"--that little tune is special for us.

When Brother was little, he called his breakfast "big bites," so naturally I need to make him a spoon that says that, along with a lovin' spoon so he'll know how much I love and miss him. I'll stamp a matching pair of spoons with "best friends" (or "bff"), keep one, and leave one with my bestie Sara, and for her little boy, if I can find a way to fit "Auntie Tam loves you" on a spoon, that's what my God son is getting!

My Prince Charming is a big coffee-drinker and gumbo-maker, so a spoon would be a handy reminder that he's loved, too. He sends me texts with a big "XXXO" and I reply with a little "xoxo" (aww), so those are the spoons for us.

I might make Mama a pie server, cake knife, or spoon stamped "eat dessert first." It's a special thing between us that will remind her of me and her with my grandmother. Daddy is a big grill guy who makes my fave burgers and BBQ chicken, so a big stamped "Big Daddy's BBQ" grill fork or spatula would be good for him. A friend of mine has a skinny little brother that eats like a little piglet, so a spoon or fork stamped "oink!" would be fun for him, and my college friend Becky got so grouchy when she was really hungry, we made stories about "hungry Becky"--she needs a spoon stamped with that!

 
I could go on and on! The possibilities for metal stamping personalized flatware gifts are as big as your heart and as varied as your friends and family. And not just words--you can stamp hearts or stars on silverware for small children who can't yet read, or maybe stamp "fork" on a fork, "spoon" on a spoon, and so on, to take advantage of those teachable moments. Here are some more stamping ideas for metal-stamped flatware gifts:

  • "brr," "let it snow" or "it's cold outside" on soup spoons
  • the oh-so-funny "Get in my belly!" on any spoon or fork
  • "relax" or "ahh" on a friend's tea-time spoon
  • "rise & shine" or "mornin' sunshine" on a coffee or cereal spoon
  • "peanutbutterjellytime" on a knife for a PBJ-loving friend
  • "you can do it!" or "I believe in you" on a spoon for a dieting friend (or just "believe" on a fork)
  • "bee my honey" or "bee mine" with a little stamped bee on a spoon
  • "get well soon" or "this too shall pass" on a spoon for a sick friend
  • "mmmm," "yum," "eat, drink, be merry" or "indulge" on any spoon or fork

The recipients will think of you every time they use their special stamped flatware. So if you enjoy stamping metal jewelry, I hope you're inspired to make some love-filled stamped metal silverware to remind the special people in your life how much you love them this holiday season. You can turn your stamped silverware into jewelry if you like--but I think there's something extra sweet, fun and charming about stamped silverware

Find this project in Stamped Metal Jewelry by Lisa Niven Kelly


If you're new to stamping on metal, you can learn everything you need to know about it from the queen of metal stamping, Lisa Niven Kelly, in her eBook with bonus video download Stamped Metal Jewelry.

Tip: The metal-stamping queen herself, Lisa Niven Kelly, wrote me with a great point that I wanted to share with all of you: "If folks try to stamp on stainless flatware, it will ruin their stamps in a very short time. The stainless stuff is very hard and yes, with a good strong whack, the stamp will impress a bit (enough), but it will dull the stamp really, really fast. We have had a lot of problems with this, so we try to make it super clear. Stamping on old silver utensils is best; it's soft enough and won't ruin stamps." Thanks to Lisa for pointing that out. We definitely don't want anyone to ruin their stamps!

What would you stamp on silverware for a loved one? I'd love to hear in the comments below!


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Comments

lisajoy1972 wrote
on 12 Dec 2012 1:56 PM

How did you darken the letters? I use either LOS or a sharpie, but wonder about either going into someone's mouth. Great ideas! Thanks so much for sharing!

kylieyg wrote
on 7 May 2013 10:04 PM

Too late for me. I tried my brand new stamps on stainless and the end result is just as they say...disaster :-(  

It is hard to find silverplate cutlery & I have about 100 pieces of stainless steel that I bought from op shops before realising it wouldn't stamp. I tried engraving, but that was useless too :-(

I've heard there are stamps out there for stainless steel from Infinity, but they are VERY expensive and I am in Australia, so shipping would be a nightmare. Does anyone have any other leads on stamps for stainless steel, cause I really don't want to waste all these pieces I bought.