12 Ways to Create Texture on Metal & How to Hammer Even Textures Every Time
I love hammering on metal—and I bet I’m not the only one! The tension release, the change in the metal, even the sound—it’s all very satisfying. Most of the hammering I do in the studio is for texturing metal, which has me on a never-ending search for new hammers that will allow me to create texture on metal in new ways. That can get expensive!
I was inspired when I found new texturing metal ideas in Helen Driggs’ book, The Jewelry Maker’s Field Guide. Helen shows examples of how combining hammers and other tools, such as burs, while blocking or patterning areas can create texture on metal in fresh ways. Here are some of Helen’s ideas from The Jewelry Maker’s Field Guide, to try, along with a mini tutorial to ensure you hammer even textures, every time.
Amazing Texturing Metal Ideas
Direct and Transferred Textures
excerpt by Helen Driggs
There are endless ways to create texture on metal, limited only by the imagination or inventiveness of the jewelry maker. Once I create a sample texture I like, I document the texture method and punch a hole in the corner of the information card to attach it to the sample for easy reference.
An alternate method is to create a 1″ × 1″ (2.5 × 2.5 cm) “charm” and drill it to attach to a jump ring. Attach the charm samples to a chain and write the texture method on the back of each with a marker.
How to Hammer an Even Texture
Developing eye-hand coordination will improve your ability to hammer an even allover texture. Working methodically across the sheet, practice using the same level of force for every hammer strike.
- Metal ready for hammer texturing should be clean, oxide-free, annealed, and bone dry. Wet metal causes tool rust, and oxides on the metal will become embedded into the sheet during hammer texturing.
- Place the sheet on a clean, flat, smooth steel block. Tape the four corners down with painter’s tape or masking tape. Mark both a vertical and a horizontal line through the centers of the sheet.
- Hammer across the sheet in one direction. Proceed across, creating an even row of marks. Use the drawn lines to guide your hammering; strive for even depth and even positioning of the strikes.
- Proceed to the next row of marks and continue hammering. The hammered metal will work-harden, while the unhammered metal will remain annealed. Use this hammering method for any type of hammered texture.
—Helen I. Driggs
Learning to modify or refine a technique I already know in order to create better or new results makes me feel like I’ve really learned something. And when it’s a new way to use tools or supplies I already have? Even better. That’s one of the things I love about The Jewelry Maker’s Field Guide!
If you’re a jewelry maker of any level, there’s simply no way to get more information than with the five-star-rated Jewelry Maker’s Field Guide: Tools and Essential Techniques by Helen I. Driggs!
Learn more about texturing metal and other metalsmithing techniques with Helen!