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

Learn about texturing metal ideas, such as direct and transferred textures on these metal samples.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.

Texturing metal ideas are endless. The left sample shows one hammer, one direction with a goldsmith’s hammer on the diagonal. The right sample shows two hammers, two directions with a commercial texture hammer all over and a goldsmith’s hammer on the diagonal.

Left: One hammer, one direction: Goldsmith’s hammer, on the diagonal. Right: Two hammers, two directions: Commercial texture hammer, all over; goldsmith’s hammer, on the diagonal.

Texturing metal ideas are endless. The left sample shows diamond bur within drawn outlines. The right sample shows all-over dimpled texture with embossing hammer.

Left: Diamond bur within drawn outlines. Right: All-over dimpled texture with embossing hammer.

Texturing metal ideas are endless. The left sample shows two hammers in a transitional pattern chasing hammer balled peen one edgge and a riveting hammer, cross-peen on opposite edge. The right sample shows a screwdriver-turned metal stamp and planned pattern with an all-over design..

Left: Two hammers, transitional pattern: Chasing hammer, balled peen one edge; riveting hammer, cross-peen on opposite edge. Right: Screwdriver-turned-metal stamp: Planned pattern with all-over design.

Texturing metal ideas are endless. The left sample shows a stamped pattern with a drilled hole. The right sample shows a commercially patterned brass plate impressed into copper.

Left Stamped pattern combined with drilled hole. Right: Commercially patterned brass plate impressed into copper.

Texturing metal ideas are endless. The left sample shows a hammered brass sheet-turned-printing plate with copper rolled against the hammered brass. The right sample shows a paper ribbon sandwiched between a copper sheet with two passes with a 90-degree turn of the ribbon.

Left: Hammered brass sheet-turned-printing plate: Copper rolled against hammered brass. Right: Paper ribbon sandwiched between copper sheet: Two passes with a 90-degree turn of the ribbon.

Texturing metal ideas are endless. The left sample shows a window screen sandwiched between a brass and copper sheet. The right sample shows a feather sandwiched between a copper and brass sheet.

Left: Window screen sandwiched between brass sheet and copper sheet. Right: Feather sandwiched between copper sheet and brass sheet.

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.

Learn how to hammer an even texture into metal with these step-by-step instructions.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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!

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