6 Tips for Better Metal Stamping from New Stamped Metal Jewelry
Y’all, I’m seriously excited with the release of New Stamped Metal Jewelry, the highly-anticipated follow up to the best-selling Stamped Metal Jewelry! You can get the eBook and print version in the Interweave store now! Authors Lisa Niven Kelly and Taryn McCabe crammed this book full of so many techniques, tips, and inspiring projects. From beginner to experienced metal stamper, there’s something for everyone.
I recently asked Lisa and Taryn to share their top tips for better metal stamping. Here’s what they suggest doing to bump your skills to the next level.
We have found it best to always use a hammer that is 1lb or heavier, but sometimes you need even more heft behind the stamp. This is especially needed on stamps with a lot of solid design where you need to move a lot of metal. Consider moving up to a 2lb (or even 3lb) hammer for these solid designs or large designs. On that note, make sure you find a hammer that you are comfortable with. Sometimes the length of the hammer and the grip can make a big difference.
Tilt n’ Tap
Hold the stamp steady in your stabilizing hand, pressing it lightly into the metal. Hit it once with your hammer. Now without moving or shifting the stamp, tilt it slightly to the right and strike it again. Now tilt it slightly to the right and towards yourself a bit, strike it again. Continue in this manner, changing the angle of the tilt each time and moving in a circular motion until your last tilt is slightly away from you. You can do this with 4-6 strikes, experiment with what works best for you. This will be especially useful on harder metals like brass.
Hold the Stamp Correctly
Beginners often hold the stamp up at the top of the shank. When done this way, the stamp is not stable and you risk hitting it off center or hitting your hand! Hold the stamp down low while also resting part of your hand on the bench block for stabilization.
Larger Bench Block
The more stable resistance you have below your metal, the more consistent the impression will be. A thin small bench block will be frustrating to stamp on. We recommend at least 2.5” x 2.5” and at least .5” thick.
Learn from Practice
Many stampers tend to tilt one way or another when they stamp. Practice and watch to see what way you tend to lean. For example, if you tilt towards yourself a bit, you’ll notice the bottom of the stamp is deeper than the rest of the design. You’ll want to consciously hold the stamp more straight and maybe even tilt forward a tiny bit to compensate, or try the Tilt n’ Tap tip.
Seems silly but it’s really important. You might be a good stamper sitting down and then discover that when you stand, you become a great stamper! The height of your chair, or the height of your table can make all the difference in the world. If your body is not comfortable, it can be awkward to use a hammer and exert the right amount of strength to get a good stamped impression. Once you have your workspace dialed in, make sure to relax when you stamp. Some people hold in stress that they might mess up, or are scared of the hammer. That stress will show in your work. Relax! Enjoy yourself!
For more great tips like these, a variety of stamping techniques (such as mandala stamping!!), and a bevy of beautiful stamp metal jewelry projects, grab a copy of New Stamped Metal Jewelry.
We’d love to see what you’re stamping too! Share in the comments below or tag your stamped photos on social media with #newstampedmetaljewelry.
Editorial Director, Books