Metal Stamped Jewelry: Easily Align Metal Stamps with 6 Tips from Lisa Niven Kelly

  metal stamped metal gem frame setting
Silver Framed Gem Pendant by Kriss Silva 

With the launch of our new metal stamping collection this month, I had an opportunity to revisit Lisa Niven Kelly's essential metal stamping book, Stamped Metal Jewelry: Creative Techniques & Designs for Making Custom Jewelry (with a bonus DVD). It's just as fresh and inspiring now as it was the day it was published–and just as packed with inventive metal stamping designs and essential information.

"Stamping can add the little extra something that makes your design special and truly personal," Lisa writes in her introduction–and I can't think of a better way to describe the value of metal stamping for jewelry. It's personalization at its best, allowing you to speak your mind, share your heart, or encourage your soul with just a few stamped words on jewelry you can wear like a talisman.

Among the great tips and tutorials, I gathered some advice from Lisa's must-have book about properly aligning and spacing metal-stamped words and letters. Proper alignment will help you keep your letters in a straight line with the proper spacing between them.

Metal Stamp Alignment: How to Stamp in a Straight Line

Here are two ways to help you align your metal stamps and advice for spacing stamped words and letters.

1. Draw a straight line on your practice metal. Stamp your letter several times and aim to get the letters in a straight line. It's not as easy as it looks! The letters are not always perfectly centered on the stamp, so lining up the shank of the stamp won't help–instead, look at each letter before stamping it.

tips for aligning metal stamps

2. Tape the metal to the bench block with painter's tape. Create a guideline for the letters by placing the edge of the tape where you want the bottom of your letters to line up. Place the stamp on the metal and lightly slide it down until you feel the bottom of the letter bump up against the edge of the tape and then strike the stamp.

Don't get too worried about alignment of your letters. It's fun to turn every other one this way and that or stamp them high then low–you'll create a little whimsy and hide any little imperfections at the same time.

metal stamped jewelry The Crown Jewel by Janice Berkebile
The Crown Jewel by Janice Berkebile

Metal Stamping: Centering and Spacing Words on Metal

3. To center words on metal: First write out the word and assign a number to each letter. Find the center letter in your word and find the center of your blank and start stamping there. Then stamp out to the right and back to the left. For example, to stamp the word "believe" on a circle blank, start by stamping the i in the center of the circle. From there, stamp e-v-e to the right of the i. Then stamp the l to the left of the i; then e to the left of the l, and finally stamp the b. Spelling backward can be tricky, so be sure to refer back to your written word.

Snazz-It-Up metal stamped pendant by Kate Richbourg
Snazz-It-Up Pendant by Kate Richbourg

4. To center a longer piece, such as a saying you want to stamp onto a cuff: Write out the entire saying and assign numbers to all of it. Use two numbers for each space between words and a space or two for any design stamps. Some design stamps are longer than others and may need to be assigned two numbers. Find the very center of the saying and start by stamping that letter in the center of your cuff. Then proceed to the right, as stated above, and then to the left of the center, going backwards.

Full Circle metal stamped bracelet by Connie Fox
Full Circle Bracelet by Connie Fox 

More Stamping Advice from Lisa

5. Make sure there is absolutely no padding under your bench block. That padding will absorb some of the blow and will give your design a shadowed look.

metal stamped pendants by Lisa Niven Kelly
metal stamped pendants by Lisa Niven Kelly

6. Make sure you are working on a stable table. A wobbly table, or a table on a thick carpet, will bounce and absorb some of the impact of the stamp and result in a weak impression. If you're working on a fairly strong table but you need a bit more resistance, position your bench block directly over a table leg.

Stamped Ladder Bracelet by Lisa Niven Kelly metal stamping jewelry
Stamped Ladder Bracelet by Lisa Niven Kelly

Whether you stamp words with alphabet stamps, patterns with symbol stamps, or pictures with design stamps, Lisa's book is the key to the fun world of metal stamped jewelry (and the source of all the great projects shown here). If you don't have it yet, you owe it to yourself to grab it–and we've made it easy for you by including it in a complete metal stamping kit perfect for beginners or experienced metal stampers.

With two books (Lisa's Stamped Metal Jewelry with bonus DVD and Aisha Formanski's New Directions in Punched Metal Jewelry) and an eBook full of instruction and inspiration, a package of metal blanks, a popular set of alphabet stamps, a brass hammer ideal for stamping, a 12-texture interchangeable hammer, and a bench block–plus a special tool made just for making metal stamping easier–what more could you want? Grab your exclusive Metal Stamping Collection now to get everything you need to make personalized stamped jewelry at home.

P.S. If you love learning and doing fun jewelry-making techniques like metal stamping and others, get yourself to Bead Fest Spring near Philadelphia in April! There are so many fabulous classes being offered, I can't decide which ones I want to take–but I know I can't miss it!

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