Metalsmithing Techniques for Jewelry Making: Free Metal-Stamping Video Tutorial

Even though I'm a writer and regularly write and read how-to instructions for creative projects, sometimes you just have to see something happening to really get it. So when I learned that our newest free metalsmithing tutorial on metal stamping was actually a free video metal-stamping tutorial, I was even more excited!


Metal stamping is one of the most popular techniques in metalsmithing and metal jewelry making today. Being able to use metal stamps to create patterns and hammer textures on your metal jewelry is not only a fun way of marking metal but it also allows you to create personalized jewelry simply, just by hammering textures and stamping patterns (or, with metal letter or alphabet stamps, stamping metal with words, phrases, initials, etc.) onto your metal-stamped jewelry.

Helen Driggs, senior editor for Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist magazine and an experienced metalsmith, hosts our newest free video tutorial, Metalsmithing Techniques for Jewelry Making: Metal Stamping. By watching Helen's metal-stamping process and stamping tips, you'll learn to use metal stamps and other metal-stamping tools (including a steel chasing or ball-peen hammer and a steel block) to create unique, one-of-a-kind metal-stamped jewelry. Helen shares why positioning is everything in metal stamping and shows how to properly place stamps and yourself to achieve the most effective stamping patterns on your stamped jewelry.

Helen's metal-stamp practice grid. 

By watching Helen's free video tutorial, Metalsmithing Techniques for Jewelry Making: Metal Stamping, you'll learn how to make the metal-stamping practice grid she uses with her students, using a scrap of metal, a ruler, and a marker, to help you practice proper placement of your metal stamps. The more often you practice stamping, aligning your metal stamps on the grid, the better your metal-stamp placement will become–and the better your stamped-metal jewelry will be!

Note: Perfecting your metal-stamping skills with a grid like the one Helen shares in our metal-stamping video tutorial is critically important if you're going to be stamping metal with metal letter stamps (or alphabet stamps) or if you want to create straight lines and uniform patterns with metal stamps. It's a great tip for mastering the metal-stamping process.

Helen's purchased metal stamps.

In our metal-stamping video tutorial, you'll learn these three valuable stamping lessons to get you started stamping metal jewelry:

1. Getting your stamping supplies and preparing your metal stamps: Metal stamps and other metal-stamping tools (like the hammers and steel block) can be purchased at any jewelry supply house or online. Or, you can make your own custom metal stamps using everyday items such as chisels and nails from any hardware store. Helen cut lines on concrete nails to make a stamp that creates a basket-weave texture on stamped metal. Creating your own custom metal stamps means there's simply no end to your supply of metal stamps, stamping ideas, and metal-stamping jewelry possibilities!

Helen recommends standing while metal stamping.

2. Proper placement of yourself and your metal stamps: Once you have your metal-stamping supplies, you need to master proper placement of yourself and your metal stamps in order to create the textures and designs you want on your stamped metal. Helen demonstrates how she uses a ruler and a marker to create a practice metal-stamping grid.

Helen also demonstrates how to physically stamp the metal, while standing and hammering directly and firmly once, striking the stamp hard enough to create a good strong impression in the metal. She reminds us to position the stamp, verify its position, and whack it! Avoid hitting the stamp more than once or you risk moving the stamp–and moving it even a smidge can create a blurred or double stamped image.

Metal stamping with on a wooden block instead of steel will cause the stamped metal to buckle and warp as shown.

3. Using the proper metals and supplies for stamping metal jewelry: Helen explains the importance of using a steel metal block under the annealed metal (or soft metals such as copper or aluminum–ideally not brass) that you're stamping on, so the metal stamp creates a good strong impression in your stamped metal jewelry. She also demonstrates how stamped metal will warp and cup up if you stamp onto a wooden block or something else that's too soft, instead of a steel block.

Helen modified a concrete nail tip to create line stamps that can be used to make a basketweave pattern.

This free video tutorial is perfect for beginners who want to learn to stamp metal jewelry and even make their own custom metal stamps for texturing and marking metal jewelry designs, and it will also remind experienced jewelry artists of proper metal-stamping skills and perhaps a thing or two they might not already know about stamping and texturing metal!

Ready to get started creating personalized or one-of-a-kind textured metal-stamped jewelry? Watch Jewelry Making Daily's latest free video tutorial, Metalsmithing Techniques for Jewelry Making: Metal Stamping with Helen Driggs. Whether you use purchased metal stamps or create your own custom metal stamps, you'll be texturing and personalizing stamped metal in no time.

P.S. Do you have friends who are interested in metal-stamping jewelry or using metal stamps to create textures on metal? Share this free metal-stamping video tutorial with them!

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