Monday, April 2, 2012

Stamping in Metal

I've been noticing a lot of projects lately where people are stamping into metal. Mostly words, making personalized charms, jewelry and such and of course, I wanted to play too!!

I did a search for the metal letter stamps and wow - there are a ton of fun fonts that you can get - and they are EXPENSIVE!!!! Now, I realize with it being a tool, once you buy it then you will always have it, so a little expense is justified. I started looking and trying to narrow it down to a font that I loved that would work for everything, since I could only see myself buying one. Hmmm, this is hard. So then I started looking at the stuff that you could buy to stamp onto.... metal blanks are not terribly expensive, but it's not paper and I'm sure there is a learning curve on figuring out how to do this!

I finally decided on a basic block letter font, thankfully - Harbor Freight carries them and they are extremely cheap compared to the crafty font sets I was looking at. In fact, I could buy two sizes and both would still be cheaper than what I was looking at for just one of the other sets. Now for the metal to stamp onto... I have this roll of tape that looks like metal, why can't I try that and use it for practice? And so, we're off!!

I needed something to give the metal tape some substance, I keep all those fake credit cards that come in the mail and thought that would work. However... you need to find ones without the numbers already embossed on them or work around those numbers, they will show through the tape.

I could have also used a cut up cereal box, just something a bit thicker than paper. I cut out my pieces and then wrapped them in tape. Use a bone folder (or similar) to get the tape nice and smooth in the front and around the sides. I did cover the back on the pieces that would hang off of something, otherwise if I am just going to glue it down I didn't bother.

There is definitely a learning curve to this, knowing how many times to whack it and holding it still are very important. I can't explain it, you just have to feel it. I'm sure it was much easier on these little faux blanks than on actual metal. The tape indented nicely after a couple of good whacks, although it was slippery. As you can see, spacing is a work in progress.

I used black acrylic paint to fill in the letters so that they would stand out. This is also a "ya just gotta try it" process. I redid this so many times I lost count. I would try to rub it off the top, leaving it in the dents and rubbed off everything. I finally found that my finger was the best tool, despite getting black guck under my fingernails. 

Here is my finished one next to a new one. I liked how it looked leaving some of the black paint on the surface and went back and made a few extra marks in the tape as well. This piece will eventually get glued down into my journal.

Some good news! You don't need metal stamps to do this - if you want to give it a try all you need is to buy some metal tape at the hardware store. 

This actually works very easily using a pen. See the little square with flowers that says Love - yep, a pen. I didn't even add any paint, it was a gel type pen and left enough ink in the grooves to highlight the marks.

The blue one on the bottom was made by using glue on the credit card in random shapes, letting it dry, and then covering it with the tape. I pressed the tape around the swirls and dots really well, then used alcohol ink to color the tape and sanded it off the top of the designs once dry.

The silver one at top was a rubber stamp, I stamped it onto the tape with ink (not stazon or anything permanent) it left just enough of an impression for me to trace. The two long ones are a mix of metal stamping and using a pen, colored with alcohol ink. I love how they almost look like copper. I covered both sides neatly and punched in the hole so I can attach a jump ring and they can hang from something.

I hope this inspired you to run out and buy some metal tape - or maybe even some metal stamps and some blanks! If you do, invite me over - I could sure use the practice!! :0)


  1. Howdy Nick,
    Excellent project - did you see my metal tape tutorial?

    Thanks for posting my Giveaway - and you can enter many times! So

    Good Luck,

    1. Thanks for your comment, LuLu - I had not seen your tutorial - I went searching and am now going to have to pull out my tape again to try with the embossing plates - gorgeous!!!

      Keeping my fingers crossed!! ~ Nickalli