Metal Stamping Q and A

1. What tools do I need for metal stamping?

The basic supplies you will need for any metal stamping project are:
a set of metal stamps
stamping blanks
bench block
house hold hammer or heavy brass hammer
Visit our Metal Stamping Beading Technique for free instructions!

2. Should I practice stamping before using my nice stamping blanks?

We strongly suggest practicing your stamping on a piece of copper sheet metal. Copper is a softer metal than sterling or brass and is a much lower cost than stamping blanks.

3. Do you have any tips for successful metal stamping?

Firm, confident hits are best! Hit the stamp one time, straight down. Just like you'd hit a nail. Holding the hammer further back on the handle will result in a cleaner strike on the metal stamp and causes less stress on your wrist.
When using Nunn Design Metal Stamps please follow these tips.

4. What gauge are your stamping blanks?

Our stamping blanks are 24 gauge or thicker. Gauges are listed on each stamping blanks' detail page in the detail tab directly below the item’s image.

5. Why does only part of my design show up when I stamp it?

If you do not have a direct hit on the stamp with your hammer, then it is likely that you will only achieve a partial imprint. To make sure that you create a complete imprint, you must keep the hammer perpendicular to the design stamp. Also, if there are any deep marks or indentations on the head of your hammer, these marks may prevent the hammer from achieving a full, even strike on the metal stamp.

6. Why does my design look blurry or doubled when I stamp it?

If your design looks blurry, then you have most likely struck the design with the hammer multiple times and the stamp has slipped into a different position between strikes. To avoid this, either use only one strong strike to hit the stamp, or hold the design stamp very steadily so that it does not shift between strikes. Another reason this could happen is if your metal has moved between strikes. To keep your metal in position, tape it to the bench block before you begin hammering. You also need to be sure to place your bench block on a solid surface.

7. I am creating a phrase or pattern with multiple stamps. How do I make the stamps line up where I want them to?

Since it is difficult to stamp into a pattern by guessing where to mark each stamp, you can use a marker to draw a grid that will determine where you should place each stamp. You can wipe the marker away with a polishing cloth after you are finished hammering. You can also place tape on the metal and use the straight edge of the tape as your guiding line to create your pattern. We also suggest starting with the middle letter and working outwards.

8. Why is it more difficult to stamp with design stamps than letter stamps?

Most design stamps have a great amount of detail, while most letter stamps do not. With most design stamps, you will have to strike harder with the hammer than is necessary with letter stamps.

9. It's hard to see my impression. What can I do?

Make your letters and symbols pop by darkening them or coloring them in with paint. To blacken stamped letters on sterling silver, silver-filled or copper, either oxidize with Liver of Sulfur or use a Sharpie. Acrylic Paints or Alcohol Inks can both be used to add some color to your design.

10. My stamping blanks are bending when I strike them. What can I do to fix or stop this from happening?

Depending on the metal and how easy it receives an impression, you may be able to use a softer strike. If your metal is so hard that a strong strike is necessary, you can still flatten your piece by gently hammering your stamping blank with a rubber or plastic mallet.

11. How can I dampen the vibration or sound of the hammer when stamping?

Use a velvet board or sand bag under your bench block to absorb the vibration of your hammer. This will assist both in dampening the noise and the vibration of the hammer.

12. Can I dap my stamped piece?

You can dap or form your finished piece after the stamping is completed. Visit our Dapping Technique to see how this is done!

13. What is the stamp size converted from mm to inches?



Stamp Size in mm
Inches (approximate)
1.6mm
1/16"
2.4mm 3/32"
3.2mm
1/8"
4mm 5/32"
6.4mm 1/4"
9.5mm 3/8"


14. How do I gauge the size of stamps and blanks to get for my project?

There are many different combinations and projects possible, but here are some guidelines for choosing your supplies. First, determine the words you are going to stamp, how many characters you’ll have and how large you’d like your finished piece to be. If you have wide letters, like ‘m’ or ‘w’, those will take up more space than narrow letters, like ‘l’ or ‘i’. The size listed for the stamps are from top to bottom, not the width of the letter itself. When you’ve determined the size of your stamping blank, decide how you’ll lay your words out. Are there multiple rows? Will you stamp along the edge? Count a space between words as one character. As a general rule of thumb, take the width of your stamping blank and divide that by the number of characters in the longest word, or set of words, that will be stamped. Select the metal stamps that are the closest size to that number.
Example: I want to stamp the word ‘INSPIRE’ onto a 17mm round stamping blank.
INSPIRE = 7 characters
17mm/7 = 2.4mm
I will choose the 2.4mm letter stamp set.
See our Inspiration Gallery for project ideas and to see what stamps we’ve used with which stamping blanks.

15. Click here to download the Metal Stamping FAQ.

16. Click here to download the Nunn Design Tips for Metal Stamping on Nunn Design Tags.

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