How do you handle failure? When I first tried metal stamping some years ago, it was a complete fail. The letter impressions were off, I’d end up stamping a letter upside down, I couldn’t figure out which letter was which, and my spacing was terrible. I could not do it. And it totally burned me to see others doing it and making it sound so easy. But I was determined. I did a lot of researching, reading up on tips, and then a lot of trial and error before I finally succeeded. But I did succeed. And I love it. So this tutorial gives you ALL the tips and tricks I learned so that you can get an excellent result the first time you try it. Plus, you’ll learn the techniques while you make stamped metal key necklaces everyone will want!
A Note About Supplies
Impressart is a company that makes and designs its own metal stamping products. They really do a great job of reimagining the traditional tools and supplies and making them easier to use for the at-home crafter. I love their brass headed hammers, their trendy images and fun to use stamping fonts. Impressart is now carried by all the leading US craft stores. So you can use those handy dandy 40% off coupons to pick up the tools and supplies you’ll need at a major discount. I have also purchased a lot of my metal stamping supplies from Etsy over the years. The variety of stamps available is just too fun. So don’t feel like the cost is prohibitive to start, you can actually begin fairly inexpensively.
How to Make a Stamped Metal Key Necklace with Vintage Keys.
- Vintage keys (or you can purchase these silver or brass keys new)
- Aluminum foil tape (optional)
- Piece of paper and pencil
- Metal Stamping Letter Set ( I used Impressart’s Melody set)
- Brass headed Hammer (Impressart)– Using a brass hammer is the secret to getting a good impression when you stamp.
- Metal Stamping Block
- Brass Jewelry Chain or Silver Jewelry Chain
- Brass Jump Rings, Asst. or Silver Jump Rings, Asst.
- Brass Charms or Silver Charms (optional)
- Pliers (using two works best)
- Impressart Enamel Marker or a Sharpie
Step One: Plan your Design
Using the metal tape and a sharpie, trace the key you want to stamp. Using a pencil and a ruler, establish your center and draw a line down the center of the template. On a piece of paper, write out your word. Get organized and plan your design! You can place your metal stamps above the letters or work out of the box one by one. Use the stamps to impress the design on the metal tape before you stamp on your key. I use the center out method for alignment, where you count your characters and then divide by half. Then count in so that you’re stamping the letter that’s in the middle of your phrase first. You can do this test on the metal tape multiple times to make sure you have the spacing/alignment correct.
Step Two: Gather your Tools and Prepare to Metal Stamp!
If you’re working on a table position, your metal stamping block over one of the table’s legs. Place a piece of fabric or piece of rug grip under the block if you don’t have a buffer. This protects the table and lessens some of the
Step Three: Stamp your Text
Starting from the center out, begin to stamp your word. Or you can eyeball it and go by the design placement you worked out on your metal tape. Double-check that the stamp is facing the correct direction. Hold the stamps straight up and down and strike with the hammer directly in the center of the stamp. Be careful not to angle the stamp, or you’ll get an unclear impression. Repeat with all the letters.
Pro-tip: If your letter is missing an edge, you can go back with the stamp and lightly move it across the impression until it catches. Then angle the stamp so that it gets the missing edge and strike down with the hammer.
Step Four: Darken the Letters
I like to use the black Enamel pen from Impressart but a Sharpie totally works too. Use it to cover all your engraving and then let it sit on the spoon for 3 min or so. Using a paper towel, wipe across the surface of the spoon. We want as much to remain in the incised lines as possible.
Step Five: Assemble the Necklace
Set out your supplies and tools for the necklace. Using your pliers, open the smaller jump rings (see tip below) and then slip the loop of the charm over one jump ring. Close the jump ring and set aside. Do this with your other elements. Then open a larger jump ring and slide the key onto it. Stack your other elements on top. For them to lay right and at the right lengths, you may need to add a small measure of chain or extra jump rings. Then lay your chain through the same jump ring and close it.
TO SEE HOW TO DO THIS STEP- Please check out my video tutorial above. I didn’t photograph each step because it’s all in the video.
Pro Tip: Opening and Closing Jump Rings. Using the pliers grip the jump ring on either side of the join. With a wrist twist, open the ring so that you are just bending one side back slightly. To close the ring, make the opposite motion.
And you’re done! I hope you enjoyed this tutorial for how to make stamped metal key necklaces!
For More Inspiration…
Just to give you an idea of what else can be done with stamped keys, I have some other pics for you. The cuff is an upcycled leather belt with a strip of plaid sewn to it. The key is slightly bent and then attached with a bit of metal. If you’d like a tutorial on this
Want to Learn More?
I pulled a couple of my favorite books on this topic off my bookshelf to show you! Both are very well written with excellent projects and will show you what’s possible with this craft. New Stamped Metal
Love this? Share it!
If you found this tutorial helpful I’d love to have you share it both on social media and on Pinterest! To make it easy we have the share buttons at the bottom of this post and below I have a Pinterest ready image for you to pin. Thank you for your help- it means a ton to me!