I’ve wanted to try out a set of metal stamps from the first moment I saw what they could do. Luckily, the fine folks at ImpressArt shared my enthusiasm, and when I ran into them at CHA, they generously provided a full set of letters and numbers for me to review.
In case you’re not familiar with how they work, metal stamps are tools that are used to stamp letters or designs into metals, and they are most often used in jewelry making. To add a letter or design to a metal object, the stamp is placed against the object, then a hammer is used to firmly strike the end of the stamp, which creates a permanent impression of the shape in the metal. For this review, I tried some of the more traditional uses, then I tested additional materials â€”like wood, paper, and polymer clayâ€”to see how versatile one set of stamps could be.
According to the ImpressArt website:
ImpressArtÂ® Metal Stamps offers jewelry artists exciting letter and design stamps that will leave a lasting impression on their artwork. From design to manufacturing ImpressArt metal stamps are created with the jewelry artist in mind.
ImpressArt stamps are precision-cut from hardened steel, and are designed to last project after project. We test our stamps regularly to assure they have a sufficient rockewell hardness and are perfectly aligned.
ImpressArt stamps can be purchased through PJ Tool Jewelry.
While testing the stamps, I used the Jeanie 4mm letters and numbers. Uppercase letter sets, lowercase letter sets, and number sets are sold separately. The letter sets retail for $50.00 each, and the number set retails for $18.00.
The PT Tool Jewelry description for the Jeanie stamps:
ImpressArt’s professional quality metal stamps are manufactured to the highest standard for durability and alignment. Letter stamps are precision-cut from carbon tool steel, hardened to last project after project. The side of each stamp is labeled with the letter for easy identification and orientation. All stamps have an oil-free finish to protect against rust.
â€¢ Size: 4mm
â€¢ New oil-free coating to protect against rust
â€¢ Each stamp labeled on side for easy identification and orientation
â€¢ Will stamp soft metals including gold, silver, copper, brass, soft steel, aluminum and also wood
â€¢ Stamps are made of carbon tool steel, hardened to last project after project
â€¢ Stamp set comes in individual plastic case
â€¢ Available in uppercase, lowercase, and numbers
3. With consistent hammer strikes, the quality of the impressions is consistent across soft metals.
6. You can make shallow impressions on harder metals, but you’ll want to be careful not to damage the stamps.
7. The stamps are incredibly easy to use on wood, and they make really clear, clean impressions. This would be perfect for home decor projects.
8. As long as the metal is soft, you can use them to personalize and upcycle tins and other containers. I tried them on this Altoids tin (according to internet research, they’re mostly made of steel), and it worked really well.
11. After spending a full evening trying the stamps on multiple surfaces, I noticed no dulling and no warping of the images. The stamps looked as crisp and clear as when I first opened the package.
What I didn’t love:
I tend to be the kind of person who can jump into a new craft and produce quality results right away. But, with metal stamps, I spent a lot of time practicing to get the hang of the technique before I even came close to getting results that were appropriately positioned and consistently spaced. This is certainly not a problem with the ImpressArt stamps specificallyâ€”any metal stamp would require the same amount of practice. When I was learning the ropes, I found ImpressArt’s downloadable Step-by-Step Stamping Guide to be particularly helpful.
3. Beyond the aesthetic concerns of getting the stamps to line up correctly and with proper spacing, it took me a long time to get the angle right for holding the stamps (straight up and down is harder than it looks), and even longer for me to be able to hit the stamps with my hammer with consistent force. You’ll definitely want to have some practice materials on hand so you can make sure that you know what you’re doing before you move on to high quality metals or specialty jewelry pieces. Again, this issue isn’t specific to ImpressArt stamps, but it is something that you should be aware of before using any kind of metal stamp.
4. Because I was using a highly stylized font, some of the letters appeared to be different sizes when positioned next to each other. (Example: “A” always looked smaller than fuller letters like “D” or “E”. I found the same to be true with more ornate letters like “S” or “Y”.)
Tips for using stamps successfully:
1. Use thick masking tape or electrical tape as a guide to keep stamps aligned. You can also mark measurements on the tape to keep letter/number spacing consistent.
2. To get a high quality impression, place the piece that you are going to stamp on top of a steel bench block or a jeweler’s anvil.
3. Before you jump into a project, pick up some metal sheets to practice on. Walnut Hollow was kind enough to provide me with a package of aluminum squares from their Creative Metal line, and I also used pieces of their copper metal roll.
I really enjoyed trying the ImpressArt metal stamps, and especially loved the fact that I could use them on such a wide variety of materials. In my opinion, the $50.00 price tag per set is a reasonable cost for a high quality tool, and I’m very happy to have these sets in my craft room.
Disclosure: Samples provided for review, but my opinions are honest and my own!
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