From DIY home decor to handmade gifts, here are the best arts and crafts to spark your creativity

Handstamped Song Lyrics

The Idea

I have been handstamping small gifts for friends for a few years now and wanted to try something a bit more adventurous. So as a gift for my wife I decided to stamp the song lyrics from our first dance, Semisonics Secret Smile onto a sheet of aluminium, and frame it for her. It sounded an easier idea than it turned out to be.:-)

There were a few mistakes and lessons learned along the way but the project is now nearly finished and she is happy with it.

Step 1 — Plan, Plan and Plan Some More!

I cannot stress the importance of this, the more planning done here the easier it will be. I marked out a sheet of aluminium with each of the 43 lines I intended to stamp and then divided up into individual boxes, marking out which would and would not have a letter inside.

I would also recommend writing the actual lyrics in at this stage as it would help reduce the chances of errors. I didn't do this and made a couple of mistakes that would probably have been avoided.

Stamping Time!

Start stamping, take your time doing this as once you swing that hammer the mark made is not coming out!

Have a practice on some other scrap pieces before starting to stamp, this will give you a good idea of the force needed to mark the metal.

I found that writing the letters on the stamps reduces mistakes and allows me to quickly identify the right letter and position it correctly.

This process will take a long time, I tried to break it up into 6 to 8 lines per sitting as I found my concentration would go after this and risk making mistakes.

Cut and Trim to Size

The metal I used was larger than I needed it to be so I needed to trim it down with a set of snips.

Polish and Mount

I used a drill attachment and car polish for this, it took a fair bit of time to get a mirror finish (and it's likely I will give it another polish before final mounting) and to polish out the many scuffs and scratches I put on when working the piece.

Once polished you can then mount in a frame.

Improvements

There are a few ways I think this project could have been improved these are:

1. By stamping onto a large steel block — I normally stamp my work on a small stainless steel plate. This makes sure that the piece remains flat and doesn't bend like the larger piece has. If making this again I would buy a larger plate to stamp onto.

2. Not making errors! — I mad three stamping errors on this one, one wrong letter and two in the wrong place. Better planning would have prevented these.

3. Enamel Paint — I plan to add an enamel fill to the letters to make them stand out. I have had a few difficulties getting hold of this but it should be here next week. When finished I will add a final photo showing how this worked.

Thanks for Viewing

Thank you for viewing. If you want to see more of my handstamped work I am currently running a Kickstarter project here.

Tools and Materials

Tool list

  • Hammer
  • Metal stamps
  • Polishing pad
  • Car or metal polish
  • tin snips

Materials

  • 1 x sheet of soft metal, aluminium, brass or copper work best.
  • bucketloads of patience
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