Introduction: Handstamped Song Lyrics

About: Just starting to learn how to make things! mostly out of wood and mostly badly.

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: 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.

Step 2: 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.

Step 3: 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.

Step 4: 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.

Step 5: 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.

Step 6: 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.

Step 7: Tools and Materials

Tool list

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


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

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