Adorn shiny or matte-finish metal tags with personalized “engraved” text, dimensional accents or colorful, rubber-stamped designs. Sold at jewelry, scrapbooking and craft stores, plain metal tags are easy to customize into eye-catching luggage tags and pet identification tags or embellishments for key chains and lanyards. You can also design an embellished metal tag featuring a name and an inspirational word to dangle from a bead chain as a gift to a friend or family member.
Cover your work surface with newspaper to protect the table from stamping ink stains and scratches caused by metal tools. Because you’ll be using a hammer to customize the metal tags, consider working on a surface like the garage floor if your table isn’t sturdy.
Place the metal tag face up on the table. Position a metal stamp in the desired spot, hold it straight up and down and hit the back of the stamp with a hammer.
Position the second metal stamp so the next letter will sit directly next to, but not overlap, the first letter. Hold the stamp straight up and down and hit the back of it with the hammer. Repeat the process until you’ve completed the desired word or message.
Add color to the letters, if desired, by applying a medium coat of acrylic paint over the text with a paintbrush. Immediately wipe the surface of the tag with a damp paper towel—this will remove all of the paint from the smooth surface of the tag, but leave paint in the grooves of the metal-stamped letters.
Embellish the tag with rubber-stamped designs applied around the metal-stamped text with solvent ink designed to dry quickly on shiny and slick surfaces. You can also affix dimensional accents like rhinestones or metal charms with a dab of industrial-strength craft glue sold at jewelry making, rubber stamping or craft stores.
Practice your metal stamping technique on a “scrap” metal tag to determine how hard to hit the stamp with the hammer to make a good impression. Hitting the metal stamp too hard may bend the metal tag, while not hitting it hard enough will only leave a half-formed letter or barely etch the surface.
Plan your metal-stamped word before you start stamping to ensure you won’t run out of room on the tag. Consider using the metal stamps and a light shade of stamping ink on a piece of scrap paper to see how much space the desired text will take. Clean the stamps with baby wipes or a rubber stamp cleaning solution to remove all of the ink before stamping the metal tag.
Do not let young children help you with the metal stamping. Not only will they not be able to hit the metal stamp hard enough to create an impression, but they might also smash a finger between the hammer and metal stamp.