Jewelry Blog

Texturing Metal: Tools From Around the House to Use + A Quick Tutorial

There are some fine quality texturing hammers available for purchase, but my favorite way to add texture to metal is true to the DIY-er in me: using tools readily available on the jeweler’s bench and around the home. I’ve accumulated a few tools that I love to use for texture on metals. I’ll show you how I use them to create unique pieces for jewelry designing.

Selection of textured copper discs

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Tools for texturing metal

Collection of Jewelers Tools

Sterling silver, silver-filled metal and copper are materials suitable for adding texture. Copper, a soft, inexpensive metal, works particularly well.

Ball peen hammer

Ball Peen Hammer

 

I have a few different sized ball peen hammers on the workbench. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at the different textures achieved simply by changing the size of the hammer being used.

Textured copper disc, textured using a small ball peen hammer

This disc was textured using a very small ball peen hammer.

copper disc textured using a large ball peen hammer

The above disc was textured using a larger ball peen hammer. See how a a completely different look is achieved by using a different size hammer?

Riveting hammer

riveting hammer

Both ends of a riveting hammer can be used for texturing metal. The square end can be used flat, or angle it to use the corner of the square. A variety of textures can be achieved by using just one tool.

Copper disc textured using the chisel end of a riveting hammer

This piece has been textured using the chiseled end of the riveting hammer.

Copper disc textured using the flat end corner of a riveting hammer

The disc has been textured using the flat end corner of the riveting hammer.

Random metal texturing tools you likely have around your house

Burnishing tool
Copper disc textured using a tool I found around the house.

Cute little triangles were created on this disc using the tool shown above.

Stamping tools

Metal Stamp

This is an old stamp I acquired in a toolbox from a guy who used to make signs. It’s one of my favorite stamps. It creates nice deep divots, which take patina nicely.

Copper disc textured using an old sign stamp

Brass hammer

Brass Hammer

The brass hammer is my absolute favorite tool for creating texture! It absorbs the shock when used to strike metal stamps. Every time a stamp is struck, it adds texture to the brass. It creates one of my all-time favorite, organic textures on metal.

Copper disc textured using a brass hammer

The brass hammer creates a beautiful look on the copper.

Other ideas

Letter stamps

Letter Stamps

I have yet to create patterns using letter stamps. I know some beautiful designs can be created using letters.

How about using nails or chisels? If using nails, make sure the piece is hardened so it won’t crush under the pressure from the brass hammer. Keep this in mind when visiting your local hardware store for jewelry making tools.

A quick tutorial for texturing metal

Brass hammer and steel bench block

Tools you’ll need:

  • Steel bench block
  • Rubber or leather mat under the block
  • If you’re stamping on metal, a brass hammer is required, and any other hammers or tools to be used as texturizing tools

With any of the tools we are using texturing metal, it’s important to find the right amount of force to use while striking. The point is to create texture on the metal. We don’t want to strike with so much force that we’re moving the metal and changing the shape of a piece altogether.

stamping on round copper disc

Use a stamp to add texture.

Ball Peen Hammer creating texture on copper disc

Use a ball peen hammer to texture the metal. Both ends of the hammer can be used and each will provide a different texture.

See the little trick in the photo above?

wooden clothes pin

Remove the metal pieces from a wooden clothespin and use one half of the clothes pin to hold the metal pieces while striking. It’s a great save for the fingers!

Riveting hammer striking copper text

Use a riveting hammer to create texture. Both ends of the riveting tool create different textures. Use the corner of the square end to add elongated triangle shapes to a piece.

copper disc with uneven edge caused from striking with a ball peen hammer

When striking the metal, it is best to avoid striking too close to the edge. It can cause your metal to become misshapen. Of course, you could use this as a design element by striking around the entire edge and use the intentionally misshaped piece. If this is your choice, just make sure there aren’t any sharp or ragged edges.

Using a file on the edges of a copper disc

Remove unwanted misshaping of the edges with a file.

A copper disc has been textured, causing it to curve upward.

Repeated strikes on the same side of the metal will cause the metal to curve upward.

Textured curved disc on reverse side

Correct this by turning the piece over so the back side is facing up.

strike metal with rubber mallet

Strike the metal with a rubber mallet to flatten, as many times as in necessary.

Metal is now flat again.

Nice and flat again. Ready for the tumbler.

Finish your pieces by adding liver of sulfer patina. Use a 1200 grit wet/dry sandpaper to lightly bring up the raised copper and accentuate the textures you’ve created.

Seven copper discs sporting a variety of added textures

Get creative. Search your surroundings and see what you can find to add texture to metal.

What are your favorite tools to use for texturing metal? 

3 Comments

Leo Sleight

I wonder if it’s possible to get hold of metal used for coin manufacture.
your instructions are interesting and helpful thank you.

Reply
Andy Mereness

I must say, looking at the close-ups, I thought, “this doesn’t look good”, but when you pull back a ways these texturing methods add a nice, organic look to the piece. I’ve never stuck my nose in someone’s ear so I could look at their earrings! They’re definitely a “from a distance” item in most cases.

Thanks for the ideas, and the learning experience.

Reply

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