Hand Stamped Failure

I remember the first time I saw these. Mrs. Turkey had done a post on her set. I remember thinking that they’re sort of cute, but I wasn’t sure I would get enough usage out of them to justify buying them off of Etsy. However, like many other little details that no one else will notice, it was a project that has been stewing in my head for a while.

What am I talking about? Stamped forks.

From: Mrs. Turkey

Seriously, how adorable are those?

Because I have a tendency to assume I can make anything, I decided at some point that I’d like to try to make some. I mean the overall concept didn’t seem that hard. Take some forks, stamp them with some words, call it a day. I’ve been meaning to do this for forever, bit I really got stuck at trying to figure out what words to do.

Bride / groom
I do / me too
Always / forever

It took a while to figure out what words I wanted engraved into the forks since I’m insanely indecisive. I wanted words that would still be applicable after the wedding (so not bride and groom) but I wanted words that would remind us of that special day.

Photo by: Jessica Numbers on jessicaNdesigns via Lover.l

I ultimately choose to use “always” on one fork and “forever” on the other fork. I chose those two words since they remind me of two insanely sweet things—Snape’s sweet and yet haunting “After all this time?” “Always” response, and this song, “Forever and Always” by Parachute that makes me cry every. single. time.

Remember the amazing alphabet stamp set I bought once upon a time and used to make our clay bowl? This is the actual use for the set—stamping metals. There really wasn’t any directions for this that I followed. Just take the metal and hammer a letter into it.


Or at least, this is the theory behind it. This is what I ended up with.


Top left is what happens if you smash the hammer down multiple times in the same spot and it moves. Half letters appear when your fork is curved and you don’t smash down evenly.

Frankly, I think I am too much of a wuss to actually get anywhere with this craft. Of all of the crazy projects I have done in my past, I will say, this is the one that scares me the most. The idea of smashing a hammer at full speed towards my fingers is just a little too much for me. I think I only got a good impression once (See the lone Y?).

I haven’t decided if I’m going to try again—I think I’m missing something here about stamping metal? Anyone have tried this themselves and get anywhere? Have you tried a supposedly easy craft, only to find you should leave it to the experts?


Mrs. Panda

Boston, MA
Wedding Date:
June 2013
Pick Your Battles (even the silly ones)
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  1. bluewhale Member
    bluewhale 638 posts, Busy bee @ 11:40 am

    I just laughed so hard. Maybe the quality of the metal makes a difference? Maybe it’s just not meant to be :)

  2. Member
    cafrinb 33 posts, Newbee @ 11:59 am

    Thank you for the at work chuckle! Your effort is commendable!

    I’m wondering if starting with a softer metal is important? It looks like yours is stainless and the etsy ones are sterling? Heating it could also help if you happen to have a propane torch around. And a clamp to hold it in place.

  3. Guest Icon Guest
    christine j, Guest @ 12:14 pm

    you also might want to try gripping the letters with a pair of pliers rather than your fingers to avoid finger-smashing!

    and you’ll definitely need to create a level surface for yourself — maybe there’s some way to clamp it at just the right angle?

  4. sword Member
    sword 1029 posts, Bumble bee @ 12:39 pm

    What a bummer! I think it’s such a cute idea. And since you have been making so many of your wedding details/items, maybe you could splurge on just this one thing? You’ll have those forks forever (and always!) Or maybe register for them?

  5. mswallaby Member
    mswallaby 2070 posts, Buzzing bee @ 1:25 pm

    Lol! I definitely had my share of DIY fails too. They’re not too expensive on Etsy, are they? I pinned a few different stamped forks when we were engaged, I love them!

  6. Member
    vintagefair 751 posts, Busy bee @ 1:30 pm

    Love this idea too! I was thinking that this might be the perfect project FI or Dad can help me with!

  7. Member
    vintagefair 751 posts, Busy bee @ 1:33 pm

    p.s. here is a helpful tutorial… looks like it works best on a super hard surface! Don’t give up :)


  8. eagle Member
    eagle 1552 posts, Bumble bee @ 1:39 pm

    I think its because sterling is what is normally used – this is soft. Stainless is realllyyyyyy hard!

  9. Member
    thirdtimebride 483 posts, Helper bee @ 1:43 pm

    Head to a flea market or antique shop and find some silver or silver-plate forks to use–they will be much softer and more receptive to the stamp than the ones made for everyday use.

    As for the level surface, I’d place a hand towel under the fork and fold it so that stamping area is relatively parallel to the table.

    Maybe buy more silver forks than you need, or practice on one of those thin silver-tone platters they carry at the dollar store, just to get the hang of using the stamps on metal.

    Best of luck!

  10. mslemur Member
    mslemur 616 posts, Busy bee @ 5:36 pm

    This is too funny!! But besides your DIY fail (we all have them), I think always and forever were the best words to include. I cry at Forever and Always by Parachute EVERY.TIME. Great song!

  11. mspony Member
    mspony 9265 posts, Buzzing Beekeeper @ 6:28 pm

    I secretly hope you keep trying to DIY these, because I always wanted some of these but couldn’t justify the cost :)

  12. panda Member
    Mrs. Panda 1359 posts, Bumble bee @ 6:30 pm

    I had no idea that there was a difference between metals in forks. who knew. I need to figure out how to tell the different metals apart!

    Thanks everyone for your thoughts, I will try it again (with correct silverware this time!) and let you know what happens

  13. mstoadstool Member
    mstoadstool 2485 posts, Buzzing bee @ 11:10 pm

    Do you notice how flat Mrs. T’s forks are? Maybe the curve in yours ia not helping.

  14. Member
    superduperbrit 2466 posts, Buzzing bee @ 7:31 am

    jessicaNdesigns is the best. She made our wedding forks. She was SOOOOOOO amazing to work with. The forks came wrapped up nicely and every time I see them I smile. I want to get a shadowbox and display them in our dining room eventually. They’re so special and she’s so nice so if you decide to just go for it and buy them…go with her. She’s super! Also, if you follow her on facebook or get her newsletter you can sometimes get a discount code. =]

  15. Member
    blingybride 674 posts, Busy bee @ 8:17 am

    I have to admit I cracked up, but also thought “good for you” for trying. I am not a DIY person so I ordered my set on Etsy. I just strarted my shadow box project and they look so adorable in there. Keep trying I’m sure you’ll get it.

  16. Member
    MrsPadlock2B 488 posts, Helper bee @ 3:03 pm

    This is such a good fail thanks for posting miss panda gave me a good laugh :)

  17. Member
    priyathescientist 1514 posts, Bumble bee @ 8:51 pm

    I think DIYing your own stamped forks is a brilliant idea! Although … I would have the Mister do it myself, because I’m pretty sure I’d somehow managed to put the fork through my hand … I’m such a klutz.

  18. graywolf Member
    graywolf 725 posts, Busy bee @ 7:43 am

    ah man, that was such a great reveal. i bet theres some way to anchor the stamp?

  19. Member
    asia 2555 posts, Sugar bee @ 2:07 pm

    You really can’t clamp the stamps or hold them with pliers. You’ll mess up. You hold them firmly between your fingers in contact with the metal with as much contact between punch and metal as possible (angle your metal appropriately)
    Instead of using a hammer, you need to use a mallet with a wide surface area. You can focus on your work and aim with ease knowing that you won’t miss.

  20. Guest Icon Guest
    Margot Potter, Guest @ 6:18 am

    Great post! Some quick tips to help if you decide to try this again! Steel silverware is too hard for most stamps to work and it wears the stamps down quickly. You can either opt to use silver cutlery or purchase metal stamps designed to be used with steel. ImpressArt has some premium stamps with a lifetime guarantee specifically designed for this purpose. You need a firm grip on your stamps before you hit and to be sure the entire surface of the stamp is in contact with the silverware. If your hand flinches or moves, you won’t get a deep impression. Flattened silverware is much easier to stamp than curved. If you’re using good quality metal stamps and a good hammer (I like a 1 pound brass hammer to prevent skipping/hopping) just one good hard hit per stamp should do the trick. Hope that helps! Cheers, Madge

  21. panda Member
    Mrs. Panda 1359 posts, Bumble bee @ 7:39 pm

    @margot thanks for the tips! It definitely isn’t as easy as it looks.

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