Hi there! Last week’s vintage DIY project (Vintage Fork Easels) put me in a silverware frame of mind. While working on the easels, I went ahead and stamped a few spoons. The next day I stamped a few more. And so I now have a small family of flattened and hand stamped vintage spoons. I went with herbs, but you can stamp them with anything you like.
This craft has been around for a long time. I experimented with the process a couple of years ago, but put the stamping tools away and never took them up again.
But last week I had the chance to re-discover just how easily you can create these adorable mini-signs. Grab a hammer, the all-important metal letter stamps, and make sure you’re good and stressed out. You heard me correctly. You’re going to be banging the heck out of everything in sight, so you might as well benefit from all that pounding. This craft offers free stress relief.
How to Hand Stamp Vintage Spoons
* This post contains affiliate links.
Vintage Silver-plated Spoons
Metal Letter Stamps
Anvil or Steel Bench Block
Scrap of Fabric
Extra-Fine Point Black Sharpie
To stamp spoons, you will need a set of metal stamps. I purchased mine several years ago at Harbor Freight, but I’ve linked to one that is similar, and it costs about the same.
You will also need a hammer (preferably a heavy one), along with an anvil or steel block of some sort. Truth be told, I use a regular hammer and a small steel block that I purchased for a quarter at a garage sale.
You can buy these products separately, or you can purchase them as part of an entire metal stamp craft kit for $50-100. I don’t typically roll that way. I enjoy hunting down the tools I need at thrift stores and garage sales, and I’m just too darn cheap to spend lots of money for a craft that I’m not even sure I’m going to like.
Now that I’ve done it a few times, I’ve learned that I do, in fact, enjoy stamping and hope to purchase the special $15.99 hammer that I linked to. I’ll explain why in more detail below.
How to Flatten & Stamp Your Vintage Spoon
Before you start pounding away at your vintage spoons, you’ll want to cover your steel block with a piece of scrap fabric. This will protect your spoon from unsightly scratches.
Lay your spoon down on top of the fabric covered block and start hammering. I recommend starting in the middle and working your way out. With a regular hammer, it takes a while to accomplish this–just keep at it and you’ll get there. The heavier hammer makes this task easier. Don’t let the wrinkled, squashy appearance of the spoon bother you, that’s normal and adds to their rustic charm.
Once the spoon is flat, it’s time to stamp. Take some time to determine placement of each letter depending upon how many letters are in the word and the width of your spoon. I kind of prefer the slightly cock-eyed, but unique, look that’s achieved when you wing it. Yes, I am that kind of girl.
Now to do some stamping. Place the metal stamp perpendicular to the spoon, holding it tightly with your thumb, fore, and middle fingers. Use your ring finger (and pinkie if that works for you) to hold the spoon in place. If the spoon moves while you pound, you’ll get a double stamp (not a big issue in my book, but I wanted to warn you).
With the stamp in place, you’re going to strike the top squarely and with a good amount of force. With the “proper” hammer, you should only have to hit once and you’re done–no chance of a double strike. But if you use a regular hammer, as I did, you’ll want to experiment with how many times you need to strike. I went with ten, rapid fire strikes and that seemed to work pretty well for me.
The biggest issue really is holding the stamp in place while at the same time holding the spoon in place. As you can see, mine are all a little wonky. I definitely have trouble with “A’s.”
After you’ve spelled out your word, give the spoon a good polishing, if you don’t care for the tarnished look.
The final step in this process is to use your extra-fine permanent marker to trace the lines of each letter, pushing the tip down into each indentation and then wiping off any excess ink with a scrap of cloth. This makes the letters stand out nicely.
I swear I wasn’t drinking!
I hope to show them to the Simple Gifts shop manager to see if they would like to carry them in the shop, along with the rest of my Adirondack Girl line. She had expressed interest in herb-related products since the Shakers grew herbs and sold remedies at the site.
Here’s an example of a stamped soup spoon. Because they are wider, you can more easily stamp longer words on them. I had no parsley on hand, so I tucked it in a faux lavender plant.
Decorating with Hand Stamped Vintage Spoons
My spoons are obviously ideal for tucking into pots of herbs, but one stamped with a special sentiment, like “I luv you” or “be mine” would be sweet slipped in a small bouquet of flowers, right?
Or how about tying one that says “Congrats” or “Happy Happy” onto a gift package or gift basket?
I sold the ones I made a few years ago at the Shaker craft fair for $5.50 each, which is pretty good profit when you consider that you can easily buy vintage spoons for 25-50¢ each.
Whether you’re looking for stress-relief or simply want a set of herb markers, this may be the DIY project for you 🙂
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