It is really so darn simple.
First you need to find some silverware suitable for stamping. In my experience it seems like silverplated silverware is easier to stamp than stainless steel.
I would assume stainless is a harder metal than silverplate, which is a thin layer of silver over top of copper, brass or nickel. I skipped out on Metallurgy 101 though.
Also, if you are going to stamp a knife, be aware that a lot of silverplated knives have stainless steel blades (yet the handles are silverplated). So in my example below I used a butter knife which was totally silverplated (it's all one piece of silverplate rather than the table knife which is sort of two pieces).
I bought my stamps about a year ago at Harbor Freight. We have a Harbor Freight in town, but you can order them online also at their website HERE.
They have three different sets listed. I used the 1/8" set that is currently on sale for $4.99. Harbor Freight has things on sale a lot, plus they also have 50% off coupons if you get their flyers or sign up for their email list.
You might think that I shop here a lot, but not really. My husband is their #1 customer though. By the looks of his garage, we should probably buy stock in the company.
The stamps are long pieces of steel with a letter or number on the end.
You'll need the stamps, a piece of silverware, a hammer of some kind - I prefer a larger metal mallet type hammer (better to smash your fingers with), a magic marker, something to stamp onto (I used a small brass block that I found in the garage) and for safety you should wear gloves and safety glasses.
Instead of the brass block, which you may or may not find in your garage, you could use the flat part of a vise
or an anvil.
Isn't this one cute. It looks like a cartoon version. Where's Wile E. Coyote?
This is where it gets really simple.
I figured out the middle letter of the word I was going to stamp and stamped that letter first. Just give the stamp a good old whack with the hammer.
If you hit it really hard you just need one whack. If you're using a smaller hammer you may need to hit it a few times.
Just be careful to not smash your fingers. I found the gloves really useful to hold onto the stamps more firmly.
The word was PANSY, so I started with the N. Oh, and I forgot to mention that I drew a line down the middle of the knife so I could somewhat keep the letters lined up. BTW, I don't go for perfection, to me it's more of a handmade look.
And then went outward from that letter. So after the N, I did the A and S and finally the P and Y.
When I was done, I rubbed some marker onto the letters and then wiped the excess off with a paper towel. You don't have to do this step, but I found it made the letters pop out visually a little more. You can use a Sharpie for this, but be warned that it does dry fast and takes a lot of elbow grease to rub it off.
Voila, the only thing left is to put it in a pot of viola (Oh, I crack myself up).
The possibilities really are endless once you buy your stamps. You can stamp knives, forks, spoons, metal jewelry tags or just about anything metal.
Since Mother's Day is just around the corner, I wanted to show you what you could make with a fork.
The image is from The Graphics Fairy.
Have fun stamping. Watch out for your thumbs!
Edited To Add:
I've had quite a few people asking about using them for weddings (stamping Mr. and Mrs. on forks or wedding dates, ect). A very cute idea, BTW.
I would say if you are expecting people to eat with them, I would skip the steps about using a magic marker, because that could be toxic. And you certainly don't want to start the marriage off on a bad note. If you still want to do the last step where you "color" them in a little, you could use liquid food coloring and wipe it into the letters a little.
And I would pick up a couple extra pieces of silverware, so you could practice first, because it does take a couple tries to know how hard you have to hit it to get a clean indentation.