How To Use
Letter Stamps For Leather
By Bob Sherman
of the most popular types of stamps are alphabet and number stamp sets used
for personalizing leather projects. These are commonly used for names, initials,
troop and pack numbers, and so forth.
These stamps are designed for ease of use and when used properly
will provide straight, properly spaced text. If used incorrectly the results
are usually less pleasing.
Letter and numeral stamps are sized by the height. So a 3/4 inch letter is
3/4 inch tall. The width is determined by the correct spacing and the letter
so widths are generally not provided in product descriptions. Several type
faces are available, so choose one that suits your design best. For this demonstration
I used a standard 3/4 inch leather typeface.
Each set will have individual stamps with an interchangeable
handle included. Smaller sets sometimes include numbers as well, however on
most sets numbers need to be purchased separately. The full selection of letter
and number stamp sets may be found here.
Stamping sets are made of plated metal and with care will last a lifetime.
- Never hit stamps with a metal mallet or hammer. This will chip the plating
and make them rust easier. Use of a wood, rawhide, or polymer mallet is
essential to preserve your stamps.
- Never use stamps on anything but leather.
- Never put stamps away wet.
- Always store stamps in a dry area.
- Avoid dropping stamps whenever possible.
IMPORTANT! - Individual replacement letters are not available for most letter
/ number styles so don't lose any.
Basic Stamping Instructions
It is much easier to show the process than to write about it so please read
through the following before proceeding.
In order to stamp writing correctly it is necessary to have all of your letters
aligned properly. Every letter and number stamp has an alignment mark on the
top or side of the tool.
The letter or number will match the stamp and be positioned
on the side that is the bottom of the letter. In this example our B stamp
has a small B on top. Note that on smaller stamp sets this mark will usually
be on the edge of the stamp.
This is particularly important for letters like Q which will
look odd if not aligned correctly, but if you develop the habit of always
positioning the marked edge to your base line then your letters will always
face the correct direction.
Once your leather is properly cased, align your first letter and stamp the
impression. It may take repeated blows with the mallet to get a good impression,
just make sure the tool does not shift between blows.
Letter and number stamps are designed to be self spacing. This means that
if the stamps touch at the edge, you will have perfect spacing.
Whenever possible, leave the previous letter in its impression and align
the next stamp touching it as shown.
If you need to repeat a letter (such as BB), mark where the stamp ends before
Continue aligning and stamping until your writing is complete.
Before Stamping, layout and measure the writing to make sure it will fit
the desired area.
Centering the writing looks best in most cases.
A straighter line may be obtained by marking the baseline of the stamps before
Using a Background tool such as A98
to matt down around each letter adds depth.
Using a Background tool such as A98
to matt down inside the letters gives an inverted carving look.
There are special tools called letter bevelers that simplify matting the
outside edge of standard letter sets If you do this a lot, consider tools
If you have leather carving skills, consider cutting the outline with a swivel
knife then using a beveling
tool for even more depth.
Letter sets are simple to use once the proper technique is learned.
Disclaimer: The information presented here is accurate to the
best of my knowledge and leather working practices as of the time of this
writing - June 2009. The author and the publisher accept no liability for
the use or misuse of any of the information presented in this article. This
article is presented for informational purposes and is used at your own risk.
Author: Bob Sherman
Publisher: Bobby's Craft Boutique Inc.
This article is provided free of charge for personal use. No
portion of this article may be reproduced for publication elsewhere without
express permission from Bobby's Craft Boutique Inc. with the following exceptions:
- Non profit organizations such as religious groups, scouts, 4h, etc...
may use this information without permission for printed materials provided
it is used without modification and credit is given to both the author and
- Reprinting to the web is prohibited without permission, however web sites
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