Altering Metal 101: Altering Metal Components for Jewelry Making

Metal components are common in jewelry making and are often used with colorful beads and other materials. Though metal may not be as glamorous as gemstone or crystal, with a bit of know-how, you can alter many metal pieces to create a custom accent or focal piece. You can also transform metal components to better fit the look and feel of your project, or to create something functional such as a bail or stone setting. In this guide, we will explore three common ways to alter metal: adding texture, adding color, and changing its shape. Each section below includes instructional videos with different techniques for each, as well as projects using these techniques. You can find a list of recommended supplies at the bottom of this guide.

Adding Texture to Metal Components

One of the most common ways to alter metal components is to add texture. Adding texture to metal creates visual interest and gives your components added depth and dimension. Texturing hammers are designed specifically for this type of metalwork. You can also create precise designs with design punches and engraving tools, or by etching and embossing. Sanding and filing your metal can create a distressed look, and is used to highlight already existing detail or to bring out freshly hammered and punched designs.

  • How to Create a Hammered Texture on Metal Blanks
  • Wire Wrapping: How Create an Over-Under Basket Weave Design
  • How to Use the Vintaj Relief Block
  • How to Use Metal Punches
  • How to Use Beadsmith's 12 Face Metalworking Hammer

See also: How to Use Eurotool's Metal Texturing Hammer with 9 Faces | Vintaj Big Kick Etched and Embossed Metal Blanks: Finishing Techniques | How to Distress and Expose A Pocket Watch

Projects with Added Texture

Distressing: Retired - Julianna Earrings | Etching: Crystal Copper Leaves Earrings | Punching: Personalized Name Stamped Mother's Necklace

Adding Color to Metal Components

Adding color to metal jewelry making components allows you to create one-of-a-kind pieces that will set your creations apart. Since you'll be applying the color yourself, you can have complete control over the final look. Give your metals a subtle wash of color, paint it completely, highlight a design detail, create an aged look with patinas, make patterns with rubber stamps, or add a layer of color with transfer sheets or resin. Use multiple techniques together to create a truly custom piece.

See also: Product Guide: How to Use Liver of Sulfur | How to Embellish and Paint a Channel Bangle Bracelet | How to Rubber Stamp and Seal Flat Tags by Becky Nunn | How to Alter a Charm using UV Resin and Transfer Sheets by Becky Nunn | How to Add Opaque Pigments to 2-Part Resin by Becky Nunn

Projects with Colored Metal

Gilders Paste: Retired - The Butterfly Necklace | Patina: Retired - La Boheme Necklace , Retired - Nico Ring in Onyx , Retired - Far Out Ring | Rubber Stamp: Retired - Flying Dragonflies Earrings | Leafing Pen: Retired - Golden Boughs Necklace in Olive

Changing the Shape of Metal Components

The shape of many metal jewelry making components can be manipulated to create a custom piece for your project. Metal sheets and stampings can be warped, bent, curved or dapped by hand or with tools such as mandrels and pliers. Filigree can be gently bent or cut to create a functional piece such as a pendant bail.

Projects with Shaped Metal

Bending: Clockwork Ring | Dapping: Snow Day Necklace


In addition to our large selection of metal stampings and filigree, we also carry a wide range of products to alter your metal components. Browse our entire selection of patinas and colors, hammers, design punches, inks, shaping tools and more.

  • Filigree & Components
  • Stamping Blanks
  • Metal Beads
  • Patinas & Colors
  • Resins & Glazes
  • Transfer Sheets
  • Embossing & Die Cutting Machines
  • Texturing Hammers
  • Dapping & Shaping Tools
  • Metal Design Punches
  • Needle Files
  • Engraving Tools
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