A method of combined thin-film deposition, electron beam lithography, and ion milling is presented for the fabrication of gold and silver nanostructures. The flexibility of lithographical processes for the variation of geometric parameters is combined with three-dimensional control over the surface evolution. Depending on the etching angle, different shapes ranging from cones over rods to cups can be achieved. These size- and shape-tunable structures present a toolbox for nano-optical investigations. As an example, optical properties of systematically varying structures are examined in a parabolic mirror confocal microscope.