So let me tell you about my project! About a few weeks ago, Becky from AMACO
emailed me telling me that she saw on my blog that I like to work with metal and asked me if I would like try their line of metals called ArtEmboss. Well, that was an obvious answer--of course I would!! So she sent me 4 different kinds.
Each handy tube comes with its own embossing tool and pattern sheet (I'll tell you about those later) and the sheets are 9 1/4" x 12". This was great for me, because the only metal I've worked with is aluminum. I got to work with brass, copper, pewter, and aluminum. My overall favorite was the copper. It's easy to work with, very durable (no tearing with the stylus), and when you put black paint on it and wipe it back off, it ends up with a wonderful result. But the pewter was my favorite to work with by far. It's very soft for a metal and flexible which makes it very easy to do whatever you want to it, and even though it's soft, it's very durable. My least favorite was the brass. It seems stiffer, and it was harder to adhere to my surface. I always use heavy gel medium for my glue for metal, but I had to get out my other all time favorite glue for the brass. The name of this glue is called The Ultimate Glue
(LOVE it). And another thing that has me very excited about ArtEmboss metal is that there are also 7 other different colors available, and I most definitely see these in my future. Make sure you check out the AMACO
website for more info.
Becky sent me a very ample supply of metal, so I decided to make 2 pieces of art from it. This gave me an opportunity to try different techniques that I've never tried before, so this was a great learning experience for me also. So here's basically everything that I used for my metal projects:
Starting from the left--this is the pattern sheet and embossing tool that comes with each tube of metal. The tool is wooden and pointed on one side and flat for smoothing out the metal on the other side. And this is now my favorite embossing tool to use--it's not as sharp as a stylus so it's easier on the metal. Also in the photo are stamps, Staz on ink pad (that's the only kind that will work), punches (the metal punches just like any paper--awesome!), hard plastic embossing plates, plastic stencils, rub ons, acrylic paints, and assorted embossing tools (love that hammer). Also, below the pattern sheet you'll see that white square--that's EcoArtBoard
. I love this stuff--I think it might be made from MDF (just like wood). This one was 2" x 2" but they come in assorted small sizes and even a convenient ATC size. You can find it here
. I used these to adhere my metal pieces to and I'll show you what I mean.
So for the first piece, I decided to make a sampler using the 2 x 2 pieces (EcoArtBoard). A great way to start out if you've never worked with metal before. And remember, you can use regular scissors to cut it with. I also wanted to mention that when you emboss metal, it works best with padding underneath. I use an old mouse pad--works great.
I used my stamps with Staz on ink for both of these. The one on the left is aluminum with copper corners, and the one on the right is the brass, and I used the pattern sheet for the border. All you have to do is tape down the metal (with painters tape), and also the pattern sheet on top of it. And then just trace the pattern with your embossing tool onto the metal. It will leave an imprint. Then just take your embossing tool and go over the imprinted metal on both sides to make the pattern deeper.
On these two I used my heart punches. I've never used punches on metal before, and what was I waiting for?! I'm telling you, if you know how to use a paper punch, then you can do this. On the top one, which was copper, I collaged the lady on the Eco board (Old postage stamp--actually) and glued the metal over the image, and I also rubbed a little aqua/blue paint over the copper (I was going for the patina look on this one). I used the pattern sheet from AMACO again. And on the bottom one, I did the same thing with scrapbook paper, and put pewter over it and this was embossed with the embossing plate mold. And I want to mention again that I adhered all of the pieces (with a little help from my friend The Ultimate Glue for the brass) with heavy gel medium.
These two were made with the rub on butterflies--the top one is brass and the half- flower was made from the embossing mold. And the bottom one is pewter and the heart on top is copper. I added some metallic bronze paint around the sides of this one. And remember, after I emboss the metal, I always dry brush black acrylic paint over top and then immediately wipe it off, so the black just stays in the imprinted part.
This one was soooo simple. I made a packing tape transfer of this image and decopauged it on pewter this time with Mod Podge, and then just doodled in the border. If you don't know how to do a packing tape transfer, let me know--it's so fun--it's addictive.
On this brass piece, I used my stencil--very easy, and then just doodled again around the border.
And finally, on these 2 copper ones, I just basically doodled again, except for the bird . I found a sketched image of a bird that was the perfect size, so I traced over it. When I finished them all, I sprayed a workable fixative over them and put a gloss varnish over that. The varnish will tend to wash away the black paint, so the fixative takes care of that problem.
Okay, so now comes the embellishing. You didnt think I would finish these without embellishing them, did you?!
And here's the finished piece--
I put all of the pieces on a 6 x 12 gallery wrapped canvas, collaged with a very cool glittery scrapbook paper. I have to say--I'm very proud of this piece!
So for my next piece, I wanted to do another fun technique with the metal. I wanted to make a picture with it. I'll show you what I mean. I started out with a 6 x 12 gallery canvas again and made my background on it--
And I decided to put a vase of flowers on it. I used my flower paper punch to make the flowers.
These two were made from copper and pewter, and in the center of them, I used my buttonhole paper punch so I could attach them together with buttons. I also put a little yellow ochre wash on the pewter flower. You could also keep adding more layers of flowers if you want to.
And then I made a copper vase (I used a stencil and a little doodling for the design) with a little of the aqua paint again for a patina effect.
I adhered this to a piece of fun foam for dimension--you just trace the vase form around the foam. Another thing that I wanted to tell you is that some artists will reinforce the back of the embossed metal with plaster or wax to make the embossing more stable. I've never done this, but it's worth a try if you want to take the time. So here's the final result--
Another piece that makes me smile! So in the end--it's up to you to try different techniques--these aren't the rules of embossing metal--anything goes. And the only learning curve that you'll have, is how much pressure to apply to the metal with your tool which is pretty simple. In the end, it's just another collage element to fool around with and add to your mixed media pieces or jewelry or whatever!
I'm so glad that Becky from AMACO
asked me to try out these metals. I've learned so much more of what I can do with metal, and because of that, I achieved this--
Thanks again Becky!!