Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Meddling with Metal!

I’ve been having fun with metal. I bought some sheets of metal in different colours when I got my Cricut embossing kit but I haven’t done a lot with it yet. I recently discovered that much better than buying it, you can get it completely free in the form of empty drinks cans! We are not great fans of fizzy drinks but my hubby has the occasional can of beer, and I’ve asked him to find me some empty cans from other people, so today I made a start.

The Tonic scissors are absolutely brilliant for this – and for everything else, actually – they are quite simply the very best pair of scissors I have ever owned. They will cut through metal as if it was butter, without ruining the blades! I managed to cut the top and bottom off the can, and then along the length of the cylinder. You do have to be very careful as you end up with very sharp jagged edges, but I managed to complete the task without injury, and straight away I trimmed the rough edges by scoring them and snapping off the excess, and then resorted to one of my trusty needle files set to file off any sharpness. It was difficult to get rid of the curve in the metal, but I thought when I embossed it, it would help, as indeed it did, but hasn’t eliminated the problem.

Here’s my first attempt. I cut the piece down to fit in my Cuttlebug “Diamond Plate” embossing folder, and when I put it through the Cuttlebug, to start with I thought nothing was happening as it went through so easily, but out emerged a very impressive result no pun intended!):

01 Embossed Drink Can Metal

I think this is great! Here is the reverse side, showing the debossing on the printed drink can:

02 Embossed Drink Can Metal Reverse

(Just to prove I didn’t cheat!)

It’s great using tins. Not only is it free, but it helps the environment, too!

I had a small piece left over when I cut off the excess, and I decided to play with some alcohol inks. I wanted a nice dark grungy feel, but went completely mad when I put the inks on the applicator – I put far too much on, so I quickly grabbed a couple of spare fragments of purchased metal and did those too.

03 Brown Alcohol Ink on Metal Pieces

The first piece I did is the one at the top (with the curve in it) from the drink can. The other two pieces have had some Blending Medium added. The picture doesn’t do them justice – they look a lot richer than this.

The inks I used were: Pinata alcohol inks in Pitch Black, Burro Brown, and Calabaza Orange. Ranger Gold Mixative alcohol ink, and Blending Solution.

I am going to emboss these pieces.

A few days ago I found a wonderful tutorial from Christie of http://creationsbychristie.blogspot.com/ on how to make charms using Tim Holtz stuff – you can see the video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xTO1beLbNgI – I thought I simply must make some of these! I have completed one, and started another.

The first one is a clock face, with the image being taken from the Tim Holtz Idea-ology paper stack “Lost and Found.”

01 Watch Face Charm Front

The paper was stuck to the back of one of Tim Holtz’ Idea-ology Charm Fragments with Ranger Glossy Accents.

For the back of the charm, I used some embossed metal. First of all I took a small piece of metal and coloured it with Pinata alcohol inks in Calabaza Orange, Burro Brown, Sunbright Yellow and Chile Pepper. I then put it through the Cuttlebug using the Tim Holtz Alterations Texture Fades embossing folder “Retro Circles” – I forgot to take a photo at this stage, but the small piece of metal had several circles and part circles on it. I lightly sanded the embossed surface to reveal the silver colour of the metal and emphasise the design, and I cut one out to back the charm with. I stuck it on with Glossy Accents and filed the edges to remove any roughness. Finally, I coated the whole surface with glossy accents and left it to dry.

02 Watch Face Charm Back

I liked the inked and embossed circles so much that I decided to use the remaining few on my faux rust ATC sample, butting the part circles up to the edges and sticking them down with Pinflair glue, and filing the edges to remove any sharp corners.

11 Rust ATC Sample with Embellishments

I started another charm, this time with an image from the Tim Holtz Idea-ology paper stack “Crowded Attic.” At this stage, the image has been adhered to the Charm Fragment with Ranger Glossy Accents and left to dry. I shall back it with some of the dark brown metal once I’ve embossed it. I love the way the Charm Fragment almost magnifies the image underneath.

03 Numbers Charm WIP

This is a fun technique! Thanks Christie!

Being relatively new to all this, one thing I am impressed with is how the whole of the Tim Holtz range of products is designed to work together. The Charm Fragments, for example, are just the right size to fit exactly over the various sized images in the paper stacks, and there are rubber stamps to correspond exactly with the Texture Fades embossing folders, so that you can mix and match, and co-ordinate the various products and techniques, knowing that everything will fit. It’s always a pleasure to use materials and equipment that have been designed with care, and into which a great deal of thought has been put.

I am intending to make more charms, and add some of the beads I got at our recent village fete, and use these to decorate some of the steampunk items I am making for our forthcoming church exhibition and sale.


  1. You are just so clever and creative, Shoshi! I love seeing what you come up with:)

  2. Really liking this effect Shoshi! Think it has a lot of scope for some great craft work! :) CindyCB. x


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