Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Playing around... again!

As mentioned in an earlier post, I bought one of Mary Hettmanspeger's books and have been playing around with some of her techniques.

I buy books (too many books) for inspiration and new techniques.  Mary's eclectic style is not my usual way to work but there is no reason not try new things and see what I can incorporate into my style.  (I'm still trying to figure out what my style is..... but I'll save some of that discussion for a later post!)

Anyway, I'm working with sheet copper while playing around with these techniques.  26 Ga copper (that's the thickness of the sheet) is easy enough to cut with Joyce Chen scissors.  (Thank God for those scissors.  I can't imagine cutting them out with the jeweler's saw, although I did that in college and loved it.  Oh well, our tastes change as we get older!)

Last time it was etching the copper, adding a green patina and doing cold connections using rivets.  (That's another whole story with the rivet machine...... I used the tried and true method of just hammering them.)

This time it was using embossing powder, stamping and stencils.  (I found that I liked the stencils best.)
For this technique all the materials are found in the paper department of the local craft store.

Double stamped using pearl embossing powder (my favorite of the stamping technique.)

Double stamped using two different colors of embossing powder

These techniques are quick and easy.  Just buy a stamping pad with clear ink to adhere the embossing powder to the metal.  Stamp the metal, sprinkle on the powder and shake off the excess.... then heat with a heat gun.  Quick and easy.

Embossing powder applied, using a stencil, with three different colors of embossing powder.

Using only one color of embossing powder with the stencil.

To stencil the metal..... hold the stencil in place and use a stencil brush to apply the stamping medium.  (A little is all that is needed.)  Without moving the stencil, sprinkle on the embossing powder, carefully remove the stencil and heat with the heat gun.  For more than one color, use the heat gun after each color is applied.

After either technique a spray sealer was applied to preserve the shiny copper and the embossed design.

The technique is fun and easy, but we (my cousin was working with me that day) did learn a few things not to do.  
1.  The metal should be cleaned by scrubbing with an abrasive cleaner (like Comet) or the powder won't stick.
2.  If a mistake is made and the surface is wiped clear it needs to be cleaned again (we used alcohol..... rubbing alcohol, not the drinking kind.  That would be a waste.)
3.  Any hammering, drilling or shaping needs to be done before the powder is applied.  The powder doesn't seem to rub off with our fingers once it is heated, but flaking occurred if we tried to hammer the edges or drill the holes for hanging.

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