Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Girl Who Played With Fire

No, not that one, although I did read the books. I don't have a dragon tattoo either. But I do play with fire. The kind from a pencil torch. You're either interested now or you think I've completely lost it. Or both.  Easier to show you maybe?

Butane Pencil and Micro Torches
 Sure I could make creme brulee but I'd rather fire up copper. Why? Because it's cool and changes colors! See:
Embossed and fire heated copper acorn plaque
This may be old news to many of you but one thing I'm learning in blog land is that something's always new to someone.
Several years ago I was at a stamp show and a woman named Elaine Woodhouse was there and she had a micro torch! My inner pyromaniac came out and I stood there transfixed as she not only did incredible metal embossing...on aluminum and brass which is cool enough on its own, but the copper is what got me. When you heat it it is just magical. You don't have to have a can use a candle or if you have a gas stove etc. but a torch helps. When I went to the same show a couple of years later, she'd graduated to the larger pencil torch so of course I had to as well! If you want to see some how-tos on metal embossing click on her name. She's amazing. You may also have seen Ten Seconds Studio metal embossing projects. I saw them at another show ( notice a pattern here?) and went gaga for their tools. So I've done aluminum, brass, and copper and right now I'll show you a copper project.

Start with your image which can be a stamp (use Staz-On ink) or a clipart image, or a stencil, or if you have actual talent....freehand. I used clipart for this:

This is a sheet of copper I had in my stash. JoAnn's sells some by Walnut Hollow that's about the same weight. Or AMACO makes embossing metal too. Lay your image over your metal which you should place on a stack of newspapers or a special rubber mat that's sold w/ embossing metal supplies. You want your impression to "sink".
Trace your image, and then flip your piece over and go along your outlines to make it pop. You can puff out from the underside. I'm sure there's a You Tube video that makes more sense. I used this pattern wheel thingy to make random designs for no particular reason other than it gives it depth.

I only have two hands so I didn't take pictures while I was torching the copper but do that next. You don't want to hold it too long in one spot and the pencil torch goes REALLY FAST. You also don't want to have just put on a lot of perfume or hairspray. Or have a nervous husband screaming "please don't burn the house down" which is why I do this when he's not home. You will get different results every time you do this which for me is part of the fun!
Once again, one image doesn't want to flip the way I want it to
Sometimes I leave the metal alone at this point. Sometimes not. This time not. I wanted a less shiny finish so I went over it with black acrylic paint and wiped it off. You can use these as embellishments for other projecs or whatever you want. I made a plaque by covering a wood piece w/ scrapbook paper and Mod Podge, attaching some decorative copper thingies and rhinestones, finished the edges w/ copper tape and adhered my metal piece to the plaque using super strong double sided carpet tape. This time of year is when I get my torch out because the copper turns all the colors of  Fall.

Linking Up At:

A Little Knick Knack


Cass @ That Old House said...

Oh wow -- those colors are amazing. I've seen copper pipe turn odd colors when the plumber uses a torch on it, (we have an old house and there's always a plumber here, it seems) but I've never seen such glorious colors as these!
"inner pyromaniac...." hahahaha!

Netty said...

This is so beautiful and can understand you getting hooked on copper, you have produced some amazing results and thank you for showing how you created it.
Annette x

Jessica Warrick said...

wow i love it. its so beautiful..

Michelle L. said...

Carol! This is new to me! What a great project and cool tool to have in the crafty arsenal. Love it! That acorn is the perfect image for this. Thanks a buncho!

Lori said...

Ok, so you don't have a dragon tattoo, but that doesn't mean you DON'T have one, right? So what is it and more importantly where's it at? lol!
Love copper, have yet to try heating it, your piece looks really, really cool, both you and your husband should be proud..

LuLu Kellogg said...

This is definitely new to me and now I want to try it! You are such alovely soul to share this with us...thank you! I am off to search the internet for one of those torches...I too love fire!


Chrissy said...

Awesome!! I love it!! What a great idea!

Unknown said...

That is so stinkin' cool! Thanks for sharing!

Erin @ Crafts and Sutch said...

That is too cool! :) I want one! :)

Unknown said...

I'm in a copper phase, too! I love it.

Melissa said...

I've always been intrigued by this but never attempted it. Your acorn is gorgeous.

Cindy Adkins said...

Oh my gosh--your talent never ceases to amaze me!!!
This is gorgeous and so perfect for this season too!!
Wow, it is amazing.

Suzy Myers said...

New to me too! Now I'm plotting all kinds of new crafty projects. My husband says I need to finish the ones I've already started first... we'll see.


Michele {The Scrap Shoppe} said...

VERY fun, Carol!! Love this project. I need to get my hands on some fire...

Jenn Seratt said...

Copper is my absolute favorite! I love the patina you achieved with this. Would you consider linking this up to my Sunday Art Therapy link party and flikr group at Seeds on a Breeze? Hope to see you there!

Holly Lefevre said...

That is awesome. I love finding new techniques and ideas...fabulous. I just received a woodburning tool and cannot wait to play with fire.

This is too darn cool!

Manish Batra said...

Hey, very nice site. I came across this on Google, and I am stoked that I did. I will definitely be coming back here more often. Wish I could add to the conversation and bring a bit more to the table, but am just taking in as much info as I can at the moment. Thanks for sharing.
Transporter Wheelchair

Keep Posting:)

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Manish Batra said...
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