Warning: The final result of this project is not always what
students wish it would be, but they generally enjoy this process anyway.
With all projects, I think it is important that the teacher first
make the project. You learn SOOOOO much about the project when you
actually create it yourself. With Metal Tooling, you just ABSOLUTELY
MUST make the project so you can help explain it to your students.
print out an object for this project. It should not be too simple
or too complicated. (Human faces are especially a challenge.) The
object should fit into a 6" x 8" space with a bit of a border space
Tape the photocopy
to the foil, place the foil on a magazine or other soft surface, and
trace the photocopy with a ballpoint pen. (When finished, save the
photocopy for reference while tooling.) Turn the foil to the backside
and "score" the foil by tracing along the inside edge of the indentation
made from tracing on the other side.
The metal tooling
is given three dimensions by pressing the object up from the back
and pressing the background down from the front. Students may use
whatever object helps them to do this. Popsicle sticks are especially
useful but so are the reverse ends of ballpoint pens, compass points,
reverse ends of India ink pens and a whole lot of other items in the
of the metal tooling need to stand out more than other parts of the
project. Begin with areas that do not need to be pressed out as far
(usually background items.) Push the object out from the back, and
the background down from the front, until the desired depth is attained.
Use the flat surface of the Popsicle stick repeatedly to smooth out
the surface of the metal getting a crisp edge between the object and
the background. Then, continue pressing out areas that should stick
out even deeper.
with the tooling process, use the Popsicle stick to make the background
surface as smooth as possible. During the process, students may accidentally
tear the surface of the foil. It happens -- just have the students
carefully try to close the tear as much as possible. When the metal
tooling is completed, hold the art up to the light to locate the tears.
Apply masking tape on the front of the metal to cover any holes.
Wax: Melt wax or wax pellets on the heating plate. First try
to cover over the tears with spoonfills of melted wax. Let the wax
cool before continuing. Then, place the metal tooling on the wooden
background with the front facing down. Fill in the tooled areas with
wax. Take as much care as possible to only put wax in the filled areas
and not to spill it on the background surface that should remain flat.
Clean up any spilled wax on the back and front of the metal and smooth
out the surface one more time.
wooden sheet over the metal tooling from the back. Then, roll the
edge of the wood on the table top to help fold the metal along the
top and bottom of the art. Fold it down tightly around the back of
the wood after checking to be sure the object is centered. Trim the
corners of the folded metal slightly above the corners so that when
the metal is folded on the next two sides, it won't be too thick.
To do this, I cut off a small triangle of metal from each corner.
Fold the metal
over the other two sides. Use masking tape to seal the entire metal
edge. The corners of the project are sharp so roll them on the floor
or table to dull the point. Finally, if the student wishes to have
a little bit of a shadowed effect on the project, India ink may be
poured onto the surface and then wiped off with newspaper or paper