Embossing on Metal – for Beginners

Embossing on metal has always fascinated me so when I came across a metal embossing kit on clearance, I couldn’t resist.

If you’re into adult colouring books, or paint by numbers, this could be something fun and different to explore!

Do It Over Designers

Today we’re taking part in the Do It Over Designers blog Hop hosted by Ann at The Apple Street Cottage.

We’re a group of bloggers who take something old and/or unused and ‘do it over’ into something new. These items can be found in closets, barns, garages, yard sales, thrift stores, you name it! Don’t forget to check out the other projects at the bottom of this post. And be sure to drop back in throughout the week to visit them all!

Before we get into the tutorial, don’t forget to get your DIY mojo on at Birdz of a Feather and subscribe! You can also follow us on Pinterest, Facebook, YouTube and Instagram.

Supplies

[If you’re looking for some of the things we used, we’ve got you covered (disclosure): Clicking on the affiliate links below, means we may receive a commission from Amazon. But don’t worry, you don’t pay a cent more and it helps us make more unique crafts to share with you! Thanks for helping to support our blog!]

  • Metal embossing tools. The kit I have is no longer available, and I couldn’t find a similar quality set on Amazon. So search your local market for ball, teflon tools and embossing wheels if you want to expand from a beginner project like this. In the interim, an empty ball point pen will trace just fine. Clay sculpting tools will work if you have them. I also noticed some interesting engraving heads on my soldering iron set that would also work (no need to plug it in)! Try whatever you have on hand and just have fun with it.
  • Paper stumps
  • Embossing Foil
  • Foam sheet. A small piece is great for a beginner project like this, but you may want a larger sheet for bigger projects (like the one linked).

Embossing on Metal Tutorial

After watching a few videos to understand the principles of embossing I decided to do my own thing, as I always do :). So out comes a stencil to play with!

Using a ruler to provide a straight edge, I first create an outline around the piece of metal with the embossing wheel you see above.

Position the stencil where you want it, then tape it down to the metal so it can’t shift. This will end up being the ‘right’ side.

This step happens on a hard, smooth surface. Trace the outline of the stencil onto the metal.

Flip the whole thing over. Now you can easily see the shape of the hearts. Use a paper stump to rub along the entire inside of the pattern.

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Look at the difference in definition; the upper right heart now has more depth.

Here’s all four hearts after using the paper stump.

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After flipping it over to the right side, you can see that the depth of the hearts can’t go any deeper than the thickness of the stencil. But we can change that in the next step.

Remove the Stencil

Once I remove the stencil, I further define the hearts by retracing around the edges with a ball tool.

But now we’re going to introduce a piece of foam to add depth. Placing the foam sheet under the work and rubbing again with the paper stump will really emphasize the embossing!

The addition of the foam allows the hearts to sink deeper:

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The more you rub into the foam, the more the metal will stretch to emphasize the relief.

Again, flipping to the right side the hearts really puff out. Isn’t the 3-D effect amazing?

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Embossing on Metal – Create Dots

Still use the foam. This time I’m adding dots using a larger ball tool to mark a divot in the metal.

With the smaller ball tool, spin it around the edges and work into the middle.

That makes quick work of puffing out the dots!

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Importance of Taping

To demonstrate how important it is to tape the stencil, I’m going to ‘wing it’, by not taping the stencil down.

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The top diamond shape turns out pretty good, but the one my finger is pointing to on the bottom is much less defined. It’s REALLY difficult to get detail on a stencil when it’s not secured well to the metal.

Here’s my beginner sampler using a stencil to emboss.

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So, what can you do with it? I’m upcycling a thrifted photo box.

Apply the metal embossing to the recess of the photo box! Since all my printed pictures are 4″x 6″, and I don’t want to chop one up to fill the windows on the end, applying a decorative panel like this embossing is ideal!

Imagine doing this on a larger scale to fill in the panel on a cupboard door! Wouldn’t that be cool?

One last tip. For this little project I didn’t bother. But for metal as deeply embossed as this, it’s suggested that the back is filled with beeswax so the embossed parts can’t accidentally be dented.

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Pin Embossing on Metal

We love it when you share our upcycle ideas. Pinning is always welcome and appreciated 🙂

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Crochet for a Cure

If you haven’t heard, we’ve just launched a pattern shop, where we’re donating 100% of our proceeds to Alzheimer’s. You’ll find patterns, like our signature Kayla Pillow, Air Planter Pods and Tooth Fairy Pillow (shown below), available to purchase as a donation to our Alzheimer’s fundraiser.

Come visit us to purchase a pattern; with 100% going to charity, it’s a win-win!

Do it Over Designers

Visit these other talented bloggers for more do-it-over transformations!

 

 

 

34 thoughts on “Embossing on Metal – for Beginners

  1. Sara, this is another one of those mediums I’ve never tried. It always looked too difficult. Your tutorial helped to show that it can be done!

    • I was intimidated too, but it’s really very easy and a load of fun. Hope you give it a try one day 🙂

  2. Oh wow, Sara! What a fun way to add texture and dimension to projects! I’ve always been curious about trying this and will look around for a simple kit. Thanks for sharing this technique! You come up with the best ideas!

  3. I have never thought about trying this, it looks like a relaxing craft. Great tip of proving tape needs to used and why. Very clear tutorial.

    Great share!

    • Thanks Marie! I’m so happy to scratch it off the list of things to try. Now I’m excited to advance to something more adventurous:)

    • Thank you Ann! Yes, I’d definitely use the wax on something like this that could get handled a lot. I’ll have to show that step next time I do an embossing project 🙂

    • Ha ha – thanks Alys, you’re definitely right that there’s never a dull moment. I hope you drop in tomorrow (Monday) to see my newest creation using soda cans. It’s pretty unique and I think you’ll get a kick out of it 🙂

  4. Well you made that look so easy. I must be honest I tried it and failed, maybe I do not have the patience. I love how you added it into that box that was such a brilliant idea. It would look great covering a small box too.

    • I was originally going to do this for my aluminum can project. But apparently, getting the printing off the can is an involved, smelly process that I just didn’t want to do. I need to find an easier method first. I would love to cover an entire box; hopefully I’ll get around to that in an upcoming project if I don’t get distracted by other stuff :).

  5. It turned out beautiful, Sara. I love all the shapes you combined, it reminds me of Swedish folk art patterns. This would look amazing on a small planter too. Mmmmmm you’ve just made all the hamsters in my head go into overdrive 😀

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