How to Mold Copper

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Copper is a versatile material for adding accents to walls or counter tops. Copper is readily available in many different forms. The type of project planned will dictate the type of kind of copper that is needed. Copper in many different forms is readily available. Sheets ranging from as thin as a single millimeter up to one foot thick copper blocks can be purchased on the web. Copper tubing can be purchased at hardware stores.

Things You'll Need

  • Copper sheet, 1 mm or 1.4 mm
  • Household scissors
  • Scrapbooking punches
  • 36-gauge copper sheet
  • Stack of newspapers
  • Carbon paper
  • Drawing papers
  • Soft-edged embossing tool
  • Pointed embossing tool
  • Masking tape
  • Pantina (optional)
  • Copper tubing up to 1/2 inch in diameter
  • Tube cutter, hacksaw or rotary tool with diamond blade
  • Small vice
  • Heavy paper towels or cloth
  • Soup can, coffee can and other round shapes for molding

Hand-Molding Copper

  • Purchase a gauge of copper that is either 1 mm or 1.4 mm. This gauge will be about twice as thick as regular aluminum foil.

  • Use a pair of household scissors to cut out designs in the sheet.

  • Punch out designs using scrapbooking punches.

  • Crumple the foil to create three-dimensional shapes. These can then be secured to other surfaces, if desired.

  • Mold the copper into animal or other shapes by creasing, twisting and bending the sheet.

Copper Sheet Embossing

  • Purchase a copper sheet with a gauge between 30 and 40. The higher the gauge, the thinner the sheet. A good gauge for embossing is 36.

  • Draw a design on a sheet of paper. The design will be transferred to the back of the copper sheet, which means the design will be reversed on the front of the sheet. Letters should be written from right to left and backwards, if they are to be incorporated.

  • Place the copper sheet on a stack of newspapers. Place a piece of carbon paper face down on top of the copper and put the design on top of the paper. Use masking tape to tape the design and carbon paper to the top edge of the copper.

  • Working slowly and carefully, press down firmly with a pencil or soft-edge embossing tool to transfer the design to the copper.

  • Check the front of the copper frequently to ensure that the design is being transferred effectively.

  • Remove the design and carbon paper.

  • Turn the sheet over and use a pointed embossing tool to enhance the details of your design. Press the point of the tool into the small detail areas to bring out the edges of the shape. The tool can also be used to smooth the areas between the design to allow the design to pop out more. Gentle pressure on a flower design, for example, can create a gentle curve of the inner petal while firmer pressure around the edge of the petal will have a different, more distinct result.

  • Finish the copper with a patina if a specific design or color variation is desired. The type of finish will depend on the type of patina that is selected. However, copper does not require any kind of finish before it is used or displayed.

Bending Copper Tubing

  • Purchase a width of copper tubing up to 1/2 inch in diameter. These can be bent by hand.

  • Cut the tubing to the desired size with a hacksaw, a rotary cutter with a diamond blade or a tube cutter.

  • Wrap cloth or heavy paper towels around one end of the tubing. Put the wrapped end into a vise and tighten the vice until the pipe is secure. To make a circular shape, use a soup can or coffee can and bend the piping around the can. Use a series of tin cans in slightly smaller diameters to create spiral designs.

  • Make a half-moon shape by bending the tubing over your thigh or a metal drum or another larger round object. A vice is not necessary when bending the tubing into this type of shape and the tubing can be bent by hand.

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References

  • Photo Credit Thinkstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images
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