Bronze sheets are a great material for metal embossing projects. Bronze is an alloy of copper and tin, making it strong enough to stamp or punch without puncturing. Bronze is the toughest material commonly used in metal embossing, even the thinnest bronze sheet is harder than its counterparts. Yet it’s still soft and malleable enough to press by hand.
The great thing about bronze sheets is that after embossing it, the metal retains its shape, and you can rely that your work of art will stand the test of time. The downside though is that bronze tarnishes easily. Touch it with your fingers and you’ll see your prints mark immediately. Not to worry though, because a little polish and protection with a spray sealer is all it takes to keep it from tarnishing further.
On the other hand, if you’re looking for additional texture, you may want to actually leave the tarnish in. You can even apply patina to make the embossed metal look more antique. There are multiple patinas available on the market that can help you achieve a natural antique look with your bronze sheets. The pewter patina in particular, can darken the copper in the bronze sheet and create an interesting old look.
Heating up a sheet with a direct flame or torch is another way to give your sheets different patinas. Heat changes copper’s colors to red, green, blue, orange, and white, depending on the level of heat and length of exposure. If you want to explore this patina technique, always take the necessary safety precautions to avoid burns, as the metal gets extremely hot. Wear protective gear at all times, including gloves and eye gear. Handle the metal with pliers.
As with any sheet metal, the edges of a bronze sheet can be extremely sharp, so be careful when working with the material. Professional bronze sheet embossers recommend that you trim sharp corners and make them slightly rounded to prevent your hands from getting cut. Additionally, you can blunt the edges with sandpaper or sanding block. Rub the edges until they’re no longer sharp or rough to touch with your bare fingers.
It can be a challenge to learn a new craft, but the ease at which you can bend and shape bronze sheets make the learning curve something that you can easily overcome. Don’t be afraid to experiment. Order your bronze sheets from Rotax Metals and enjoy the unique artworks you can create with this easy-to-work-with material.
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