First I'm going to share two cards that use copper in a different way than die-cuts.
Embossed copper is simply amazing. Because it is thicker than card stock, it really embosses deeply. Makes for a beautiful background ...
This has the heated copper embossed with a woodgrain folder. Simple. I added a white die-cut of leaves and a frame with simple sentiment. I'm including a close-up of the embossed copper so you can see even more detail ...
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If you wanted to have a die-cut copper object on your card, but don't have a die that will cut through the thick copper, here's an alternative. Use your card stock card front to die-cut your image and use the negative, backed with copper. This way you have your object in copper, but from a different perspective.
I die-cut the leaf on my main card stock panel and then glued a solid piece of heated copper behind it ... a simple alternative to a die-cut copper leaf. I'll include a close-up so you can see the details ...
I hope this encourages those of you that have had some frustrations using copper. As always, feel free to email me if you have any questions (link is in the right column near the top).
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Stamps: Sunny Sentiments (Amy R) (card 1); Many Thanks (Paper Smooches (card 2)
Ink: Early Espresso (SU!)
Accessories & Tools: Big Shot, Fresh Foliage die (Memory Box), Meadow Leaf die (Poppy Stamps), copper sheet, mini torch (card 1), heat tool (card 2), woodgrain embossing folder (Cuttlebug)
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Edited to add info on buying Copper Sheets.
My supplier for copper is in Canada ($22/roll), but they purchase it from the manufacturer in USA.
K&S Precision Metals - Chicago Illinois (click link for their website with list of retailers).
#6020 - Soft Copper (.005 thick - 36 gauge) is the copper I use and it comes in 12" x 30" rolls (find it under Craft Products). Their copper is wonderful and turns lovely shades of orange, pink, and blue when heated.
I have also bought copper from Basic Copper - also based in Chicago, Illinois (same thickness). Their copper is a little different. Still works well, but when heated turns more golds and not the rainbow of colors I get from the other manufacturer.
Tips for heating Copper:
Copper sheets are heated until they start to turn color (orange, pink, blue) ... it's so pretty!
- Use a mini torch (creme brulee torch from kitchen supply store works well). There is an alternative!! Jacquie follows my blog and contacted me to say that she used her heat tool --- thanks Jacquie!! I hadn't even thought of giving that a try. My heat gun is "borrowed" from hubby's workshop, so it is bigger and gets hotter than the craft ones (I think these heat guns were originally intended to strip paint). I tried it today - success!! It does heat the copper slower, so I had more time to react once it starts to turn color. It takes a little longer than the torch, but I love the control of it and will be experimenting further. I assume that Jacquie used her craft heat gun ... so I hope she'll comment on this post to let us know. I'm assuming it will work well, but take a bit of time to get the copper to change.
- No matter what you use to heat the copper, it is easier to heat a full sheet and then die-cut / cut for your project. You have more control because a large sheet (I usually cut them 5" x 6") heats slower than if you had a small die-cut and were trying to heat it. This is what I do for my mini torch. If using a craft heat tool, maybe die-cutting first and then heating a smaller piece won't take as much time - need to experiment further with that).
- If the copper becomes overheated, it turns a silver color. To avoid that from happening (I always get some silver on my sheets - but not the majority), I keep my torch above the copper (about three or four inches) and moving at all times. As soon as I see a section start to turn color, I pull the torch away ... there is a delay and the copper will continue to change for a second or two, so under-heating is the way to go until you are comfortable.
Tips for cutting (die-cutting) Copper:
Copper is soft and can be cut with scissors. Because it is thicker than card stock, it embosses really beautifully using the embossing folders and makes wonderful backgrounds.
It can be die-cut … some dies work better than others:
- The original Sizzix dies (about an inch thick) cut through it easily – usually with one pass.
- Thin steel dies that are just an outline die work fairly well, although you may need to add a shim of card stock to put extra pressure. Running it back and forth through your machine a couple of times also helps.
- The solid steel dies aren’t the best for this technique, but it depends on the brand ... so it’s a matter of experimenting (I have had success with some Cheery Lynn leaf dies only). Again, use a shim to add more pressure if you need to. Also, run it back and forth through your machine several times. If it mostly cuts, but leaves little bits attached, you can use your scissors to get the tough parts, but BE CAREFUL, the edges are very sharp! If it doesn't cut through at all, then it's not going to no matter what you do ... it will emboss the image and that's another way to use copper.
After die-cutting the pieces, running it through a die-cutting machine just between the cutting plates (no dies or shims), flattens out any sharp edges you may get during die-cutting. A stylus works well to add shape afterwards if you don’t want it flat.
And, if you want to make the die-cuts thicker, you can die-cut the same image in card stock and glue to the back of the copper die-cut (this also helps eliminate any sharp edges). Tombow Multi-glue works well for me, but there are probably lots of glues that will work.
Hope this helps!