Wednesday, October 3, 2012


 Copper Tooling is a fun and sophisticated project that requires relatively few materials. Here is a list of what you will need.
-Copper Foil (or substitute)
-Metal Tooling Kit (or ball point pens, popsicle sticks, wooden stylus, be creative!)
-White Paper
-Liver of Sulfur or India Ink
-Small cup
-Steel Wool

Wrap a pre-cut piece of foil with plain white drawing paper to determine the size of your image. Unwrap the foil and set it aside. Carefully draw your image into the box on the paper with a pencil.
We chose Mimbres animal images that can be found on the internet. I work with Hopi students, so some of my kids chose Hopi images.

Now wrap the foil again so that your image is directly over the foil. Place the paper and foil on a magazine or some newspaper and trace all of your pencil lines with a ball point pen. Press hard and go slow so that you emboss all of the lines in your design.

 After you have traced all your lines, unwrap the foil and begin further tooling. Keep working on top of a few magazines as this provides a soft surface which allows the foil to be deeply embossed.
Decide which areas you would like to have relief (stand up), and working from the back, push those areas out using the appropriate sized tool. Popsicle sticks work well for this.

 After you have finished all of your tooling and embossing, you can apply a coat of Liver of Sulfur or India Ink. Try painting it over the entire surface and then using steel wool to polish out some desired areas, or carefully paint the LOS or India Ink only where you would like it.

 When you have completely finished all of the steps then you can choose how to display it. We have glued then nailed some of our copper pictures to blocks of wood which we then painted with decorative borders. We have also wrapped them around mat board, or matted them like you would a drawing or a painting.
 Good luck, and please let me know if you have any questions or suggestions. Thanks!


  1. That must have been fun for the kids - to see what all their work produced!

  2. hai, i'm from SULTAN IDRIS EDUCATION UNIVERSITY,your information is very important, i can use this note in my assigment. thanks..

  3. I just found some copper plates in our "old supplies" collection at Summer Camp and was wondering how to use them. Thank you for posting! I'll let you know if we come up with any new ideas-some of our campers are super out-of-the-box thinkers.