Saturday, February 21, 2015

Saturday Share - Re-Visit...Embossing Metal with a Sizzix Big Shot

Hi all, I have been swamped with day job woes, meeting publication deadlines, and well, just everyday family life.  Today, I decided to am re-run a post from almost exactly 2 years ago. Hope you get some inspiration and ideas!

It's no secret I love textured metal...hammered, punched, stamped, etched, embossed. My 1st foray into the arena of texturing metal was by hitting it really hard with my chasing hammer...I didn't really know what I was doing, but it made cool divots in the surface, and I was immediately addicted. Plus, it felt really good to pound the hammer against the poor metal, leaving a lasting mark!

I eventually went to metal stamps, which deceptively a lot harder than it looked...I could never get a complete design, and when I would try a second hit, I got a lot of shadow images!

Next was etching...I like the result, but it is messy.

Next, after falling in love with Keirsten Giles' gorgeous stamped designs, came hammering brass texture plates directly onto the metal.  Her generous posts on using vintage coins actually opened my eyes to more possibilities...also, she stressed the fact that you needed to anneal the metal and tape it down to your steel block so it doesn't move!  Why didn't I think of that!  I still love this technique and use it frequently!

Next, I became drawn to gorgeous designs by various artists created by using ordinary textures found in nature...leaves, lace, screen mesh, etc.  This, I found out, entails using a rolling mill.  Want!  But, yikes, the least expensive ones are expensive!  Like so many of us, I was/am broke!

Fast forward to seeing a blog posts by Erin Prais-Hintz about her Vintaj Big Kick.  I was intrigued and interested, but not so much in using the thin brass Vintaj blanks that were recommended.  I wanted to use metal sheet, and I wanted it to be more durable.  Then, this past fall I came across a blog post at Cinnamon Jewellery on her experiments with the Sizzix Big Shot.  I immediately decided I wanted to give this a go.  Right before Christmas, I found it on sale at Amazon and told Hubby that he could get it for me to put under the tree or I would get it for myself.  Nice, obedient (snort) guy that he is, he got it, but wouldn't let me play with it until after Christmas!

Here it is...

 Basically, it is a rolling mill originally created for embossing paper goods and other scrapbooking crafts.  It comes with this sort of folder that enables you to place media in with the embossing templates and create a layered stack that is thick enough to press the images into the media, be it paper or metal.  The embossing folders to use are also created by Sizzix, or you can use other similar ones by other companies.  I actually found the 2 I currently have at Michaels, but there are lots more on line.

I have tried up to 22 gauge metal with great success.  The trick is to anneal the metal very well.  I usually pickle afterward so as not to stain the embossing folders with firescale and grunge!  The cool thing about these folders is that they are a bit transparent so you can see the design on top of the metal and line up the metal exactly where you want the embossing to happen.  The folder has a positive and negative design, so the finished piece is 2-sided, unlike etching and stamping.

Here are a few pieces I have created since using mine...

These were patina'ed with Ranger Inks and sealed with Ice Resin
...featuring ceramic beads by LeAnn Weih.

These were torch-fired enameled for a cool effect...featuring lampwork by Jelveh Jafarian.

These were run through the Big Kick, then punched with holes!

Favorites..they were bought by my sister as a gift to her daughter-jn-law!  I need to make more!

That's all for today...I want to do some more experimenting using texture plates and maybe some found object textures, but that will have to wait...I have an 11 yo with the dreaded flu, and 3 new baby guinea pigs to figure out!  Please share any experiences you have had with using the Big Shot or Big Kick with metal...especially non-Vintaj brass!


Thanks for letting me share this older post....a few months after I posted this, I did a followup, using other things for embossing...check it out here!  And don't forget that 1 week from today is the AJE Component of the Month hop, featuring metal clay components from yours truly!!!


  1. This was of real interest to me. I've moved on to jewellery making since buying my bigshot. You have inspired me to have a go. Heheh had to laugh at you not taping the coin before hammering. You sound just like me. Would not have thought to secure it either :-) Looking forward to more of your posts.

  2. I use the Big Kick and Vintaj folders to emboss VIntaj metals. I have never tried using the plastic folders although I do have many of them. I really need to buy a torch to anneal metal with. I would love to by able to do more and that is my next step. I have to admit I am afraid of using a torch. I would love to hear what others are doing with metals not from Vintaj and what they are actually using also.

    1. I don't know anything about Vintaj metals. Are they already heat treated or just very thin? Don't be afraid of the torch. I have a very portable one and a slab or granite. Might be an idea get such a non threatening one and use it near the kitchen sink. You can adjust the flame size until you get used to it. I would give you the brand name but it is cheap and chips and does not extinguish itself readily even when I turn the switch off. I just blow on it.:-) My other half has banned me from using it as a spider zapper. I'm more scared of those creatures than of any torch.

  3. Thanks for the mention Melissa!
    Using the Bigshot was really useful for producing some cool textures with the Vintaj plates before I got a rolling mill :D


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