Metal Sheets can be used in multiple ways to create gorgeous projects. In this case, we are going to focus on the use of Metal Sheets by the traditional Metal Embossing technique, also called “Repoussé” (French) or “Repujado” (Spanish).
Metal Sheets can be seen in diverse decorative and functional objects and pieces of art dating thousands of years. Laminated Metal Sheets are more recent and some of the first art examples using them can be seen in the ancient middle ages religious Icons. There are many types of metals and not all of them are made for embossing, particularly not for hand embossing. For instance, you may have seen some people using soda cans to do embossed projects. It is certainly one option but that metal was not produced for creating a hand craft with it. It’s not really pliable and soft for the traditional hand Metal Embossing Technique. On the other hand, there are other very hard and thick metals that can be hammered, stamped or embossed with machines or presses. Again, these options are not made for handmade metal embossing projects.
In order to be able to work easily and create hand made projects using metal, the Metal Sheet needs to have a certain Gauge and Temper.
The Gauge refers basically to the Metal Sheet’s thickness. It is expressed in numbers such as 36, 38, 40 (the higher the number the thinner the metal is) It can also be expressed in inches (.003”, .004”, .005”). There are pieces that are too thick to be embossed by hand. Those are used with the traditional hammering techniques of metal smith or they are embossed with an industrial press or machine.
Besides the Gauge, there is another equally important characteristic that makes a Metal Sheet suitable for hand embossing: Temper. Temper refers to the softness and malleability of the Metal Sheet. A soft metal allows you to achieve volume, dimension and assorted fine textures and it is easier to work with, as you don’t need to press hard to get the desired result.
For instance, a thin Copper Sheet with a thickness of .004” is still harder to work with than a Pewter Sheet, which is considerable thicker (.020”). This is due to the particular characteristics of each metal and its temper or malleability.
MercArt carries a variety of Metal Sheets that are specially manufactured for embossing by hand. They can certainly also be used with embossing machines. Our Metal Sheets have both the perfect Gauge and Temper for creating any embossed project.