Embossing Metal

This is a great craft hobby and one I fell in love with a couple of years ago. The tools are very simple and the finished effects can be breathtaking. You know it is a good job when you look back it a finished piece and say “wow, did I really do that?”


The metal itself needs to be nice and thin. Aluminium drinks cans will do just fine, but you can also buy embossing sheets from art supplies or roof flashing from DIY stores.

Other than that you will need tools to make dents in the metal without making holes, and a few sheets of newspaper or a bit of suede to provide a surface with a slight degree of give in it to work on.

Don’t panic about the tools. There are plenty of things in your drawers and cupboards that will suit just fine. Old ballpoint pens, wooden matchsticks, rulers and more. Just experiment with whatever you have to hand.

Later, when you get into more complex creations, there are stencils that can be bought that are brilliant for creating designs quickly and tools such as embossing rollers which are great for edging and other decorative effects. But for now an old empty ballpoint will do just fine.

If you are using a flattened can as your base then remove the ink with wire wool to give yourself a clear surface. Draw your design on with a felt tip pen. This will be the back of the finished piece so if you want any text in your design you must remember to reverse it.

Now the fun can get going. Place a bit of padding beneath your sheet. With a light pressure, trace your lines with an old ballpoint to produce a gentle indentation on the metal surface.

Turn the metal sheet over so you are looking at the front side and remove the padding so you are on a hard surface. using an end of a matchstick, gently push back the metal to the sides of the raised design.

By turning over and repeating the process three or four times you will raise a neat design on the metal. When working on the back make sure there’s a layer of padding beneath you but when flattening from the front work on a flat solid surface.

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