Embossed Metal Jewelry Findings | Polymer Clay Tutorial

Embossed Metal - Polymer Clay TutorVideo #253: “LOVE the look of that metal clasp, it would be so cool to make my own… if only I knew how.” ~Lesley-S

Just like Peanut Butter and Jelly or Macaroni and Cheese (I must be hungry… better go make lunch soon), some things just go together. This includes, Metal and Polymer Clay.

Now since many of you have already purchased a die cutting machine (or are perhaps planning to buy one), based on last month’s Volume-046-4 video tutorial (Die Cutting Polymer Clay), I thought it would be fun to demonstrate how you can multi-purpose the same tool to emboss and etch metal charms, clasps and other findings. They go so beautifully with many polymer clay jewelry designs.

Loved the glimpse you showed us, CINDY of your metal embossed clasp [in the Rose Brain Cane Tutorial ]. Not sure if I can wait for my birthday to get a cuttlebug or similar. ~Elaine-F

Oh, a diecutter is most certainly on my most-wanted list! I don’t mind there being videos here that include using some equipment I don’t have yet, as there is always something I learn from them which is very useful to my claying around. In fact, something I see in those videos can actually take off on a tangent to something entirely different! Funny how the old brain works! ~Rebecca-C

Wow what a fascinating machine! Thanks for showing us how they work – I had NO idea about the internal workings of a die cutter. ~Tantesherry

I have just bought a cuttlebug (thanks to the member who said her cuttlebug was as good as the bigkick), as it is the easy accessible diecutter to buy here in New Zealand, and am so looking foward to playing with it… I love figuring out how I can do things without having to buy stuff. I also can’t beleive how time flies. I have been a member now for 3 years, and I love, love everything about this site. I take my hat off to you and Doug, Cindy, for the wonderful work you are doing. ~Sandra-J

Coming up tomorrow (Friday, April 27, 2012) in the Vol-047-4 members video at the Polymer Clay Tutor Library, I will be teaching you how to make your own gorgeous embossed metal accents and findings… so that you don’t always have to buy them from a specialty supplier.

Of course you can also use your die cutting machine to cut paper for earring cards and display props or tags… but that will be a tutorial for another day.

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Please Note: A general prerequisite for all of my weekly tutorials is that you have a good understanding of the polymer clay basics, including: conditioning clay, using a pasta machine, clay blade and other simple tools, making Skinner Blends or Teardrop Blends, baking clay, as well as sanding and finishing. If you need help in these areas, my Polymer Clay Beginners Course will get you up to speed quickly. There is also plenty of free information on this blog. Use the search box at the top of the page to find articles on specific topics.

Supplies & Tools: Video-047-4 Embossed Metal:

  • Metal for embossing. You can use precut metal charms / pendants or sheet metal (a soft metal such as copper, brass, bronze, nickel or aluminum 24g or thinner). Don’t try to emboss steel or tin because you could damage your embossing folders and die cutting machine.
  • Die Cutting Machine and Vintaj Metal Embossing / Etching Dies. I used the Blue Sizzix BigKick, but Vintaj just teamed up with BigKick and designed a cool looking Vintaj BigKick that is great looking. Same machine, different look. As far as the embossing folders and etching plates go, Vintaj makes several designs specific to embossing / etching metal.
  • Deluxe Kit Sizzix BIGkick Die Cut Machine With 10 Etching/Embossing Dies – Vintaj Edition.
  • Sizzix BIGkick Die Cut Machine Vintaj Special Edition – Cut, Emboss, And Etch!
  • 4 Pack Vintaj DecoEtch Die Set For Sizzix Bigkick Machine (1 Set).
  • 6 Pack Vintaj DecoEmboss Die Set For Sizzix Bigkick Machine (1 Set).

Optional Supplies:

By the way, many of the “shopping” links I provide for the various tools and supplies used in my tutorials, are “affiliate” resources. That means companies like Amazon and the other suppliers I refer, pay me a small commission if you click on the links and end up making a purchase at their site. It’s not a lot, but every little bit helps in keeping the cost of my tutorials so low… at only $3.32 per month. And, the prices for products that you may purchase through my links, are exactly the same as what you would normally pay. So please do feel free to click away whenever you need to pick up a few things for your studio. Thanks so much for supporting this site :-)

Here’s a sneak peak of this week’s tutorial…

Here’s That “Link Below” Referred To at End of the Video
Polymer Clay Tutorials

The full version of the “Embossed Metal” preview video shown above, is now available for purchase at the Polymer Clay Library in the Vol-047 Back Issue Package.

Customer Feedback About Membership Value:

I must admit to thinking, “Oh no, another tute I can’t use because I can’t justify buying an expensive bit of kit,” when you announced this one Cindy. However I was intrigued enough to check out prices for second-hand (die cutting) machines on eBay and hopefully by tomorrow I’ll have won one for cheap. I love how your pieces look and the flat resined effect is definitely my style. I haven’t bought the flower moulds/cutters because although I like what you’ve done with them I can’t justify that kind of expense for something I’ll realistically use to make a few pendants before my eye is caught by another project and I move on to a new obsession. Especially as craft stuff’s so expensive here in the UK! That said, I appreciate that your tutes are so cheap that it totally doesn’t matter if I don’t love every single one. You make enough that I’m truly excited about to make it worth my while. ~Silverleaf

It is so gratifying to see all the comments from so many clayers, Cindy, you, Doug, and Willow have enlightened so many people with your clear, concise and wonderfully presented tutorials. It is no wonder that so many have joined us in our pursuit of polymer clay. PC is so satisfying to so many people. It is a wonderful product. Thank you all from the bottom of my heart! Lets continue on for many years!!!! ~Patt-W

Cindy, We just recently got new credit cards and it didn’t dawn on me that the old one was attached to my membership with with you! I have updated the information as you advised. NO NO NO I do NOT want to ever be taken off the membership. I LOVE your tutorials and SO look forward to Fridays when the new one comes. Thanks for making my life a bit richer and happier!!! ~Carol-T

The following topics are included in this week’s Polymer Clay Tutor Library, Embossed Metal video tutorial:

  • See examples of embossed metal charms, clasps and findings made using a variety of metals and patterns.
  • Find out how simple it is to create these gorgeous intricately textured metal accent pieces.
  • Learn information on the proper way to use the tools and materials for best success and to avoid damage to your equipment.
  • Plus, with some creativity and ingenuity, there are many ways to come up with other unique designs of your own.

The full version of the “Embossed Metal” preview video shown above, is now available for purchase at the Polymer Clay Library in the Vol-047 Back Issue Package.

Cindy Lietz SignaturePolymer Clay Tutor

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Comments

  1. Rebecca – you may not have to wait that long for a Sizzix machine, Hobby-Lobby sell Sizzix stuff and they are offering a 40% discount this week on one item! Sadly I can’t take advantage of this as they won’t ship to UK, but all our lucky ‘cousins’ across the pond can, until Saturday! Have fun!
    Marion

  2. Well I knew I wouldn’t be able to resist ordering a Cuttlebug before my birthday, so eagerly awaiting the postman.
    Now have to find who sells copper sheet, and all the other “stuff” needed.( Here in UK we are way behind on the craft front).
    I had a complimentary copy of the first issue! of the BENCH, It has this caption on the front cover. NEWS, INSPIRATION AND EXPERT ADVICE FOR JEWELLERY MAKERS. So hopefully they will have what I need, and next day delivery.

    Are there any other UK members who know good suppliers? I used to get all my stuff from across the pond, but with postage going up again soon!!
    It would be great to have the intel from other members living in UK. The new mag is by cooksongoldcom but to get their “cookbook” ie. 600 pages, you have to spend £75 or you can purchase it for £10. So doing a Boot Fair with my sis this weekend to boost the craft fund………cheers xx………………………………………… PS fingers crossed the rain lets up.

    • W G Ball sell copper blanks and copper sheet, their site is at: wgball.com and their phone no. is (+44) 1782 312286

      I’ve bought from them in the past and their prices always seem reasonable to me.

      Hope this helps, Hazel

  3. Cindy, I have a couple of questions about your recent tutorials…In the metal embossing one, you briefly mentioned that they made some folders for etching… what is the difference between embossing and etching, and do you need the machine to do the etching? Also, all the embossing powders in the craft stores, do they work on embossed metal too?
    My other question is about the die cutting- I have one of the Cricket die cutting machines, you don’t crank it through, it has a blade that cuts out the pattern you pick after you type in what you want it to cut, I hope you may have seen one on TV or something before, but you can watch it cut. It’s really neat for paper, but has anyone tried this with polymer clay that you know of? I use mine so much for paper, I would love it for clay, but I don’t want to mess it up. Do you or anyone out there know if it works on a Cricket?

    • Kiti, can’t answer all your questions, but, the original die cutting tute thread has a lot of discussion about the Cricket you might find helpful. Also, here is a video showing the technique using polymer clay:

      instructables.com/id/How-to-Cut-Polymer-Clay-with-a-Digital-Die-Cutting/

      Hope this helps, best of luck!

      • Thanks Jocelyn for answering Kitti Katt’s Cricut question!

        As far as the difference between the etching plates and the embossing folders… the etching plates kind of press a shallow line into the metal, making it look etched only on one side. Whereas the embossing folders have a positive design on one side of the folder and a negative design on the other, giving the piece a much more dimensional look that shows on the front and back of the metal. I prefer the embossing folders for that reason. However, if the metal is annealed with a torch first and is very soft, the etching plates will give a deeper etch that is also quite desirable. Hope that helps.

  4. Gosh – I will HAVE to get a die cutting machine !! Yes, I know, I said I wasn’t going to, but, you know – when Cindy teaches – you learn. So, tah dah, I’ve changed my mind.!!!! LOL It certainly isn’t the first time……… Now , I have to set aside my pennies to buy one. Thanks for this Cindy. Don’t we love to buy new stuff ?

    Definitely, useable and fun.

    So many dies,too. Probably going to stock up there, too………….Where did I leave my MONEY tree?

  5. Loved the tutorial! So many ideas!! Cindy, where can I get the copper sheets? I’d love to try it with brass too. Ordering a die cutting machine. Does Michaels carry dies and embossing folders?

    • If you Google 24 gauge copper sheet you will find lots of places that carry it. Maybe even somewhere close by. Some options online are Fire Mountain Gems, Rings & Things, Contenti and Otto Frei. Just make sure to get 24g or thinner, otherwise it will be too hard on your folders.

  6. Really enjoyed the embossed metal jewelry bracelet video this week. Watching the tools needed for the metal working seemed intriguing to me. The color palettes coming up for next months are gorgeous. Looking forward to each week’s work. Thank you for your efforts Cindy and Doug!

  7. Loved the tutorial,,,, but i want to ask >> i bought from 2 weeks

    Sizzix Texture Boutique Embossing Machine Beginner’s Kit

    can i use Vintaj DecoEmboss Die Set with this or i must buy the Deluxe Kit Sizzix BIGkick Die Cut Machine

    • Hi Nwna, that is a good question. I am not familiar with the Sizzix Texture Boutique Embossing Machine Beginner’s Kit, but there is a chance it will work if the Vintaj dies will fit in the machine. But the best thing to do is to email Sizzix or ask on their blog if the two are compatible. If you find out, come back and let us know.

      • hi cindy i send to sizzix
        and the answer is ( Thank you for writing. The Texture Boutique is not compatible with the Vintaj Dies or any other dies. You would need to use the BigShot or BigKick Machines)

        soooo i must buy anather one after maney monthes haha

  8. Hi I just wanted to repost this to a more recent page -
    Thanks for the concern everyone. Went to specialist and so far no permanent damage to my eye. The decrease in sight should eventually come back. I just have to be careful and try to treat all flare-ups as quickly as I can because I have scar tissue on my cornea and every time it returns I have a chance of getting more and this is what could cause partial or total blindness. Thank God it is just the one eye Rt. so even if it should come to that I am still very Blessed with the sight I have in my left eye. I was told if I want to try to work with my clay I can cover my Rt eye for short periods of time but I should try to do as much as I can without covering it. So hopefully the first of next week I am going to start working with my clay again. Thanks to Cindy and Doug I have so many wonderful tutes I can start working on. I am so far behind not sure if I will ever catch up but it will sure be fun trying. God willing I will be back to bug you all again with questions and comments. I have missed everyone so much and it looks like this family is growing bigger and bigger all the time. Can’t wait to learn more about everyone I haven’t met and most eager to visit again with all those I do know and remember.Watch out I’m back and hopefully to stay for a very exciting year of claying with my family. Can’t wait to see what you have waiting for us Cindy. No doubt Doug will show us in true top of the line filming.
    Many Uuuuugggs for all.

    Also Cindy I love this last tute. I have a Cuttlebug machine. Not sure if it will work I have only used it with paper. It does also take sizzix plates so I am going to keep fingers crossed. I will have to get it out becuase I also have a cricut and haven’t used the cuttlebug for 2-3 yrs. I have heard you can use the pardo clay after it is baked with the cricut. You have to have a thin sheet to do this though. I have some pardo clay but just haven’t had a chance to try. Will let everyone know how it works when I do. Maybe that is something I can try next week. I hope my eye hold out I am getting excited about working with my clay. Thanks to Cindy and Doug my wheels are just a flying in my head. You two have given me plenty to think about. Thanks so much!!!!!!

    • BIG HUG to you Peggy! I wish it was a real one and not virtual but maybe we will meet one day, EH? Feels like we are old friends by now.

      Sorry to hear about that darn Shingles doing its thing on you again. Must be some sort of test. Glad you are winning though and that your eyesight is on the mend. You are an incredibly strong and brave woman. If there is anyone I know that can make it through this, it is you!

      Use the polymer clay as therapy. Getting back into it will be a healthy distraction for you as you heal. Like you said there are tons tutorials to keep you busy.

      Your Cuttlebug should work for the Vintaj dies since they have a deep enough opening for the thicker cutting dies, the Vintaj Metal Embossing and Etching Plates should be no problem. I think there are others here using that machine as well. Maybe they will pipe up and let you know.

      Let us know if you need any help or encouragement. Love ~Cindy

  9. Hi Peggy, such good news about your eyes. I am so sorry you are going through all that uncertainty, I would be scared to death. But I guess we deal with the things we have to. So glad you can get in to your clay next week. That should raise your spirits, Will be waiting to hear what you tried first. Best wishes and prayers to you.
    Andrea

  10. Hi, Peggy, since I have lots of health issues myself, I can really feel for you and understand what you are going through. I am glad you are getting better! All of us here are wishing you well, praying for you and hoping, the joy of working with Polymer Clay will cheer you up.
    All the best, Christl

  11. Peggy you are such a trooper. I am so glad you got good news about your eyes and can start claying again. So many brave people I know are fighting this shingles virus. Isn’t it wonderful to look forward to all the tutes Cindy has for us! I am so excited about the metal embossing and I think if you try a piece of an aluminum pop can in your Cuttlebug, you might be pleasantly surprised. Just watch out for those sharp edges girl! :)

  12. I just did some searching on the Vintaj Metal embossing plates and the best price I could find was at CreateForLess.com Some were priced at 5.49 and the rest at 8.29 each. These are for the folders that Cindy recommends. For Brass and Nickel metal sheets the best price I could find was at JewelrySupply.com and the best price I could find on copper metal sheets was at ThuderbirdSupply.com
    if anyone is interested. Prices are just for the product, shipping costs would depend on where you live and how much you purchase.
    Michaels also carries a package of assorted sheets for around $20.00 but if you have a 40% coupon that would help but they do not carry any Vintaj items. I love doing research online which was a big part of my job before I retired so I hope this helps some of you.

  13. Peggy Sue, hang in there, girl! So great to hear that you have options, after the evaluation. Forgive me for teasing, but, the eye patch covered in poly clay would be worthy of Cindy’s fav pirate cane. The giggles you get might help reduce some of the pain…

    Good to see you back, Kat. I send you a message on Facebook.

    No kidding about the risks of using pop soda cans. I’d cut and rough file those edges as quick as possible so you don’t slice a finger like I did. I love the finish the cans give, I picked up bags of these metal shapes on the wrack line of of ocean. Cannot wait to get home to my stash to try to emboss some of these, and access to my Dad’s fabu tool shop and shed.

  14. Peggy so glad to know the good news! Will be storming heaven for you. Claying would be wonderfully therapeutic so I hope you are able to get back to it real soon. Hang in there!

    Love, prayers and hugs!

  15. Hi Peggy and Everyone, I haven’t posted in quite a while though I pop in as often as I can and try to keep up with what is going on. Lots get by me but sometimes one thing leads to another and here I am. Why? Well Peggy its those shingles, UGH they are the meanest! My husband, Wayne,
    got them this past January while having chemo. The left side of his upper face was affected. The sight in the eye was gone and one of the treatments was prednisone eye drop. We were really concerned but were really blessed to find that he could see in black and white a few days before the color came back. Thank the Lord and all those who continue to pray for us. Wayne had had the shingles shot a few years ago as he had the chicken pocks as a young adult, age 33 yrs.
    That was the first question many people asked and were surprised to hear that yes he had had the shot. The chemo was stopped until he mastered a few more ups and downs but is back on it again. He is doing much better and has to take medication the rest of his life to ward off the shingles coming back. That medication is VALACYCLOVIR HCL 1 gram tablet. Have you heard of this? I am so glad to see you posting again and wish you the very best in returning to claying. Yes, Cindy has really provided us with some wonderful tutes and I hope to return to claying in the near future. Wayne’s next PET scan isn’t until July but he is doing better so we are hopeful.

    Sending you prayers and hugs and looking forward to hearing what you are doing and asking.

    • Joyce! It’s so nice to see you back on the boards. And to hear the Wayne is doing well, I hope it continues. I am going to take that medication to my Dr. next visit. After reading about it here, I am pretty fearful of shingles, and I know I carry that dormant virus.

      • So nice of you to comment, Rebecca. Since Wayne had the shingles I have heard of several people, also having chemo, who have gotten them.
        Chemo really does a job on anyone’s immune system so when thinking about it, it is not so surprising. Wayne is fortuante and he has had no residual effects. We start a new chemo on Tuesday as there was more growth taking place under the Rituxan/Velcade. We are hopeful that things will get better. His spirits are good and he does his best. Can’t look for anything more. Thanks again, Rebecca, there was new information in your comment and I appreciate that.

    • I am not a doctor, but I am a medical transcriptionist (reminds me of that commercial: “I am not a doctor, but I play one on TV.”)

      Anyway, valacyclovir is an antiviral commonly used to treat shingles, but I only see temporary use when searching this subject. I do know your husband was more likely to get shingles because of the cancer and compromised immune system. Anyone who has had chickenpox can get shingles, particularly over the age of 50 and if you have other diseases or conditions that compromise the immune system.

      As your husband knows, shingles can be very painful! I did read, however, that the shingles vaccination can help….not always preventing the occurrence of shingles, but lessening the severity and possibly lessening the onset of postherpetic neuralgia, which is pain that continues on long (possibly permanently) after the actual outbreak of shingles has subsided. Shingles can be much more serious in or near the eye, so I am very happy to hear your husband’s sight has come back!

  16. I loved this tute. Haven’t got a die-cutting machine (yet) but this is definitely on my list of must-gets. Got to say that I LOVE the diverse nature of the tutes – always something new to obsess about! :-)

  17. HI All, It has been awhile since I’ve posted on the boards. My Daycare had slowed down and I needed to really focus on it for awhile. My husband purchased me BIGkick for Mothers Day… I just ordered the embossing folders today. I can’t wait to get started making some beautiful jewelry with it.

    Cindy@ Your tutorals lately have been wonderful. I just love how you are mixing things up. Keep up the good work!

  18. I finally got my BigKick yesterday! Many thanks to Michaels for having that 50% off coupon, making the machine $49.99. I also finally got the Wilton tool set that you have been using a lot of late, Cindy. Also found the tag die cutter, and bought a couple of others, too, as well as an embossing die. I am in Clay Heaven! I believe Michaels still has a 50% coupon to use on Monday, the holiday, for anyone else who might be interested.

    I also noticed that Joann’s online (probably in-store, too) has the BigKick on sale for $54.99.

    I am looking forward to many more tutes using the machine now!

  19. Congratulations Rebecca and Brenda and anyone else on getting your BigKick die cutters. You will not regret it. I was amazed at the beautiful stuff you could make with it cutting out art sheets from polymer clay with their different die cutters. Also to everyone MIchaels still carries the #2 scallop Tag cutters and they also now stock the Vinja embossing plates and the blanks, at least my Michaels does, they just redid that whole department so I would check out yours before buying online if you can use your 50% or 40% off coupons it would be quite a savings. Michaels also has a new puncher that makes the earring holes and tabs in your tags. Again that is $10 if you have a coupon. JoAnns double sided cardstock is also on sale at 50% off with no coupon. Everyone have a wonderful memorial day weekend and don’t forget all who gave their greatest sacrifice for us……their lives for our country. Doug and Cindy you are especially in my thoughts since you just lost a loved one.

  20. I want to know if anyone has bought metal sheets to emboss on the Vintaj bigKick machine. I just bought one and do not know if I can use the products that are available at big box craft shops. Can anyone advise me as to what gague and type of metal to use.

  21. Paula, you can pretty much emboss sheets of copper, and most metal sheets 24 gauge and higher. Michaels has a variety pack of 30 gauge that works very nice, but you can also use, 28, 26 and 24 gauge. You can also cut out pop cans and emboss on them as well as heavy foils. I personally like to use 26 and 28 gauge. I found a supplier online where I buy my copper sheets of 28 gauge and they are very reasonable. Do not use anything thicker like a 22, 18 etc;
    because you won’t get a good emboss and it is hard on your machine and your embossing die. Lastly, try using the search feature with your questions as there are many suggestions and answers to the FAQ’s here. I am amazed at how much information you can glean from this function.

      • It’s a big punch Cherie and the name on it is Bead Landing….I believe it’s a TM for Michaels. It’s the only place I found it. Also for the metal sheets go to ThunderbirdSupply.com I purchased the copper sheets 6″x24″ in a 28 gauge. I cut 3×6″ strips off and anneal it. It works up wonderfully. If you check my facebook.com/dixieann.scott page you will see my new copper piece made from it. Hope that helps.

          • Cherie, I think it is Facebook.com/dixieann.scott
            at least that is the link I click on in my bookmarks and sign in at. There is a lot of jewelry and embroidery photos. You might have to friend me? I am not quite sure how it all works.

    • Thanks so much Dixie Ann, this is so helpful and kind to take the time to respond to me and so generous with the information.

  22. Can anyone help me, I saw a video but forgot where it was. A sheet was embossed, I can’t remember if it was cardstock or copper however she made a copper tag that was cut with a hand punch. It was for cardmaking and the tag was an rectangle with rounded edges, it was about one or two inches long narrow. You would collage text on top of it with a like thank you. If I could find this punch it could work for mixed media jewelry.

    • Hi Paula, if you do a google search for copper embossed tag you will probably come up with several video suggestions. The cutter you are describing sounds like a tag punch but the one I am familiar with is the Tim Holtz tag die cutter you run through the Sizzix. Here is a very neat video that shows using metal tape and cardstock to make an embossed sheet which you can then use with a tag punch or if you are good with a scissors you can cut out a tag. Hope this helps, Good Luck dear.

        • I thought that was pretty clever myself and plan to get a roll of it too to use for cardmaking. (in my spare time ha,ha) I hope Paula can find the right punch.

          • Once again there you go with that delightful generousity of yours Dixie. Love seeing this video now I will also have to have my hubby turn over another one of his goodies to me. If we don’t have some I know he will either pick me some up or let me know where to find it easy enough. I enjoy card making too Dixie so thie ideas are flowing.
            Thank you so much I am sending you,
            Uuuuuggggs

  23. Peggy, tell your husband he can get a roll of it at Walmart in the tape and glue over by the plumbing dept. if he doesn’t have any and you have one in your area. I couldn’t find it at first and then I spotted it mixed in with the Duck tape. Enjoy!

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