When I posted about these cards yesterday, I made the rather innocuous statement that two of them reminded me of the copper ceiling tiles I love so much. The magpie in my head immediately decided that the best thing in the whole entire world would be if I just made my own copper tiles. Well, just one since I don't have a ceiling that currently needs the copper treatment. I knew if I just got some lightweight copper and popped it into an embossing folder, all the magpie's dreams could come true. Or come crashing down around my head. Either way, I owe it to him to try since I screwed up the Victorian slide bracelet in such grand fashion. I suspected the two dragons standing in the way between me and my sudden current obsession:
- Having malleable copper on hand. Really, what are the odds? And this is Just Stash January and there's no way this dream was going to hold out until the end of the month.
- Having a box small enough to be a suitable backdrop for the tile. The embossing folders can only handle things about 4" wide (that's what she said), so I was going to need a box proportioned accordingly.
The craft gods smiled down upon me, though, because I had both! The copper was left over from a class I'd taken in college (40 gauge and about as soft as aluminum foil! Perfect!) and a paper mache box that had been the smallest in a set of three nesting boxes (and which I can almost guarantee at the time I thought was ridiculously small and had no idea what I would do with it but, being a craft supply troll, greedily hung on to anyway).
Tiny, naked box (NSFW)!
If you have decided that you would like to play along at home and make one of these, here's what you need:
- 40 gauge or similar weight copper or metal of choice
- Quilting square or ruler
- Rotary cutter or scissors
- Small box with lid that will accommodate the size of the finished "tile"
- Acrylic paint in color of your choice and a paintbrush
- Embossing folder and machine, such as a Big Shot. Geometric and repeating patterns look the most like authentic ceiling tile to me, but it's your vibe
- Glue, such as Aleene's Tacky Glue
I decided I would love to paint the box a rich, dark black so the copper really pops. This is when the craft gods first laughed at me. My black paint was nothing but gumminess and watery liquid. Thanks Just Stash January challenge for letting me know I have supplies that need to be tossed! But you know what? I'm glad it was bad. I like the maroon color I ended up with so much more! I painted the outside of the lid and the box with a foam brush and let them dry. I put the first coat on so thick, I decided I didn't need a second coat. Pro tip: when you have something drying and it goes right up to the edge, rest it on top of something else so it hovers over the work surface and doesn't get paint everywhere.
The lid is resting on a spool of thread and the box body on the bad bottle of black paint
Now it's time to work on the copper square. I trimmed off a rough square of 4"x4", but I wanted it smaller and, obviously, as close to perfectly square as possible. This is where the quilting square comes in handy. I lined the factory cut edge of the copper along one line of the cutting mat, centered the marks of my square along that edge, then used a rotary cutter to trim away the excess.
Then the really fun part: put the finished square in the embossing folder (making sure that it lines up neatly along the design so you don't have a weird, off center embossing) and run it through the machine. You will end up with this gloriousness:
The magpie likes this
That's so nice, let's look at it twice!
Now is the time for delicacy: applying the glue. I used the Aleene's Tacky Glue because it seemed to be the only glue I could readily locate that wasn't dried up (another opportunity for the craft gods to chortle). So on the back of the embossed metal gently GENTLY apply the glue. I squeezed a dollop out onto the surface and then brushed my finger over it to spread it. Here's the deal: you don't want lumps because that will show on the front of your metal when you push it down. This is why I didn't go with something like hot glue. Once you have the glue spread, flip the piece over and center on your lid and carefully CAREFULLY press it down. In my case, I wrapped a tissue around the end of my index finger so I didn't put fingerprints all over my shiny metal. Then I used that one tissue-wrapped finger to press down in the center of each of the diamonds (on the smooth, non-embossed portion). This worked really really well for me. You will have to do whatever works best for your pattern. For that matter, thinking about that as you are choosing a pattern isn't a bad idea.
Now take that tissue, do any last minute buffing, and then use it to wipe the sweat from your brow because you know what? Not only did you just handle the hardest part like a champ, you finished the whole project with that step! Look at that:
"Omgomgomgomg! I can't believe this worked out just the way I pictured it!" - Me
Totally worth a close-up:
"Oh yeah! Oh hell yeah!" - the magpie
"That came out nice." - Mr. Scribbles
I am genuinely proud of this project and think it would work quite well with other metals and background colors. It is not a super quick project (although I did it all in one evening), but it isn't prohibitively expensive so it would make a great gift or gift box, as well as being highly functional in an office or on a dresser. Leave me a comment if you make one (or, you know, just to tell me you love it and think I'm a crafting genius), particularly if you have pictures! I'd love to see it!