Monday, November 5, 2007

Tutorial: Diecutting metal, pewter, paper type metal clay


This is the first of what I hope to be a few tutorials for my friends out there. I'm doing this one to show the metal clay world how to use a diecut system for Art Clay Silver paper type. But I've used pewter in my samples....and this works for Amaco Art Emboss light weight metals. There are numerous other metals on the market that can be used as well.

Feel free to use this, just remember copyright laws and always ask for permission!

I'm working tonight with Spellbinders embossing style dies. I like these because they emboss. You don't end up with just a flat diecut, you get dimension....which is great for metal clay! And I'm going to use the fish die as my sample for this tutorial only because of the different types of designs in each of the fish.

Take your fingers and rub them over the die. One side is totally flat and the other side has a raised edge. This is the "cut" side. This ridge will cut metal, paper, leather, cloth....but it won't cut you! Pretty ingenious technology!

I recommend that you use a piece of pewter or metal before you jump in with paper type silver. Practice makes perfect and with the high price of paper type silver, no need to learn using that. Amaco's Art Emboss pewter has the same consistency and feel of Art Clay Silver paper type. And it's only about $12 per roll. You can afford to make a lot of mistakes!

Place a piece of pewter over the area that you want to cut and press down until you get an outline. After you practice with pewter, you will repeat these very same steps using the paper type silver.

Cut out the shape that you pressed into the pewter. You don't need to cut right on the line, just cut out a generic outline around it.

Place the pewter back into the die.

Now, to build a "sandwich". With most diecut systems, there are a variety of mats and pads that assist you in making a good cut. Again, I am only going to refer to the Spellbinders Wizard in this tutorial. Place the die in the center of the thin white spacer plate. I've marked mine "do not cut". You never want to cut into this plate as it will warp, break, and need to be replaced. So I've put the reminder there for me.

Place this in the center of a thick white mat. There are 2 of these mats that come with the Wizard. I mark one "Emboss" and the other one "cut". Once again, do not cut into the "emboss" mat.

Place the cut mat, cut side down, on top of this.

Next is a photo of how your wizard should be positioned when you are looking at it. The words "Spellbinders" should be upside down. The handle should be towards you and down.

Look at the right side of the Wizard. There is a button. It needs to be down.

Now, take the "sandwich" and bring it around to the top of the machine. It will go in over the words "Spellbinders" and is fed in coming towards you.

I tell my students to finger roll the mats through the rollers until you see about 1" on this side of the roller. This will insure an easy feed into the Wizard. Remember, we put the die in the center of the sandwich, giving you a little leverage on both ends of the sandwich so it will feed easily into the Wizard.

Next, take the handle all the way back over to the other side. Remove your hand. If the handle stays close to the table and doesn't bounce back towards you, then you have a good sandwich. If the handle wants to bounce up, start over and this time, feed your sandwich a little farther through the Wizard.

You can continue ratcheting the sandwich through the Wizard. Just bring the handle up to the notch on the right hand side, then back down. Up and down. When you are about 3/4ths the way through the Wizard, make sure that you bring your left hand down and grab hold of the sandwich. This prevents the mats from falling apart when the sandwich comes out.

Take the sandwich apart and inspect your cut lines. This shows a good cut.

Remove the excess metal.

Place the cut metal back into the die. Pull the spacer plate out.

Place the tan polymer pad on top of the die. Remember to keep the die in the center of the white mat...I've moved it up here just to photograph the layers.

Place the cut mat back on top and run this sandwich back through the Wizard. This is the emboss step. As you can see, when you are done, you get a wonderfully embossed diecut:

OK, that was pewter, and this is Art Clay silver paper type in the fish above the one I just did:

Finally, you can see both here. The top one is silver, the bottom one is pewter:

OK, that's how to diecut and emboss metal in the Wizard, by Spellbinders. Although there are numerous diecut companies today, Spellbinders has the best embossed diecuts.

Tomorrow, I hope to show you what to do with the negative space....the metal that we took off and was around the diecut. That's where paper type silver turns interesting!


Donna said...

GREAT tutorial on die cutting metal, Jen. Step-by-step pictures are the best help to a newbie like me. I haven't even cut or embossed paper yet. In fact, I haven't used my Wizard yet . . . but plan to within the next week.

I hope you don't mind if I ask you about a possible "oops" in your text. It's just before the fifth picture, that states "Place this in the center of the thick which mat." Did you mean to type the word "which" or should it have been "white"? Just wondering.

Again, great tutorial. I'll be reading all of your tutorials. You're a natural at this.


Jennifer Moore Lowe said...

Donna! Once you get to know me, you will learn that the thing I don't do best is edit my own typing! LOL! I will go fix that little error next, but yes...."white" would be correct! with you...go take that Wizard out of it's box and start to play!!! Play girl!!! One needs to play a little in life! And feel free to come back and post what you created!

Stay tuned for more fun tutorials in the near future. I say a thousand words, huh?


liannallama said...

great tutorial! Love those cute metal fishies!

Anonymous said...

Wow Jen, this is great! I love working with paper type. Awesome tutorial. Very easy to understand