Creative Metal™ is a selection of tools and texture plates for embossing or debossing soft metal sheets. You can adhere the decorative metal designs you create on to frames, boxes, vases, etc. My first thought when I saw this product at Winter CHA 2010 was to create my own metal embellishments for greeting cards and artist trading cards.
The beginner kit comes with a TON of stuff, including 2 pen-sized handles,18 different interchangeable tips, metal scissors, a ruler, a paper stump tool, a texture plate, and a foam work pad. It came with only one 3.5” square piece of practice metal…I definitely could have used another sheet or two to practice on, before opening up my pack of “good” sheets (sold separately).
I spent about 30 minutes with the instructions and the piece of practice metal, trying out all the different tools and parts to see what they did. I was surprised at how heavy my hand was; I tore the metal several times. After a little while, I got the hang of using a lighter touch. I found the paper stump tool to be easier to play with first, then I graduated to the metal tool.
I also played with two additional packs of texture plates. I found these to be a bit challenging to keep the sheet in place and feel my way around the pattern as I pushed the metal into the crevices. Could just be that I lack patience and I was trying to move too fast…you definitely want to work slowly to prevent the tool from slipping and denting the metal in the wrong places. I found if I pressed the metal sheet all around the texture plate with my fingers first, I could see a trace of the pattern, making it easier to start using the tools. Once you have debossed the pattern, then you can turn the metal over so the design is now embossed. Either way looks nice!
Using different tips, you can make the edges of the design nice and crisp, or smooth the metal around the edges to “erase” stray dents. My boo-boo’s were still noticable…but with some practice, my skills improved! I actually liked the smaller patterns best; it was easier to control the debossing.
I really liked the “ball and cup” tip sets that came in two sizes. First you dent the metal with the ball on the foam pad, then you turn the sheet over onto a hard surface and seal it into a cute little raised dot.
My favorite tip of all was the one for writing and drawing…I love the look of freehand lettering and doodling in the metal. The metal is soft enough that your normal handwriting comes across nicely as a debossed image. If you can write backwards, the letters look even better embossed.
Tinting the metal with alcohol inks was really fun, too! I doodled an embellishment for an ATC…I used one of the rollers to add texture to the petals of a punched flower for a greeting card…then I went all crazy, cutting and debossing petals that I painted first with red and gold alcohol inks to make a big flower for a holiday wreath. And I’m saving all my metal scraps to make a cool mosaic one of these days!
- The instructions for each piece in the kit are informative and free projects are included
- Metal sheets come in a variety of sizes and colors—small squares, strips or larger pieces on a roll…in aluminum, brass or copper
- Lots of cute project ideas on the Walnut Hollow site
- Metal is soft enough so that the edges are not sharp
- Plenty of accessories in the line, including different project kits
- Reasonably priced – the beginner kit I used is $30, but you can get started with a tool, a few tips, a pad and some metal sheets for under $20
- The paper texture tool (aka “stump”) came unglued after a few minutes of use and started to unravel…but a little gaffer tape fixed it right up
- The soft metal sheets are fairly fragile…hard to handle without denting them
- The smoothing tools don’t completely restore the surface
- Working with the texture plates takes quite a bit of practice (and patience) to get a nice design without the metal slipping around, or tearing, or getting dented in the wrong places