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  Home > Embossing Metal With a Letter Press or Pasta Machine by Harry W. Wood
  Embossing Metal With a Letter Press or Pasta Machine

The machine choices are varied. The manual pasta machine can work and the Cuttlebug and Sizzix Big Shot machines as well. Other similar products can be used.

Metal comes in various thicknesses listed as ga or gauge, sometimes in decimal grades or millimeters. For the purposes of embossing , thinner is better. More detail is more easily transferred to a thinner sheet of metal.

24 gauge = .511 mm = .020 inches
this will have to be used with broad patterns only always anneal

28 gauge = .330mm = .013 inches
this will take tighter patterns must be annealed

30 gauge = .254 mm =.010 inches
this can take fine details and doesn’t need annealed first

40 gauge= 12.5 mm = .005 inches
this is embossing foil and should be backed with watercolor paper or card stock. Apply spray glue then press together and allow to cure.

Metal comes in several sheet sizes and different metals. Copper, brass, bronze and aluminum are all
available at hobby stores and online.

Precut forms can be purchase from B’sue Boutiques. The various blanks and shapes all can work if you check the thickness and anneal the thicker sizes.

To anneal just heat to a glowing red with a brushy flame from a torch and quench in cold water or allow the metal to cool . If you don’t have a torch you can use a gas stove; just set the metal on the rack over the burner and heat until glowing then allow the metal to cool.

Embossing folders are translucent plastic with a pattern raised on one face and indented on the other.
This interlocking feature is what causes the metal to form to the pattern. If the metal is thicker than the
offset between the two sides it will give a soft impression. If the metal is thinner you get a very detailed
embossing. Both can be useful in making jewelry.

To make an impression; place the metal sheet into an embossing folder and adjust the thickness of the package to fit snugly into the machine. With the pasta machine adjust the thickness setting then add card stock to the folder and metal to make a tight fit. On a Sizzix adjust the layers of the Multipurpose Platform. I find that folding tab 1&2 out of the way works best for most metals. On top of the platform place a cutting pad, then place the folder with the metal, and finally the second cutting pad. Push this stack into the opening of the machine and when it engages the roller the handle will turn. Grasp the handle and move it forward until the pack is almost all the way through. I like to back it out and back in a few times to make sure the impression is strong.

Open the folder and remove the embossed metal. You can now cut it to fit the design you have in mind. I like to use it for boxes, and pendant bases. After embossing you can add patina or paint and finally seal with lacquer. Then do your riveting and drilling or punching to add other pieces.

Harry W Wood earned a BA in fine art then apprenticed as a goldsmith and jewelry repairman working 8 years in a corporate shop. After 30 years creating and displaying sculptures, photos, and paintings in juried exhibitions he returned to jewelry design and opened Oscarcrow at I try to learn something new every day and create at least one new object each day. Rings are my main design form and examples of all my creations can be found at

Would you like to design a project for our website? All designers will get full credit, links to their website and a gift certificate to spend any way they like at B'sue Boutiques website. Contact B'sue for details at