Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Playing with a Rolling Mill

I have to admit, I've been a tad obsessed with the rolling mill during my metalworking classes at the art college. Last night, I decided to just play with the mill using scrap bits of copper sheet metal and a variety of bits I brought because I like the texture.  I was so involved, I didn't take many photos but I'll share the ones I have.  Interestingly enough, I did end up with a finished piece after all - these sweet little copper earrings!
Some of my favorite textures were a leaf  'skeleton', a piece of burlap ribbon, paper torn from a spiral notebook and some crumpled foil (I textured both sides with the foil). 
 First, I annealed the copper to soften it to take the textures more easily.  I've been having some problems keeping the metal and texture piece all lined up when entering the rolling mill so I carefully placed the layers in a strip of paper towel and wrapped them three or four times to make a little packet. Part of my practice was to 'find' that perfect tension to easily roll it through while imprinting the texture on the metal.  If it's too tight, the metal will distort and too loose means no imprint at all. My favorite result was the crumpled foil - it looks almost like worn leather! I punched some discs from that piece, filed the edges, domed and polished them. I even love the little scrap left over and am going to make that into a key fob.
Oxidized, polished and scrubbed with steel wool, hand crafted sterling ear wires attached and here you go!
Next class, we are learning to create tube and prong settings for stones - YAY!


  1. With enough tools and a dash of creativity, even scrap metal can turn out into cute earrings such as this one! What else have you done with scrap metals, aside from these? Wearing amazing accessories is one thing, but being able to make them yourselves is priceless. Cheers!

    Brandi Bradley @ Rotax Metals