Metal embossing to create a raised effect is a tried and true method of creating decorative marks. This method can produce unlimited patterns and other decorative marks such as embossing words and even decorating greeting cards.
In this article, we will explain exactly what embossing metal is, the different metals that can be embossed, and look at the metal embossing manufacturing process including techniques and tools.
What Is Metal Embossing?
From Ancient Egypt and Rome to Indian, Mayan and Aztec civilisations, embossing has been producing raised designs on silver, gold and other metals as an art form, and as part of religious and ritual practices, for thousands of years.
Materials Used In Metal Embossing
- Stainless steel is often used as part of large-scale metal embossing manufacturing processes, although this metal is not really good for hand embossing. However, pressure embossing operation machines work well for stainless steel and will create designs that do not damage or get easily pressed in.
- Pewter can be bought as a metal sheet on a roll. It is a very soft alloy so it is very easy to emboss. However, it is expensive, and so it’s recommended for those with more experience.
- Gold and silver due to the expense of these soft metals, it is recommended that you get them embossed by professionals.
- Tin is available on a roll or available in sheets. Tin cans are also something that you can recycle and practice your embossing skills on.
- Aluminium can be bought on a roll but is not the same as aluminium foil that you would buy for kitchen use. This is an economical option and it is thick and stiff which makes it easy to use so is great for beginners. A variety of coloured aluminiums are also available either in rolls or as metal sheets.
- Copper can be expensive, although it does look beautiful when embossed. A more economical alternative is to use copper-coloured aluminium.
- Brass is a very soft metal that takes embossing very well. However, it is expensive and not recommended for beginners.
To emboss with a hand embossing tool, you would need to work with a metal thickness of about 0.3mm. Metal sheets for embossing are also sometimes measured in gauge; for hand embossing, it is recommended that you choose a gauge of around 36-38.
Techniques & Tools For Metal Embossing
Low relief is a single raised line that isn’t too deep. This can easily be done by hand with a stylus or embossing tool.
High relief is when the design is raised more than a low relief and usually a whole area is raised rather than just a single line. This can be done by hand with a ball-tipped embossing tool.
For machine embossing, the tools used include a pair of upper roll blocks and bottom roll blocks or roller dies. The metal sheet is passed between them and heat is applied. There will be a pattern on the roll dies; the male roller dies have a raised pattern or design and the female roller dies have a depressed pattern or design.
Benefits & Advantages Of Metal Embossing
Enhanced aesthetics and visual appeal
A simple metal sheet can be made to look beautiful and special with some raised or sunken designs.
Durability and longevity of embossed metal products
Embossed metal sheets are durable and long-lasting. For some softer metals it is advisable to protect the embossed area but filling the back if it is deep with clay or another material will help it keep its shape in the case of bumps or knocks.
Customisation and personalisation options
One of the most common reasons people choose to emboss metal is to personalise and customise metal items. Both metal engraving and embossing are the perfect way to do this.
Metal embossing is a fun, relaxing and creative hobby and a way of creating beautiful ornaments, gifts or personalised items. However, for something special or to emboss precious metals, you should seek professional embossing services, such as ourselves at Furnells. Get in touch today for more information.