DIY Foil Tooling
Imaginative Crafts, Do-It-Yourself Projects and Video Tutorials by Robert Mahar, robert-mahar.com
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38 gauge aluminum foil
Line art image of your choice
Tooling tools – such as a stylus, wooden skewer, craft stick, pounce wheel or spoon
Awl or paper punch
1) Select an image to tool into your foil – keeping in mind that simple line art works best. You can scan and print line art from magazines, old greeting cards, coloring books or search for clipart online.
2) Cut a piece of the foil slightly larger than your selected image. Trim the paper around your printed image and then tape it to one side of the foil. Place the foil on a piece of felt for cushion and then trace the image, embossing it into the foil, using a simple ballpoint pen. Using a pen helps you keep track of your tracing, but you can always flip your piece over to make certain you haven’t missed anything.
3) Optionally, trace an outline around the image using a pounce wheel to create a decorative dotted/perforated line.
4) Once the entire image has been traced, remove the paper and turn the foil over. You’ll see the embossed outline, but now we want to work the foil to make the lines more pronounced and give the image more dimension. There are a variety of tools that you can use for this purpose – a stylus and a wood tool used for sculpting clay are shown in the video – but get creative here, consider a craft stick, a wooden skewer or even a spoon. One way to make the embossed lines stand out more is to trace around them. When finished, flip the foil over.
5) Debossing or indenting areas on the back of the foil raises those same areas on the front creating a relief. Using a tool such as the back of a spoon or the rounded wood end of a tool gently work areas of your image and occasionally flip the foil over to see the results.
6) When finished tooling the design, gently rework any areas that may have been pressed down during handling of the foil. Cut along to the outer edge of the border. Add a hanging hole using a sharp awl or a standard paper punch.