Metal Art: 5 Ways to Work It

My "House of Fibers" collage includes our house numbers and
a doorknob plate. I glued these
on with gel medium.

cate pratoI had just dropped my daughter off at her riding lesson Saturday when I saw a sign that said "Barn Sale." Somehow, my car spontaneously turned in the direction the sign was pointing, down the lane to the rustic red barn and the treasures within.

I was not disappointed. I found a box of old metal hardware–hinges, drawer pulls, and the like–and they were going for a good price. I knew I could use some of these pieces in my art, somehow.

I had always shied away from using metal in my art, because I thought it was too difficult to work with, too hard to attach, and too complicated to alter. But working with experienced mixed-media and jewelry artists has taught me otherwise.

There are a lot of fancy metal-working supplies and tools out there, but you don't need a studio full of them to rock an assemblage or make a piece of jewelry.

jenn mason metal art
Jenn Mason collected these metal objects at a flea market. She shows how to use metal objects
as a substrate on her Workshop video "Mixed Media Medley."

And it's worth it to gather a few and give it a try. Because metal adds a certain something that, to me, takes a piece of art to the next level. I like the hard/soft contrast of metal with fabric, the texture and patina it gives to assemblages, the mystery it lends to an encaustic piece when the metal is half-buried in wax.

Just a touch of metal will give your art extra texture and interest.

5 Ways to Add Metal to Your Art

1. Search flea markets (or barn sales) for hinges and handle parts. The filigree pieces sans handle make lovely flourishes to an assemblage, and old hardware adds interest.

2. Use roofing metal (available in a roll at your local hardware store) to make a magnetic interactive collage.

3. Use metal letter punch stamps to "pound" your message in.

4. Employ a little wire as a method of attachment. The older the wire looks, the better.

5. Stitch craft metal onto a fiber art piece as a focal point or part of an overall design.

Found Object Sandwich Ring designed by Thomas Mann, featured in Metal Style: 20 Jewelry Designs with Cold Join
by Karen Dougherty.

Even all metal, or mixed-media metal jewelry is doable with some simple tools (like pliers and a ball peen hammer), supplies (such as patina solution and jump rings), and good instructions.

We have a wide selection of metal-working products, materials, and resources for learning how to make metal art and jewelry in our online store. With hundreds of products discounted 15% for a limited time, now you can test your metal-working talents for less.

Do you like to add metal to your art or make mixed-media jewelry? What's your favorite kind of metal or technique? If you have pictures, share a link below or post the photo on our Facebook page.


3D Art and Assemblage, Blog, Mixed-Media Techniques


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