Checked and updated on March 9, 2021 by Aaron Barnett
Copper is the easiest metal to work with for making metal-styled artwork. Copper is very easy to bend and shape exactly how you want while being easy and safe to cut. All that’s needed is 2 pairs of tin snips and a tool for brazing or pop riveting and soldering the joins.
Hand-made copper artwork looks amazing when finished, you can bring out an awesome shine with the right technique. You don’t have to worry about it rusting as copper is naturally corrosive resistant.
If you keep it outside it can, however, turn green, some people like that but I much prefer the brown and golden shine that will stay if you keep the artwork indoors with the occasional clean.
Copper art is a great craft to pick up, also a popular “gift for him” idea. But did you know you can have a go at making it yourself? Or set someone up with what they need to get started. It’s a relativity rare type of art that you could sell at the local art gallery when you get good at it.
Copper fish art-work
This copper piece resembles a deep-sea eel, using a colorful selfish called paua as the eye. The paua is also broken up to add a layer of shine to the body.
Tool’s needed to make copper artwork
Tips to find or buy a copper sheet
Tips for making copper artwork
Introduction on joining copper elements
The best way to join the copper elements is to braze the edges, however, when just getting started and if you don’t have an oxy-acetylene kit, you could have a search for a local welder that can do the finishing touch for you.
If you want to do it yourself and don’t mind going for a different look using a soldering iron and pop rivets instead could be an idea, this is an easier method for joining copper artwork, but it is not as strong as brazing the edges with oxy-acetylene.
If you use solder there will have a silver finish and can also look good. You could use pop rivets to join elements and find a way to cover the pop rivets up using the solder, or you could make the pop rivets a feature.
How to braze brass edges and joints
Brazing a bronze edge is the best way to finish your copper artwork, it is also the strongest way to stick on 3D elements. Brazing, however, requires an oxy-acetylene torch, and a bit of practice. It would be good to get someone to help you to get started that knows what to do.
You should start by cutting a few practice pieces of copper to get your head around how to do it accurately. Brazing copper can be different and require a different technique than welding copper pipes. Here are some tips.
What you need to braze brass and join copper
Tips for welding brass to copper
Solder the edges instead (Beginner method)
If it’s your first attempt to make copper art the best first choice is to use a soldering iron, it’s cheap and easy to use. You can use pop rivets to join different pieces of copper together.
This can make the whole copper art process easy enough for anyone to get into. But once you have done a few bits of work and are getting more confident you should look into improving your skills and tools by getting a brass oxy-acetylene welding kit.
Copper wire art
A copper wire art project is something you could also consider, commonly people make a copper tree with wire on wood. You can be creative and make whatever design you want.
My favorite type of copper wire art is when the copper wire, and or other materials like rocks, embed into a slice of native timber. Then use a clear resin to fill in all the wire to timber gaps. This gives a glass-like look over the top of the copper wire.
This is the easiest copper DIY project that looks cool because you also have timber. You could turn this timber with your design into something creative also like a table.
Copper pipe art
Copper pipes are also used in copper artwork for the shape of a cylinder. You can also cut a copper tube in half for a half-circle shape.
Copper tubes are best used for building an outside wind chime. Copper pipes are easy to source from your local hardware store as its commonly used for hot water piping. Simply cut a few tubes at different lengths, and hang them on a string.
For copper pipes you cannot cut them with tin snips like you can easily with copper sheets. You need to use an angle grinder or fine-tooth hack-saw works fine.
The above examples are something you could craft if you put your mind to it. Not everyone knows how to use the welding equipment and if your un-able to learn to solder and pop riveting is an option.
Like every DIY task don’t think too much about what your unsure about instead just start doing what you can do.
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My name is Aaron, and welcome to Bangingtoolbox.
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