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Tin-trimmed card

Tin art has been around for ages. Everything from recycled cans to foil has been used in some craft form at one time.

But these days, the term is “metal arts,” and it’s going high-tech, especially when it comes to paper crafts. Grommets and silver charms are cute, but for an industrial edge, artists are incorporating the thin shiny stuff wherever they can. Companies such as 10 Second Studios and Merc Art USA are producing mats, grooved templates, rollers and other specialized tin-art tools.

I use tin on everything from tin sheets in scrapbook pages to silver tape in my altered books and collages. You can do it, too. Here is a sample of a card I made that shows an easy way to get into the tin of things.

Tin-trimmed Card


1 blank card

1 piece of patterned scrapbook paper

1 piece of lightweight embossing tin (or center of a disposable aluminum cooking sheet)

Tin embossing tools

1 initial sticker

Ink stains or watercolors

1 piece of thin foam core


Glue stick

Double-sided tape

1 roll of silver tape

Heavy-duty scissors

DIRECTIONS: Paint the edges of the card with the ink stain or watercolor, let dry. Rip a rectangle from the scrapbook paper so it fits in the center of the card. Add a contrasting color of ink stain or watercolor to the torn edges of the scrapbook paper. Use the glue stick to affix it to the center of the card. Cut a piece of tin into a circle, either freehand or with a template. Use the embossing tools to add texture to the tin by placing the tin on a soft surface, such as a magazine or mouse pad, and rubbing the tool on the tin to make indentations. Use your hands or a brayer to flatten it.

Cut a piece of foam core into a small circle and add a piece of double stick tape to both sides. Peel off the backing and stick it to the back of the tin circle. Peel off the other side and affix it to the center of the card. Cut thin strips of the silver tape and use them to add a border around the envelope.

TIPS: If you don’t have specific tools for embossing, be creative and look around your house for objects with grooves that you can use instead: wire brush, a fork, paper clips, meat tenderizer, etc. Use an old ballpoint pen to draw lines. Wipe off any ink with tissue. Use an old or cheap pair of scissors for cutting the tin, because they will become dull after use.

VARIATIONS: Add tin accents to frame scrapbook pages. Cut out small shapes, like flowers or hearts, emboss them, punch a hole in the center and add a colored grommet. Use the same process to cover a box or picture frame.

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