Sheet Metal Suppliers: Working With Copper Sheets as an Art Medium

Copper in its many forms has been used throughout the ages for various applications including architecture, power generation, industrial production, and more. It is also one of the most popular art medium for craftsmen and artisans, then and now. Premier sheet metal suppliers in the country today say that copper sheets are among the most widely used canvas and material for many different artworks. This is due to the highly workable surface of the metal sheets primed for embossing or structuring.

Copper Sheets as an Art Medium

Copper Art in the Past

Many renowned artists such as Rembrandt, Chardin, Brueghel, Reni, El Greco and Wtewael experimented with copper. Many of such artworks produced by these master painters of the Renaissance era were painted not on canvas but on copper. This is likely because resources for canvas, brushes, paints and other art materials were scarce. Copper was high in supply, on the other hand, and was used to great effect.

Modern Copper Sheet Artworks

Use of copper as an art medium has declined since then but modern artists have never ceased to innovate with newer techniques and forms to express their artistry and give new life to the material. Copper panel art and copper art paintings made by contemporary artists are examples of the latest incarnations of copper sheet in art.

Embossing is a technique used in copper art making. An artist usually chooses a thin 5-mil sheet of copper which is about .005 inches thick for this technique. Large sheets are cut into smaller pieces and wrapped around an art canvas. A pattern or design template and stylus is used to trace a certain image on the surface; 5-mil thick sheets are also used for fancy art furniture as table tops, bar tops, countertops, and backsplashes embossed with intricate designs. However, for these applications, the sheets need to be attached to a substrate and applied with epoxy to improve durability.

Craftsmen looking for more challenge with copper sheets can also make elaborately designed luminaria and lampshades. For this art project, metal sheets are wrapped around a cylindrical object like a food can and squeezed tightly to hold its shape. Holes are then drilled where the edges of the sheets overlap so wires can close it up and hold it together. Different designs can then be drawn on the metal and then cut out using tin snips.

Modern artists have never really confined themselves to any one material, technique, or form. Beyond copper sheets for artistic applications, an artist or craftsman can work with copper rods, coils, and bronze square metal tubing, among others. Well-known suppliers like Rotax Metals can provide you with any selection of forms and customized shapes and sizes of metals.


Copper in the Arts, Copper Development Association Inc.

Art Projects With Copper Sheets, Houzz

About the author

Product categories