Creating and Enamelling 3D Forms in Copper Foil

With Maureen Carswell

Linda Curtis and Marian Hacking-Gaines


A group of twelve enthusiastic enamellers lead by Maureen had a fun and successful day forming and enamelling copper foil. Despite all the hic-cups before them: kilns tripping out, no water in the room and H&S preventing the use of torch firing, the results were amazing. The final display was a table full of iridescent bowls, flowers, leaves and many other imaginative shapes.

Maureen showed us some wonderful examples of her work, both to motivate and help us understand the processes involved. These included examples of folding and pleating, crumpling and crushing, and embossing; all of which give the thin foil strength and structure. We all found her beautiful work so inspirational.

Basic technique for a pleated form.

  • The copper foil (we used 0.005mm) needs to be scored where you want the folds. You can use the sharp end of a biro or instruments like pewter tools.

  • To pleat the metal you need to score on both sides: firstly with alternate lines from the front, then turn over to score the lines in between. The deeper you score the lines the easier it will fold. Do this on a soft surface such as a magazine.

  • Any decorative embossing or texture is added at this stage prior to shaping.

  • By gradually deepening the pleats, working alternately from one side to the other, the edges of the vessel will rise and begin to form the desired shape