A TECHNIQUE DRIVEN Blog dedicated to mastery of surface design techniques. First we dye, overdye, paint, stitch, resist, tie, fold, silk screen, stamp, thermofax, batik, bejewel, stretch, shrink, sprinkle, Smooch, fuse, slice, dice, AND then we set it on fire using a variety of heat tools.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

(not so) Heavy Metal - Part 6 - It's Hot Hot Hot

And yes.....I COULD be referring to the weather.  Hot...humid...yucky...

BUT...I'm still talking about metal!

Here is the last part.  And then I set it on fire!  Seems sooooo appropriate for this blog anyway!  HAD to do it ya know.

Now....this is NOT a total tutorial or even a full demo.  You really need to see it in motion and I couldn't do that.  However, I will show you some things I've been playing with.  There are videos out there that give you detailed instructions if it looks like something you would like to try out.  Hopefully these photos will inspire you to give it a go!

On this one I have NO claim to totally know what I'm doing. Some of my stuff does NOT turn out like on the video. For one thing I don't have ALL the tools but I do have enough to enjoy playing.

Here is a photo of the supplies I used for this short intro.

The propane tank* with the attachable nozzle (aka...the FIRE)
Tin snips (for the heavier gauge wire and metal sheets)
Metal sheets
Metal wire
Steel dapping block (the cube with the cup shapes in it)
Other assorted metal bits to play with
Needle Nose pliers
Bucket of water

Now for the caveat - CAUTION!! You are playing with fire! These pieces get HOT so be sure you hold them with the pliers while heating them and dip them in the bucket of water before you touch them!

* - This propane tank is tall and I would have preferred the shorter and fatter one because it is more stable.  However, this one came with the nozzle as a kit so it will do for now.

First, I found a pair of metal earrings at the thrift store.  Well...I HAD to burn them ya know!

Here is the results after dipping them in the water.  They are beside the other earring which is still in its original form.  The heated one is on the left. Don't you just LOVE the colors that come through?

Setting these metals on fire is like an instant patina.  Here is a circle I cut from a copper sheet and then roughly formed in the steel dapping block.  The other thing in this photo is a square of solid formica I use for an anvil.

Next I tried out some patterned copper sheets I found online. 

Tried to give you a photo without the glare so you could better see the coloration.

I also heated some wire and with a hammer on the "anvil" hammered the tip of it after dipping it in the water.  I turned the end with my needle nose pliers. I folded a sheet of metal mesh "fabric" and I'm thinking along the lines of a fern-ish thingie.

 My almost 6-year old granddaughter was in the studio with me when I was doing this part. She was watching me "fire" tons of stuff.  And...like the budding artist she is...asked the question I taught her was one of the most important to any artist - "I wonder what would happen if..."   She wanted to know what the metal mesh would look like if I put that in the fire.  So....absolutely!  Let's find out!

TOTALLY love it!!!  She's going to be an amazing artist as she gets older!

Here are just a few other bits I tried out with varying degrees of success.

Some wire mesh from the plumbing department. Not beautiful but could find a place...depending on what you are going for. 

Some medium gauge copper sheet.

On the left in this photo is a bit of the patterned aluminium peel off cover of my baby granddaughter's formula can.  You have to go REALLY slow with this one as it can burn out of existence in a second!

On the right is a piece of copper door insulation thingie. Sorry for the "technical" description but I got a box of the stuff on FreeCycle so I'm not sure exactly what to call it.  I set it on fire and then bent it after dipping it in the water.  It has potential and I will DEFINITELY be using this stuff further in this technique.

So, as you can see...there are a gazillion ways to go with this burned metal technique!  I've only just begun!

I hope you have all enjoyed this journey playing with metal and ways to manipulate it and transform it to use in your art work.  I had a blast putting it together for you.

Hopefully you will do some metal work yourself and be sure to let me see it when you do!!!  Here is my e-mail:  kelly@kellylhendrickson.com

I've had so much fun...hope you have as well.  Hope you are inspired to become "metal workers"!


  1. Cool bean!! I love setting things on fire.

  2. Can you just use the burner on a gas cook stove?? I don't see why not, just use a long tweezer and a pot holder glove style. Will it give enough heat?


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