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Linda Farmer, Certified Zentangle Teacher


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Embossing metal with tangle patterns

This post contains a videoIn this 6:39 minute video, CZT® Suzanne McNeill demonstrates how easy it is to emboss metal with Zentangle® patterns.

Using soft aluminum or copper sheets with a black coating on one side, Suzanne uses a wooden skewer to emboss simple tangles into the metal. Another tool you can use is an old ballpoint pen with ink that’s dried up – I suspect we all have a few of those lurking around in a drawer somewhere!

When the pattern embossing is completed, Suzanne uses synthetic steel wool (or a sanding block) to finish the project. If you’re using copper, Suzanne recommends finishing with a matte spray to seal the embossed sheet to prevent oxidation.

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13 comments to Embossing metal with tangle patterns

  • Lisa Mc

    Love the idea of tangling on sheet metal. Where can the copper and aluminum sheeting be purchased? How thick is #42 copper? (i.e. mils or gauge) Thanks for sharing this great idea!

  • Jodi F., CZT

    THAT looks ridiculously cool! I can’t wait to give it a try!

    Thanks for sharing, Suzanne!

  • KayLov

    Been there, done that, had fun, too! The art teacher at my school gave me some tooling foil.


  • Heather Adams

    Wow what a great idea. I love the copper too. As always lovely ideas and the inspiration has me going and surprising myself. I had given up the hope of being able to create beautiful things with pen, pencil and paper but now a whole new world.

  • Kate Higgins

    What black substance did you coat the metal with?

  • gloria tierney

    You do not mention where to buy the metal tiles used in your demo I have looked everywhere and do not find a source…only huge pre-detailed ceiling tiles…I AM STUMPED…..
    thanks gloria

  • Rebecca

    You can use aluminum from soda cans. Just cut the top and bottom off at the “shoulders” of the can, then cut straight down the side. You would put the paint on the silver inside surface and draw with the stick on the printed outside.
    You could also get aluminum flashing at a hardware store. Not sure if you can get sheet copper at a hardware store, but it would be worth a look.

  • Kahna Emery

    What a great idea–I love metal! Idea–make a few of these, frame them for your room or give as gifts! I like the shiny side better.
    Did anyone notice the “Z” Tangle on the paper at the beginning? I love the patterns in it! I wish I could
    freeze it to use for myself! Anyhow–thank you Susan for your wonderful, fun idea!
    To Rebecca: Your idea sounds great. I makes me want to go out and buy some soda,which I rarely do!

  • Pat

    I ordered a roll of copper online last year and was very satisfied with the product. I got it from a place called You can get it in different thicknesses, and I think different metals. Yes, you can cut a soda can, but the metal is thin, so it depends on what you are using it for. The copper I ordered did not have black on it. I love the idea of zentangles on metal for mixed media art or to make into jewelry.

  • Karry

    I love this idea, and I’ve been racking my brain to figure out what to cover the fake brick of my fireplace with. This might work! But, any ideas on how to adhere the metal?

    • SnusieQ

      I would use silicone glue because you want it to fill in the raised up parts so it doesn’t flatten out over time. I’d love to see a picture when you finish! Good luck.

  • SnusieQ

    I have lots of embossing metal but I have never seen it with black on the back. Should I just spray paint it black?
    Ben Franklin sells the metal rolled up in a tube, it’s 12″ by 12′ and costs about $15.
    A great resource book for this is Metal Embossing Workshop by Magdalena Muldoon. She also sells supplies.

  • Collectincat

    I had a roll of silver (aluminum) metal from years ago and I am waiting for the black spray paint to dry so I can ‘tangle’ 6 pieces 4″ square and I think I will use tiny round-head nails to attach them to a white painted board for display. Love the idea and can’t wait to see if it looks good enough to maybe add to my Etsy shop…
    Thanks for the tip on, as I may need more metal…lol

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