Gone Outdoors

How to Work With Copper Sheeting

by Glenda Taylor

Copper sheeting is popular in rustic designs, crafts and kitchen accents. Because the material is soft and easy to work with, crafters use it often. Cutting, punching, bending and hammering designs on the surface of this material is very easy.

Familiarize yourself with the feel of the copper sheeting. The first thing you will notice is how thin and lightweight the metal is. Be careful when handling large sheets as it has a tendency to bend and the resulting crease is difficult to remove.

Roll the copper sheeting out on a large worktable and assemble the items you will need to complete your project.

Cut the copper sheeting to the desired size with tin snips. Although you can use red and green snips, one for your right hand and one for your left, it’s possible to use only a straight snip because copper is much softer than other sheet metals and cuts easily. Wear leather gloves when working with cut copper sheeting as it is extremely sharp.

Bend the copper sheeting with pliers for corners or small pieces. If the area you are bending will be visible, you can use a bit of a rag, wedged between the copper sheeting and the pliers to prevent making impressions in the surface.

Join pieces of the copper sheeting with solder for a quick joint that lends a decorative "renaissance feel" to the project. This technique is good for making reproduction antique swords and a knight’s armor. Make sure to wear your gloves, copper is a good conductor of heat and will quickly travel through the sheeting.

Opt for riveting joints for a clean look that goes well on copper lampshades and sconces. Tuscan-style interior designers use riveted copper regularly to achieve the feel of old Italy.

Pound out a pattern on your copper sheeting for a Southwestern appeal that goes well on countertops and backsplashes. Lay the sheeting flat on the worktable and begin lightly pounding it with a hammer. Use small controlled swings in a random pattern. Hammered copper sheeting looks the best when there are many indentions overlapping each other.

Coat shiny copper with clear polyurethane if you want your project to sit in the garden without discoloring.

Items you will need
  • Copper sheeting
  • Large worktable
  • Tin snips
  • Pliers
  • Soft rags
  • Soldering gun and solder
  • Rivet gun
  • Hammer
  • Leather gloves

About the Author

Glenda Taylor is a contractor and a full-time writer specializing in construction writing. She also enjoys writing business and finance, food and drink and pet-related articles. Her education includes marketing and a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Kansas.

Photo Credits

  • Royalty free image.