HOW TO PUNCH TIN
How to Punch Tin
Punched or pierced tin has a long history in the United States, dating back to the colonial period when some referred to tin as "poor man's silver." Colonists used the pierced metal to shield candles from the wind in the lanterns, and the lanterns later burned whale oil. Punched tin boxes were also used as bed warmers, and the early settlers used them to keep their feet warm during carriage or sleigh rides, as well as during services in unheated churches. Punched tin was also popular for the panels of food and pie safes, since it kept insects away from the stored provisions while still allowing the air to circulate, thus preventing any quick mold growth. While antique pierced tin pieces are hard to come by and are usually expensive when found, you can recreate the look with tin sheets or recycled tin cans, a hammer and a nail or an awl.
Punched Tin Luminaries
Clean tin cans thoroughly to remove any remaining food.Commercial-sized food service cans work well for outdoor luminarias.
Fill the cans 3/4 full of water.
Place them in the freezer until the water is frozen solid.Do not fill the cans completely, as the expanding ice might cause it to burst its seams. The ice will prevent bending of the can when you begin the punching.
Transfer your design onto tracing paper.For the best results, use a design that relies only on its outline, as small details get lost. Use pictures from coloring books, greeting cards, quilt or other crafting patterns or design your own pattern. Mark dots about 1/8 inch (3 mm) apart on the outline.
Remove the cans from the freezer and wipe away any condensation that forms.Tape your design to the can with masking tape.
Place the point of a nail or awl on the first dot, and strike the head with a hammer until the nail goes through the can and into the ice.Remove the nail and repeat the process on each dot.
Allow the ice to melt and pour out the water.
Set a votive or tea light candle in the bottom of the can and light it.You may also use household emergency candles, if the can is taller than the candle.
Framed Punched Tin
Measure the cabinet into which the punched tin panel will be set and use the tin snips to cut a tin sheet 1 inch (2.54 cm) larger on all sides.
Transfer your design to tracing paper and mark dots 1/8 inch (3 mm) apart along the entire outline.
Place the tin panel on a flat surface and tape the pattern in place.
Set a piece of wood under the tin sheet at the point where you will begin punching the pattern.
Place the tip of a nail or awl on each dot and strike the head with the hammer, driving the nail through the metal.Repeat for all the dots on the pattern.
Frame the tin sheet as appropriate for the particular cabinet in which you plan to use it.
QuestionHow do I hold the drill steady to make holes?Community AnswerYou need to first make a small indentation or hole centered where the drill bit tip can grip and not slip. You can use a hole punch or a chisel to do this or even a nail and a hammer. You can then hold the drill firmly and leveled straight.Thanks!
How can I take a dent out of a punched tin mirror? It fell off the wall and has a rather long dent across the bottom
- Use the same techniques to embellish figures cut from tin or copper. Attach them to wires and place them in your potted plants or your garden or glue ribbon to them to make ornaments for your windows or holiday tree.
Video: Tin punch
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