I really enjoy working with embossed metal, especially vintage findings I pick up on Etsy or in flea market junk bins. These days you can also create your own embossed, metal artwork using a variety of tools and machines from companies such as Sissix.
Vintage findings are typically made from thicker, sturdier metal. These pieces have a lot of shape and dimension. That's fine when you're creating art for a dome paperweight, or other paperweight styles that have a deeper recess (more ceiling height to the interior space). For a paperweight like the Oval (PhotoWeights: Oval Paperweight Kit), there's not much room to work with when it comes to depth. This is where a little creativity (and a hammer) come into play.
For this project you'll need a paperweight kit, a metal finding, and some decorative paper, fabric, or other material to use as your background. You can also add some other embellishments if you'd like.
For the background I used K&Company's Jubilee Bright Flowers scrapbook paper. Using a template (PhotoWeights: Display Area Template), I selected an area of the paper and traced around it with pencil.
After I cut the paper along the trace line, I adhered it to the adhesive side of the mounting board (included with the paperweight kit).
If your metal finding has any fastener tabs, remove them with a pair of needle nose pliers by bending them back and forth a few times. Use an emery board to smooth out any rough spots of metal this may leave behind.
If you're working with a finding that has a lot of depth and dimension to it, flattening it may make it look like it's been run over by a car. (The smashed face of a cherub may not be the look you're after.) Pick a finding that is already fairly flat.
To flatten the metal finding, place it between two pieces of cardboard before using a flat-head hammer to strike over the entire area. Use a gentle amount of force. Continuously check the progress of your work to make sure you evenly flattening all areas of the finding.
Once the finding has been flattened enough to fit within the paperweight, clean it with glass cleaner to remove any dirt, dust, or debris before applying tacky glue to the back. Be sure to keep the glue a safe distance from the edges to prevent it from seeping out when the piece is applied to the mounting board.
Tacky glue is perfect for this application because it will stay in place and won't run. (I used Aleene's Original Tacky Glue). I don't recommend hot melt glue when the thickness of your artwork is very limited.
Gently position the metal finding onto the background. Any glue that becomes visible may be removed with a lightly moistened Q-tip.
After the glue has dried completely, follow the finishing instructions that come with each PhotoWeights paperweight kit. This involves placing the artwork face-down into the recessed area of the paperweight and covering the underside of the paperweight with the adhesive bottom pad that comes with each kit.