February 10, 2012
Here at Tinplate Girl, we feel that the best way to show love through gifts is to make them by hand. This Valentine’s Day we want to know what you’re making out of tinplate. A tinplate valentine can take many forms, including a box for keepsakes or a tinplate greeting card embellished with punches that you’ve made. These are just the tip of the iceberg, though. We look forward to seeing what you’ve got in the works, so please remember to send us photos and descriptions of what you’ve made.
Tinplate Dad and I each made a valentine this year for our respective sweeties. I took a “family crest” route, and T.D. made a kinetic sculpture.
As with every tinplate project we do, we each started with patterns on paper. Once we’d figured out as many kinks as we could, we took it to the metal. Problems always come up with a new design, so those we just worked out as they arose. The finished products incorporate tinplate, brass wire, wood (bases), and soldering and mechanical fastening (no glues).
On mine I used escutcheon pins to nail the shield to the wooden base. I formed the heart by using a doming tool, hammering the metal on a hockey puck (a technique we hope to show you in the future). To give the shield a rounded edge, I planished it with a plastic mallet over the ball of a trailer hitch, then over a smaller doming tool. The wings, arrow ends, crown and banner were all done using techniques we use in many of our projects, forming with pliers and by hand. The heart appears to floating thanks to a bracket underneath that goes through the shield.
Tinplate Dad made his using more conventional techniques, bending the tinplate in a vise. He made the hinges himself. Even though the design was pretty solid, there was still a lot of fitting and adjusting at the end to get everything to work properly. The red hearts came from a big tin that held a bottle of Johnnie Walker Red (hence the color). “Be Mine” was just scratched through the red coating with the point of a scriber.