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Very quick easy project to make a great looking metallic badge from nothing more than some aluminum foil, some glue gun glue and a permanent marker. It can be done over and over again and the result can be used to decorate books, models, doors... actually anything that you want to personalise.

you will need:

- aluminum foil (thick stuff from a take out carton would be best)
- black permanent marker (or black spray paint)
- glue gun and glue gun glue (although you can use quick setting epoxy glue)
- washing up scouring pad or similar gentle abrasive pad or paper
- strong kitchen scissors

Step 1: Find the Master

This is not a command from the Doctor! You will need an original (master) from which to take an impression. The beauty of this project is that it doesn't harm the original, so any badge or medal or coin will be perfect.

The surface has to be hard enough for you to rub over the top of it to form the aluminium foil (just like you were doing a brass rubbing). In fact this is a modern version of doing a brass rubbing, where the finished item is almost as good as the original!

In this case I used a rather cheesy bowling trophy which had a plastic medal attached to the front. Hey don't laugh, I won this with a score of 208, not that good I know, but I was pleased as it was my first time over 200!

Step 2: Cover With Aluminium Foil

Cover the badge with aluminium foil. You can use baking foil for this, although it is very thin and you will have to be careful when doing the rubbing down part. The best foil to use is the thicker foil that take-out food dishes are made from. You don't want it too thick, because then you can't get the detail you need.

However if you are careful even thin foil will give you an excellent result that will be as tough and as robust as any when finished.

Step 3: Rub Foil Down

Make sure that the foil is held in place so it can't easily move about. You can either hold it steadily at one edge, while you rub over it, or carefully tape it (on one edge only) so that it doesn't slip.

If you use tape, you only want to tape it along one edge, because when you have rubbed the foil down you want to be able to gently lift off the rubbing without distorting it.

Also, if you use tape, make sure that you are not damaging your master. Tape may pull off surface finish or leave residue, and you don't want to do you that to your dad's finest golfing trophy!

I rubbed the foil down using the wrong end of a small paint brush. You can experiment with different tips to get the most of the detail to show without breaking the surface of the foil.

Make sure you are neat and fully rubbed down all round the edge, as you will be cutting this out at the end of the project, and it will form a lip to hold the glue in when you back fill it.

Step 4: Turn Foil Over

Gently so as not to distort, dent, crease or bend your foil impression, turn it over and lay it on a flat surface.

Phew, half way there and the medallion is starting to shape up.

Now if you left it like this it would quickly get damaged, so the next step fixes your impressing forever...

Step 5: Back Fill With Glue

Carefully back fill the impression with hot melt (glue gun) glue. Try to keep it in the area and try to make sure it is flat and even. Use the hot melt all in one go if possible so that there are no ridges and bumps on the surface of the glue.

Anyone who has followed my other instructables will know that I love the glue gun. As an invention I rank it second only to the printing press. The use of the glue gun isn't mandatory in this project, but it sure does speed things up.

You will need a reasonable amount of glue (one stick) depending on the size of your impression. Of course you can easily use two part epoxy resin glue or any glue that is fluid before it sets, sets hard and doesn't really shrink. Hot melt is perfect for this job, because it flows very well when it is in its melted state and is flexible and tough when set and only takes a few minutes to set.

BTW... Elmer's Glue (PVA) is not really cut out for this job and if you use that you will be very disappointed and have to wait weeks for it to dry.

Step 6: Colour With Permanent Marker

When the glue has set, turn over the impression and hey presto you have an exact copy of the original master. Now colour over the whole thing with a permanent marker or black spray paint. You need a permanent finish because in the next step you are going to be washing it with water and if you were to use a water soluble (when dry) paint, it would just wash right off.

Colour into all the little gaps and crannies. Pay particular attention to getting the black (or whatever colour you want) into all those little creases.

When the glue has set you will be able to handle the medallion much more easily. now the rubbed down impression will be fixed and secure. don't rush waiting for the glue to set. That amount of hot melt will take about 10 minutes to set so that it isn't tacky. Even so, if you are chomping at the bit to get going on this step wait until the glue has gone rubber and when you turn it over, lay it on a piece of plastic carrier (grocery) bag or cling film, which will stop it sticking to the surface you lay it on.

Step 7: Burnish Off the Marker

If there ever was chance at being a magician with no training (except this instructable)... then this is it. Using a dishcloth or pan scourer and some kitchen gleaner if you have it, lightly rub across the top of the medallion to remove the marker on all the upper surfaces. Using trail and error see how much to rub off to get the best effect. My advice is rub off less than you think to start with.

It's not hard at all, you can get the most incredible effects in a minute or so.

These pictures show the medallion half cleaned and then completely cleaned.

Step 8: Trim

Using a strong pair of kitchen scissors trim round the edge of the medaliion. It is much better to use scissors than a craft knife. One it is less dangerous, two the foil / glue combo is tough and rubbery, which is not the best for knife cutting anyway and three, you can get a very nice accurate finish using the scissors.

Step 9: Display Your Medallion With Pride

Display it, or stick it on the cover of a school book. Make loads and give them away as prizes. The thing is that they are so easy to make. why not experiment with all different types of masters... I'm sure you can think of things that you would like to copy.

When you've done... post a picture here and I will put it up on dadcando right under the medallion project, or go and look at dadcando where you can find all kinds of other original junk craft projects.
This project was great. Its amazing what you can do with a hot glue gun and some spare time.
This is great! Good idea.
I need to make a medallion that has some custom typesetting on it. I am thinking it needs to be a combo of your technique here and something else to add the type. The type needs to be debossed or embossed, as well. I suppose I could scribe it in by hand, but I am afraid that it will look a little "hand-made".
Thank you for your lovely comments. They certainly are growing up to be charming and inventive people. Anyway, your medallion... I would recommend looking into getting a deep etch zinc line block made. I had a quick look on the web to see if I could find any manufacturers. In the old days as a designer we regularly used them for foil blocking and various other things. Nowadays the model make I uses deep etched blocks for all manner of surface decoration on his models, especially when he want type debossed. Basically you draw or use a computer to make the type or image or icon that you want embossed or debossed and then send it to a local firm that deep etches Zinc. they etch away, usually 300 to 500 microns is enough. then the zinc plate, which is very thin is easy to cut with tin-snips or even strong scissors. so when you get it back, you cut it out and the glue it onto you medallion model and fill round the edge carefully with car filler... I'm sure you get the idea. If you have trouble finding a place that will do it, look in your local yellow pages for a model maker and see if they know of a place that does it. Hope this helps... Cheers Chris
Thanks, I will check it out.
With all of the invented projects and innovations you do with your kids, they are going to grow up as freakin' geniuses. You have really taught your kids how to think and solve problems. That will help them in whatever career they finally decide to go into. You are one of the best dads I have ever met. Thank you for all your contributions to Instructables. David
I've done this with acrylic paint, you just have to wipe it off before it dries and you get the same effect without the nasty fumes of spray paint.
Err... How do you rub it? Is there a way to do it with an object? How does it go into small cracks and details?
Oh yeah, in step 7 it's "trial and error" not "trail and error" XD
ooops, thankx for stopping that, I'll have to get round to editing it at some point, ta <sup>_</sup><br/>
Yes carefully do it with the wrong end of a little paint brush.
Tried this tonight with regular aluminum foil. I was completely blown away by how easy this was, and how cool it was. Thanks for such a cool instructable. I'm going to do it again, and try coloring the top with different colored permanent markers...like gold for instance.
thx for the comment, it's good to know that you like it, I must say it was a bit of a random discovery of mine one afternoon with the kids when we needed a quick decoration for a book.
You are a genius. But of course, I already knew that. ;)
ooops forgot to say, takes one to know one! ;-)
Thx, I try, long time no speak... how are you? Hope you're keeping well.
NIce. Great clear photos and clever technique. I like this because it has a high 'do-ability' rating and fosters many ideas for other applications. The project also is of a manageable size and provides for great overall finish product results. Thanks for sharing.
thx, yes we first did it to make a lock for a treasure chest we were making. My son wanted a big carved thing and had something to copy but didn't want to stick it on to the chest because it was his prized Egyptian medallion, hence the idea of taking a rubbing and filling it with glue to make it tough. Your right it was easy and there is loads you can do with it. Thx for your comment.
Cool technique. I think when I do my own I'll try painting it brass first, then black, and then sanding with fine sandpaper to look like aged brass rather than silver/pewter/etc.
That sounds like a cool idea, you could also start with gold foil from a chocolate bar or something like that, although you'd have to handle it very carefully as it is so thin, but it should look nice.
Here's my first try: <a rel="nofollow" href="http://bleedingbird.deviantart.com/art/Medallions-94526996">http://bleedingbird.deviantart.com/art/Medallions-94526996</a><br/><br/>I love this technique! Thanks so much for posting! I am going to try using this on other things; the light weight means it could be used for earrings that would otherwise be too heavy.<br/>
I think you can put the "positive" with some chunks of hot glue (pieces of a bar) in the oven to get a uniform glue cover ;) You can use dental plaster too.
This is a great Instructable. I can imagine using this technique and variations for making all sorts of props for our community theatre. Thanks!
Great, glad you like it.
long time lurker first time poster, had great fun making this with my young son, thanks great idea. glue guns rock :)
Glad I was able to tempt you out of your lurking ways. Please post a picture of the medal you made, or private message me and I'll give you my email address so you can send it to me. If you do I'll put it up on line at dadcando.com under the project, to inspire others... cheers
Something I'm going to need to try. Great instructable.
Ya know, I immediately left to find that blackguard and looked for about 2 weeks on Skaro. No luck. Then I came back and saw the disclaimer that it was not a command from the Doctor (his name is NOT Dr WHO!!). I suppose I should have read the whole thing first.... :\ Neat idea though :)
errr...? don't get the first bit of your message, but I get the second bit loud and clear, sorry, I have now corrected it. thx... gutted to have got that wrong.
Chuckle...I was just goofin around :)
even more gutted now I didn't get the gag... dur, guess my fault for making a joke at the good Doctor's expense when I am clearly only such a lightweight Who fan.
In that case I'm probably being far too geeky :) The doctor was known for calling badguys 'blackguards'. And Skaro was the home planet of the Daleks :)
no worries, nice to get the detail, I'm enough of a fan to have made a cardboard <a rel="nofollow" href="http://www.dadcando.com/default_MAKING.asp?project=Make%20a%20TARDIS&catagory=AdvancedModels">TARDIS</a> and retouch my boys into a picture with it in, we watch it every weekend, and I loved it as a kid, so I should really take the trouble to get it right!<br/>
Nice...i think that need to be your next instructible...
Wow, yet another great Instructable! It looks amazing!
thanks dude, glad you like it.
Seriously, I LOVE your Instructables. :) Good job, Kaptin.
thanks, I love you cup cakes... oh err that sounds a bit fresh...
beautiful and ingenious!
thanks, glad you like it
Nice, gives me a couple ideas. I think India ink (or any waterproof ink) might work as well. You might want to add a caution that perhaps wearing this medallion for any length of time might not be a great idea with light-colored clothes.
Dang, this would look awesome with a Celtic or Elvish design...
yes it would indeed. When I first did it I thought that it would be fab with a Celtic design, because it looks so much like pewter. If you make one do post a picture here, I'd love to see how it turns out.
Sure!
this is so bad ass. i'm going to make one of these tomorrow . great instructable.
thx, can't wait to see it.
Very Neat idea! It would make cute embellishments for cards or scrapbooks. Thanks for sharing! I'm off to look for some textures to press!
excellent, glad you like it.
"...but I was pleased as it was my first time..." ah, I remember my first time nice instruct i might try this to make my project a little more realistic thanks
Wow, this will be a great way for me to add decor to a box im building! thanks, u posted this at just the right time!

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Bio: Eldest of five, son of two doctors, 10 years in Graphic Design and marketing, then retrained as a Biomedical Materials Engineer, don't ask me ... More »
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