Intro: Copper Roses
Welcome to my Instructable on Copper Roses!
These roses have been a few years in the making. I originally followed the Instructable written by SanjayBeast in 2013 for a Mother's Day gift, and have steadily made changes to the design, materials, finish, and overall product.
Check out SanjayBeast's original post here:
ROSES ARE NOW FOR SALE!
Step 1: Materials
Here are the basic materials I used for this project.
16oz Copper (approximately 5"x8" was used for one whole rose with leaves)
1/4" copper crimp sleeve
12" of 1/4" copper tubing + tubing cutter
drill with 1/4" bit
an old or cheap tubing flare kit (or something to securely hold the tubing without crushing it, and something cone shaped that can be hit with a hammer)
a small amount of silver solder
10AWG copper wire
ball peen hammer
Step 2: Measure and Mark
I used the tubing cutter to cut 12" of copper tubing. This will be the stem. (Tip: If the tubing is all bent out of shape, a simple way to straighten it out is to roll it on a flat surface with a scrap piece of plywood on top of it. Rolling in between 2 flat surfaces will take away any bends in the tubing without crushing or deforming it.)
Mark out the following squares on the sheets, and then go corner to corner to mark out their centers.
I usually use a scribe or a pencil to make these marks and went with a sharpie this time around so I could photograph them.
Step 3: Picking Up the Pace Now...
Using a center punch, punch the centers of each square / rectangle, and then use the drill with the 1/4" bit to drill holes in the center of each marked out piece.
Cut, Mark, Cut Again
Cut out each square.
Draw a criss-cross across each square. For the 2"x1" piece, draw a line across the shorter center.
After drawing all of these criss-crosses, there will be 4 small squares drawn into each square of copper. Use the sharpie to draw a curve around each corner. These smaller squares will be individual petals. Refer to photos 2 and 3.
Cut along each new line towards the center, leaving a little less than 1/4" between the end of the cut and the edge of the center hole. Then, follow the curved lines drawn before to soften the sharp corners.
Stop... Hammer Time
Use the welding hammer, or a hammer and chisel to add texture onto the edge of each petal. I point the top of the hammer towards the center point of each petal to keep a consistent pattern of lines going outwards.
Step 4: Anneal, Pickle, Wait
Copper becomes work hardened after hammering, which means that it is not at all easy to bend into shape. Fortunately, it can be annealed as many times as your want. Use the MAPP gas torch to heat up the petals to a dull glow (red hot is not necessary). After reaching this point, the pieces become black with fire scale so I just throw them in a bucket filled with supermarket bought white vinegar and let it sit overnight. The acidity in the vinegar does a great job of cleaning up the copper.
All you need is a bit of patience.
Step 5: The Leaves and Stem
I drew 2 basic leaf shapes out of the remaining copper and cut them out (photo 1).
Next, I drew a few lines on them to represent the veins of the leaves (photo 2)
Using a dulled masonry chisel and a block of pine or any other soft wood, I hammered directly onto those lines. This gives the leaves a nice texture and will create an interesting coloring effect later on when the flower starts to naturally patina (Photos 3-5)
Clip out 2 short lengths (3"-4") of 10AWG copper wire and hammer out each end to flatten them out a bit. This will give the solder more surface area to hang on to (photo 6).
I first tinned each end of the wire with solder, leaving a small glob of solder to fuse the leaf on one end, and the stem on the other. Then, I went ahead and soldered the wire to each leaf.
I usually melt the edges of the leaves with my oxyacetylene gas welder so that they have less of a sharp edge and more texture. Since this is the only time I use oxy fuel in this project and since so many people don't have it available, I omitted this step.
Stem (photos 10-11):
Slide the copper crimp sleeve over the length of tubing about 1/4"-3/8" of an inch from the top, and solder. This will stop the petals from sliding down the stem in future steps.
Into the vinegar bucket all of these parts go.
Time to wait.
Step 6: The Next Day...
The vinegar does a great job of removing fire scale and still leaves a bit of a residue. I thoroughly washed the copper in water, dried it, and finished it up with fine steel wool (photos 1 and 2).
Solder Leaves to Stem:
I stood the stem up using a tubing clamp (anything can be used, really) and soldered the leaves onto the stem. This creates more fire scaling in a small area of the stem but it's not too bad. Just chuck the stem into the drill and spin it while holding the stem with steel wool to clean it up.
Step 7: Assembly
Going from largest to smallest, stack the petals up on the stem in an alternating pattern so that each set of petals is 45° offset from the one below it (photo 1).
Next, I set the stem in the pipe clamp as shown in photo 2 and hammered a single flare into the tube using a cone shaped flaring tool. I then used a ball peen hammer to hammered down the tubing and have it hold the petals in place (photos 2-5).
Time to start bending
Starting from the center out, I used needle nose pliers to bend the sides of each petal and then bent them upwards (photo 6).
Continue this process until all petals are bent upwards (photos 7-9).
Time to go back.
Now, starting from the outside in, curl the tops of the leaves back as shown in photos 10-12.
Step 8: Finish Now or Keep Going?
A little bit more steel wool and photos 1-2 are what you have.
We can get real shiny with a buffing wheel.
WARNING: There are a lot of uneven edges on the rose that can easily get caught in the buffing wheel. I've had many roses get caught and go flying across the room which resulted in all of my hard work being destroyed. Wear proper safety attire, safety glasses, or a proper mask. Also, warn anyone nearby of the hazards.
Was it worth the extra work? Photo 4 is before, 5 is after... but still not after the final cleaning. Don't mind the black spots!
Step 9: Finished!
Finish cleaning any left over buffing compound with a soft cloth and DONE!
Now just repeat all previous steps several times and make a rose garden!