The primary use of aluminum flashing is to create a moisture barrier in construction; however, it is used among crafters for a variety of applications. A thin, shiny aluminum product, aluminum flashing is inexpensive and comes in rolls up to 50-feet long and 24-inches wide. It can be cut with tin snips or with sturdy scissors. Very similar in availability, price, and attributes is galvanized steel flashing and copper flashing. Steel flashing lends itself to crafts involving magnets, and copper flashing can be substituted for the aluminum for a different look for the same crafts.
Keep safety in mind when working with any kind of metal flashing. The cut edges can be very sharp, and heavy gloves are a must when cutting this material. Tin snips or heavy-duty scissors are the best tools for cutting aluminum, steel or copper flashing. Other helpful tools include sharp objects, such as large nails or small knives for etching, permanent black markers for drawing guide lines, acetone for erasing those lines, nail scissors for making very small cuts, and a hammer and small nail for embossing and punching holes in the flashing.
Embossing is a technique that involves creating raised or depressed designs in the flashing. Place a nail over the spot you want to emboss, and tap gently with a hammer to create a divot. Punching holes, such as for lanterns, requires the same tools and technique, except that the nail goes all the way through the flashing. Etching on aluminum, steel or copper flashing is a matter of scratching the surface with a sharp object to create a design. Flashing is easily bendable for three-dimensional projects.
Garden tags can be made by cutting small shapes, such as rectangles or dragonflies, from flashing and embossing, punching, or etching the name of the plant. Use a strong waterproof adhesive such as epoxy to attach the tags to wooden or metal stakes. Garden decorations can be made similarly. Embellish them with beads wired or glued to the flashing; and glue the tags to stakes or hang with string or wire from trees.
Christmas tree ornaments are made similarly to garden crafts; simply change the design theme. Votive holders or Easter egg stands are made by drawing a circle the size of the votive or egg on the flashing, surrounded by petal-like appendages. Cut out the design, and then bend the petals up to create a sort of bowl. Attaching beads to the petals will produce a glowing jewel effect; etch or emboss Christmas-themed shapes on the petals if you'd like a more decorative piece. Make valentines from flashing, and etch, emboss, or embellish to decorate.
Design and cut out pendants or earrings from flashing. You'll need to punch a hole in the flashing to attach the jewelry findings. Bend the flashing to make bracelets, or glue designs to a pin back for lapel pins. Embellishments for flashing jewelry can include faux jewels, polymeric clay settings and various fringe-like additions, such as small strips of flashing or beads attached with beading wire.
Kristen Bailey has been writing about home improvement, motherhood, music, education and art since 2001. She has a Bachelor of Science in education and teaches at an elementary school.