No! You Don't Need a Rolling Mill for Texture Plates!

Posted by Roberta Pihl on

One of the more common misconceptions about texture and pattern plates is that you HAVE to have a Rolling Mill to make it work.
Nope. Negative. Not True.
Here's the thing... They way your metal gets an impression off a texture plate is by using compression. All you have to do is press the silver into the recesses. That's it! Now, you're still pressing a softer metal into a harder metal, so yes it is going to require some work. but it isn't impossible to use these plates with various methods of compression.
While a rolling mill is more common, you have to keep in mind that it both compresses and stretches the metal. so if you don't get a good impression the first time you cant re-roll without causing a "ghost impression. You'd have to scrap and start again.
But if you have a hydraulic press, you're pressing the metal straight down and out: so if you don't get it in there quite enough you can re-press! You can use much the same as an impression die with some lead or urethane, but remember it won't take as much pressure to texture your silver, as it is two dimensional and not as deep on average.
You can also use your texture plates by using a reversed metal stamp technique. Simply tape your annealed (!) silver or copper to your plate, and after placing it on an anvil or metal surface just lay down a piece of lead or about 2' of crunched up tin foil and hammer directly over it! Whatever you do, do NOT strike your hammer directly on the texture plate or the metal you're texturing. The lead/foil ball will absorb the direct impact, which can damage the plate, and as it is hammered down it will act as a pusher and force the metal into the recesses of the plate. The pros of using lead is that it is reusable, if you know how to remelt and form lead (SAFELY!) but tin foil tends to get a better impression. It takes a lot of repetition but this will save you from having to purchase an expensive piece of equipment just to be able to do what others can with it.
 On another note, Elie Ghanime has a video on youtube showing how to use a nylon hammer and not have to use lead or tin foil. you can view it here
In the image above you can see the differences in the different techniques. While the designs all transfer over, you will find that there is a slight difference in appearance: for example, the hammer/foil method is a bit more bubbled out than the rolling mill transfer. this is because it sunk the metal a little differently and was able to get deeper. Keep in mind that I did not use the craft foam with the rolling mill on this image. There will be another post about craft foam later ;) 
Thanks for checking this out and HAPPY CREATING!


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