Have you been drooling over the latest copper fads for kitchen and bath that you are currently seeing in the pricey catalogs, but can’t quite justify paying those high prices? Maybe I can help.
Here are my original directions on how to make a very nice-looking copper and wood trivet that hangs on the wall as a kitchen copper decoration when not in use, that also releases a pleasing room smell (optional) when a hot pan is placed on top of it.
Wood picture frame that matches the wood colors in your kitchen. (See below for sizes)
5Mil or 10Mil Copper Sheet or Copper Pie Safe Tin (see below for sizes)
A recycled piece of blue jean type material in the same size as your copper sheeting.
Felt protection tabs for the bottom.
Essential oil in your favorite flavor is optional.
Copper lacquer finish. (Optional)
Heavy Aluminum Foil
Make Copper Trivet Step One:
Find a new or used picture frame that is in the same color as the wood in your kitchen. You can sometimes find decorative antique frames at thrift stores for a very inexpensive price because the glass is missing. We do not use the glass. Your frame should have a picture opening slightly smaller than your copper sheeting. The frame must measure at least one inch tall while lying flat on a counter.
For these instructions I am using a cheap 5.00 wood frame from a popular variety store with outer edge size 14-inch by 16-inch and center hole opening slightly smaller than 10-inch by 14-inch. My frame had a cardboard back glued to it that I ripped off so that I could take the glass out.
Make Copper Trivet Step Two:
You will want to buy one copper decorative pie safe tin sheet or a piece of copper sheet to leave plain, or to turn into the popular hammered copper look.
Pie Safe Tin Sheet: These are copper panels that come in size 10-inch x 14-inch and also come in other popular picture frame sizes. These panels have a series of holes punched through the copper to form a pretty pattern. You can buy these panels for around 10.00 each online, in craft stores, and through catalog sales. They are very easy to find.
Copper Sheeting: You will want to buy a piece of copper sheeting that is between 5Mil and 16Mil thick for this project. The bigger the Mil number, the less chance you have of denting a flat sheet of copper. For anybody buying copper sheeting to make into a hammered copper insert, anything between 5Mil and 16Mil will work, with 5Mil being the easiest to work with.
You can find copper sheeting easily online by typing ‘buy copper sheet’ into your search bar. You will probably be paying about 20.00 for a sheet that is 10-inch by 14-inch. Another idea is to check the craft stores to see if anybody is selling non-punched copper pie safe tins. They are hard to find un-punched, but worth looking for at about 10.00 each. You may want to try restorers.com they sometimes have things like this.
Make Copper Trivet Step Three:
Take your piece of copper and spray it a coat or two of copper lacquer finish. (For anybody planning on using hammered copper, put the lacquer on after the hammering is finished. Instructions for hammering copper are at the end of this article.) Let this lacquer dry according to the instructions on your can, and then give it just a little more time to cure.
This step is not really necessary if you are cutting costs; it just helps to give your finished product a very professional bought-at-high-dollar-store appearance and makes it easy to keep clean.
Make Copper Trivet Step Four:
Put a piece of heavy duty aluminum foil over top of your blue jean type of material that is cut to the same size as your copper insert. Staple this one securely along edges and a couple of staples in the middle. Go carefully, and try not to make any big gaping holes in the aluminum. Adding two pieces of overlapping aluminum to get to the size that you need is fine. Nobody is ever going to see this; there is no reason to be neat.
With foil side down, center the foil covered piece of blue jean material on the cardboard backing for your picture frame. If your frame does not have a cardboard backing, make one that fits to be glued onto the frame, or that inserts into the back of the frame. Once you are centered, with foil side touching cardboard, tape the edges of the blue jean material firmly to the backing cardboard.
Make Copper Trivet Step Five:
Take you taped blue jean material to cardboard piece and cover the top, all of the way across with more aluminum foil and secure the foil to the cardboard with staples, tape, or glue. If you would like, you can also put a pretty piece of material, vinyl, contact paper, or fancy paper over the back of the picture cardboard to give the finished product a fancier look.
Make Copper Trivet Step Six:
Assemble your trivet by putting your copper sheet in first, and your padded aluminum backing in second. If your copper does not fit tightly, add another layer of blue jean type of material and aluminum foil cover to the inside. Do not use plain cardboard as gap filler. The blue jeans and foil are inside to collect the heat so that your counter stays cool. Plain cardboard might be a fire hazard.
Make Copper Trivet Step Seven:
Place felt tabs along the frame bottom to protect your wall when it is hanging, and to protect your counter while it is in use. Add a hook ring on the back for hanging if your frame did not come with one.
Note: This trivet should be hand wiped for cleaning.
Make Copper Trivet Options:
Hammered Copper: If you have a flat piece of copper sheeting that you would like to turn into a piece of hammered copper, use a peen, ping, or pein hammer to create your art. This hammer has a ball shaped point on one side, and can be found wearing any of these names depending upon who the manufacturer is.
Place the copper sheet on an old piece of carpet. Start in the middle and start hammering away to make those pretty dents. Start by making dents far apart, and worry about filling in the spaces later. As you are hammering, your copper will start to curl upward into an almost bowl shape. When you see this happening, turn the sheet over and bang on the other side for awhile.
Be prepared for your neighbors to drop in while you are banging to make sure that you are not having some sort of emergency in progress. Making hammered copper sounds worse than a child banging two pot lids together like cymbals. But, it is very rewarding.
Room Freshener Scented Copper Trivet: If you would like your trivet to emit the smell of your favorite scented essential oil every time you put a hot pan on top of it, start making your oil compound about one week before you make your trivet.
Mix equal parts of salt and cornstarch together in a glass jar, add a few flat wood chips from the pencil sharpener bin if you would like.Put about 20 drops of your favorite scented essential oil into the container and screw the lid on tight. Shake this every day for a week while the oils are soaking into your compound.
When you have the backing ready to assemble into your trivet as explained above in the steps, place this mixture between two coffee filters that are fastened together at the edges. Put the coffee filter pouch on top of the foil that will be touching the copper panel and cover with another piece of foil that you have poked holes into with a fork.
Plan your picture back so that it is easy to get into if you need to change your scent. Try not to soak your copper trivet in water while cleaning.