Friday, April 21, 2017

Copper Elder Sign Box

I thought I had posted this item, but now I can't find it anywhere on this blog, so, I guess I will do a quick post about it now. I made this Elder Sign box several years ago. It started as a small cheap trinket box that I bought on clearance from a local wholesale club. It had a nice dark stained rustic wooden body, that was well made, and a ceramic tile set into the top. The tile had Christmas art on it- a snowman, I think. I liked everything about the box, except for the art.

I had purchased wooden boxes with tile tops from this place in the past, and the last ones I had, I sanded the surface of the tile, painted over it, and added a cast resin applique to the top, and sold it in my shop. No pictures of those ones I'm afraid. This time I thought I would try something different.

A couple of years ago, I found a roll of heavy copper foil on clearance at the hardware store. It had an adhesive backing on one side and I guess you are supposed to use it as flashing around the foundation of your house. I think it is supposed to repel termites. I don't know, I threw away the box a long time ago. I bought it because it was a big roll of copper foil, and fairly cheap.

My first few attempts at using this foil, I was tempted to make use of the adhesive that is already on the foil. It seemed pretty strong, as it was a bear to get the vinyl backer to peel off. Unfortunately, the adhesive does not stay strong. Over time (a few months), it will inevitably loosen up and the copper foil will pull away from whatever you stuck it to. So, I have since learned that I must scrub off the adhesive and use a different glue. Kind of a pain, but whatever.

This box has a cast resin Elder Sign appliqued to the top, underneath the copper foil. I carved the sigil by hand out of a block of wax (years ago). I think this was actually the first thing I tried to carve in wax. Then I made a latex rubber mold of the carving. I use the rubber mold to cast all kinds of stuff, plaster and cement disks, resin appliques, whatever I need an Elder Sign for.

I put the resin casting on a work surface covered in vinyl contact paper (a.k.a. shelf liner). Vinyl contact paper makes a good non-stick work surface. Then I cut a square of copper foil and covered the casting with room to spare around the edges. I used various sculpting tools, mostly ones with round metal tips, to work the foil around the casting and into all the contours and creases. Sort of like chasing. When it was done, I carefully peeled the copper loose from the table and the casting. I sprayed the reverse side of the copper with strong spray glue and put the casting back into the cavity. Then I masked off and sprayed the tile with glue too. I glued the foil, along with the casting, down to the tile and trimmed the edges of the foil. Then I smoothed everything out and worked the edges of the foil around the edges of the tile, making them disappear. I didn't do anything to weather or seal the copper. I just let it gain a natural patina.

I had this box on the Rogue Cthulhu prize table for a while. But lately I have been thinking of giving it as a gift to someone in the Mythos prop community. I'm just looking for the perfect thing to put inside of it first.


  1. Nice upcycling project!
    Do you have a clue how thick that foil is? I kinda want to try that now :-)

  2. Not sure, and I can't be bothered to measure it. Pretty sure it's thinner than 36 gauge. I have some of that, and the 36 is stiffer. It is a bit heavier than heavy duty aluminum foil though.

  3. That already was helpful. Thank you!