Rolling textures onto metal doesn’t have to involve pre-made texture plates. There are many materials around your house or garden that you can use to roll textures onto metal. Some of these materials you wouldn’t necessarily think of in terms of jewellery: Things like corn husks, packing materials, and tree bark. Some of the materials will give strong impressions, and others will be more subtle; it all depends on the look you want. Experiment with different materials to get a feel for each of the textures and what effects you can make on metal. But whether subtle texture or strong, there are a few things to keep in mind before putting your metal through a rolling mill.
Take a look at some of the textures, and then get rolling!
Tree bark is an excellent source of varied textures. The type of tree will determine the texture you get — birches and aspens have thinner, papery bark and leave a smooth, subtle texture. Oaks and maples, have thicker, knobbly bark that can make stronger impressions, but you’ll probably have to cut the bark into thin sections before rolling it on your metal. Try to use pieces that have fallen from the tree naturally or get them from cut logs. Cutting bark from a living tree can damage the tree or can make places where parasites can get under the bark.
Textured and patterned papers are a lot of fun to roll against metal. Thin, fibrous papers will give a more random texture, where paper cutouts or doilies will give a structured pattern. Scrap booking or hobby stores will have the best selection of papers to use.
Rope, string, or twine will give you harder, clearer textures than a lot of other materials. With thinner string or twine, you can make loops or twists to impress patterns on your metal. With thicker rope, you can pull the fibers apart for some nice, random effects.
Fruit and vegetable skins can make all kinds of interesting textures on metal. Be aware, though, they tend to be softer materials and will leave more subtle textures. If you’re using a fruit or vegetable with a thicker skin, like that of a lemon, make sure to use one that isn’t yet ripe (the rind is harder on unripe citrus fruits) and remove all of the pith from the rind before rolling it against metal.
Cloth makes some excellent textures on metal. Loose weaves found on canvas and raw silk can be a lot of fun to play with. Softer animal fibers, like wool and angora, won’t give a strong texture, but may make an interesting experiment.
Leather and other textured hides can give a nice look to your rolled metal. They tend to be thicker and softer than other materials, so aim for a subtle texture.
Feathers make a beautiful texture on metal, despite their seeming softness. Use harder, stiff feathers, like the ones you’d use for quills, for tight, even textures. If you’re using softer feathers, only use the end of the feather with the stiffer spines, like the spotted bits in the photo above. Don’t use the downy parts; they won’t give good textures.
Cardboard and other packing materials take a little experimentation, but are a lot of fun to play with. Cardboard shredding or raffia crinkle well and give strong textures, and corrugated cardboard is good for gritty, urban looks.
Different from cloth, ribbon and fabric trim can offer a range of patterns to choose from. A little harder and stronger than typical fabric, ribbon and trim will tend to give a crisper, more even texture to your metal.
TIP* Always clean your roller afterwards to make sure their is no debris or dirt left on your roller that could cause damage or corrosion,