Copper Repousse Celtic Knot Jewelry

When my 8th graders saw that my 7th graders “got” to use copper they all but demanded that they (the upperclassman) should get to do it too.
Sad thing, though, is that I was really low on copper.
Yet, I couldn’t help but want to give in to their enthusiasm. Anytime kids are demanding and/are willing to do something deep and creative in Art class; I try to make it happen.
Hence, the invention of this wee little project.
*1. We learned about Celtic art and the history of Celtic metal-working

*2. We practiced drawing our own Celtic knots using a dot matrix (easily found online)
*3. We designed our own Celtic knots
*4. We watched a demonstration –by me- on copper repousse and learned about tooling and chasing
*5. We designed 4 pendants.
*6. The first 1-2 pendants could be copied from existing Celtic knot designs (this enabled students to practice repousse without sacrificing design)

*7. The 2-4 pendants must be original in design and did not necessarily have to be Celtic. Many students chose to do monograms and/or other designs.
*8. We added a patina to our designs. We did this by painting the copper with india ink cut with soap, allowing it to try, and then “scrubbing” the copper with a kitchen dish scrubber.
*9. We added a felt bail, felt backer (to protect our skin and to enable the bail better attachment). We used E6000 glue since copper conducts heat so well that glue guns endangered us to burns.

*10. We took our pendants outside and sealed them with clear acrylic spray. Yup. Felt included. Worked fine. J
*11. We strung our pendants on cording.

This project took –from start to finish- two weeks of 45 minute class periods. I taught it to two sections of my 8th grade students. One is my regular 8th grade Art class. The other is my advanced content, year-long Art class. My advanced students had more choice with regards to their design and their patinas. In fact, my advanced kiddos are STILL working on these.  They made much more detailed designs and feel much more proprietorial about their work. The advanced students also had a choose of three different patinas: 1) black india ink patina, 2) green ammonia fume patina (expose copper to ammonia fumes for 2-3 days it turns green), and 3) super shiny (soak copper in Coca-Cola overnight and it gets real shiny). I’ll be sure to share the advanced kiddo’s pendants with you as they finish. 
Pendants in the Ammonia Bath before we sealed it up!