Updated Jan 22,2023

How to

Pierced Sheet Metal work
For Pie Safe panels
a basic how-to for artists and CRAFTERS

How to create pierced sheet metal work for Pie Safe panels or Luminaries. 

For this demonstration we have used 30 gauge Aluminum sheet which looks like the old fashioned tin used in pie safes
But Copper 30 gauge or Bronze 30 Gauge can also be used for a warmer look. Foil of 36 gauge can be used if handled delicately, reinforced or mounted on glass or against a flat surface.


1. Measure for the finished size required and layout pattern with lightly scribing the design with a compass or a nail.
2. Place a square of ordinary corrugated cardboard underneath.
3.You can mark your pattern with a fine point permanent marker, but we have just eyed up the design.
4. With a large nail hammer design in the panel starting from the center. Practice on a scrap of metal to get the feel and see if nail is the right size. Use only the pressure necessary to pierce- any more will unnecessarily dent the panel making it difficult to mount.
5. The finished panel can be painted or varnished to protect. We use shellac or a colored varnish to give an antique look. Use the first one to transfer design if you are doing more than one. Or save cardboard as a pattern
  • Mount it in a Pie Safe- to replace panels or create your own.
  • Use copper to create an upscale panel.
  • Mount in a frame and hang in a window or create a screen for a fire place.
  • Use on ceilings for a tin ceiling.
1) Bend it tightly around a tube so layers overlap and tap in holes that go through both layers. You may have to re-do the underneath ones but they will be lined up.
2) Lace up with a thin wire.
3)place a candle it it for a luminary!
Use copper or brass for a different look.
Order samples and experiment you may end up with a family keepsake or a lovely gift!
For tools and techniques SEE ALSO: Flattening, Bending & Forming Metal



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