Tin Punching

Tin punching is a craft technique that involves punching designs into tin or metal using a variety of tools such as punches, hammers, and chisels. Tin punching can be used to create a variety of items such as lanterns, candle holders, and ornaments.


Tin punching has been used for centuries, with the earliest known examples dating back to ancient China and Japan. In Europe, tin punching was popular during the Middle Ages and was often used to decorate household items such as lanterns and candle holders. Today, tin punching is still a popular craft technique and is used to create a variety of decorative and functional items.

Materials Needed:

  • Tin or metal sheets
  • Tin punches or chisels
  • Hammer
  • Safety goggles
  • Work gloves
  • Bench vise or clamp
  • Cutting mat or board

Tin punching is a traditional craft technique that involves using a punch and a chisel to create designs on thin sheets of metal, typically tin.

Here Are Some Step-By-Step Instructions For Tin Punching:

  1. Gather your materials: Before you begin, gather all of the materials you will need for tin punching, such as a sheet of tin, a punch and chisel, a hammer, a ruler or straight edge, and a cutting mat or other protective surface.
  2. Measure and mark the design: Measure and mark the design you wish to create on the tin sheet, using a ruler or straight edge to ensure that it is straight.
  3. Position the tin on the cutting mat: Position the tin sheet on the cutting mat or other protective surface, with the marked design facing up.
  4. Use the punch to create a guide hole: Use the punch to create a guide hole at the starting point of the design.
  5. Use the chisel to remove metal: Use the chisel to remove the metal around the guide hole, following the marked design.
  6. Repeat the process: Repeat the process to create additional holes and remove more metal to complete the design.
  7. Finish the project: Once the design is complete, finish the project by smoothing the edges of the tin and polishing it if desired.
  8. Enjoy your finished piece: Once your tin punching project is complete, you can use it as a decorative item or as a component in other crafts or DIY projects.

Tin punching can be time-consuming and requires patience, practice and a steady hand. Remember to use high-quality tools, and to take your time when punching and chiseling the tin to achieve a clean and precise design. Have fun experimenting with different designs and techniques to create unique and personalized tin punchings.

Traditional Tin Smithing with Sharon Candelario

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Tips and Tricks:

  • Use safety goggles and gloves to protect your eyes and hands while punching.
  • Use a bench vise or clamp to hold the tin in place for more precise and accurate work.
  • Use a cutting mat or board to protect the work surface and ensure precise cuts.
  • Experiment with different patinas or paint to add color and interest to your tin-punched piece.

Project Examples:

  • A tin-punched lantern decorated with a floral pattern.
  • A tin-punched candle holder with a geometric design.
  • A tin-punched ornament with a nature-inspired design.

Tin Punch Ornament

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Join Hampton History Museum educator Kris Peters to learn how you can make these fun and easy tin punch ornaments.

If you did not pick up one of our free heirloom ornament kits at the museum, supplies are below. Let Kris show you how to make our ornament. Tin Punching as an art form dates back to the beginning of the 17th century. The English soldiers stationed at Fort Algernon probably had more than a few punched tin lanterns. By the middle of the 18th century punched tin was being used for one of the most iconic pieces of American furniture, the pie safe. Prior to the invention of refrigerators, pies, bread, and even meat would be stored in cabinets with walls and doors that had panels made of punched tin. The holes in the tin sheets allowed air to circulate around the food but kept insects out. By the 19th century pie safes were considered as much a piece of home décor as they were a practical kitchen fixture.

Tin Punch Ornament Materials • Aluminum tart pans • Paper patterns • Thumb tacks (adult supervision required) • Tape • Foam or cork pads • Yarn • Scissors (adult supervision required) • Procedure

1. Select a pattern and tape it to the bottom of the tart pan.

2. Place the tart pan on the foam or cork pad.

3. Use the thumb tack to punch through the dots on the pattern.

4. Use a pencil to punch a hole at the top of the pan for the yarn loop.

5. Tie a yarn loop through the hole to turn the tart pan into an ornament.


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Kim Lazaroe

Hi, my name is Kim. I've always enjoyed making crafts for each holiday and season throughout the year. My fond memories are making crafts with my mom or helping my dad build something around the house. Now I get to create new crafting memories with my daughter and husband as well as share my knowledge and experience in crafting with the world. Hope you enjoy my site.

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