Copper trays such as are shown in the accompanying illustration are very useful as well as ornamental about the house. They can be used to keep pins and needles, pens and pencils, or cigar ashes, etc. They are easily made, require no equipment in the way of tools except what are usually found about the house, unless it would be the metal shears, and when the decorations are well designed and the metal nicely colored, they make attractive little pieces to have about.
The first thing to do in preparation for making is to prepare the design. Simple designs work out better than fussy ones and are more likely to be within the ability of the amateur. Having determined the size of the tray, draw on paper an oblong to represent it. Inside this oblong, draw another one to represent the lines along which the metal is to be bent up to form the sides. Inside this there should be drawn still another oblong to represent the margin up to which the background is to be worked. The trays shown are 5-3/4 by 6-3/4 in., the small ash tray 4 by 4 in., the long pen and pencil tray 4-3/4 by 9-1/2 in. The second oblong was 3/4 in. inside the first on all, and the third one 1/4 in. inside the second on all.
If the decoration is to have two parts alike--symmetrical--divide the space with a line down the middle. Draw one-half the design free hand, then fold along this line and trace the second half from this one. If the lines have been drawn with soft pencil, rubbing the back of the paper with a knife handle will force enough of the lead to the second side so that the outline can be determined. Four-part symmetry will require two lines and two foldings, etc.
For the metal working there will be needed a pair of tin shears, two spikes, file, flat and round-nosed pliers, screw-driver and sheet copper of No. 23 gauge. Proceed as follows: 1. Cut off a piece of copper so that it shall have 1/2 in. extra metal on each of the four sides. 2. With a piece of carbon paper trace upon the copper lines that shall represent the margin of the tray proper and the lines along which the upturned sides of the tray are to be bent; also trace the decorative design. 3. With a nail make a series of holes in the extra margin, about 3/4-in. apart and large enough to take in a 3/4-in. slim screw. 4. Fasten the metal to a thick board by inserting screws in these holes. 5. With a 20-penny wire nail that has the sharpness of its point filed off, stamp the background promiscuously. By holding the nail about 1/4 in. above the work and striking it with the hammer, at the same time striving to keep it at 1/4 in. above the metal, very rapid progress can be made. This stamping lowers the background and at the same time raises the design. 6. Chase or stamp along the border of the design and background, using a nail filed to chisel edge. This is to make a clean, sharp division between background and design. 7. When the stamping is completed, remove the screws and the metal from the board and cut off the extra margin with the metal shears. File the edges until they are smooth to the touch. 8. With the flat pliers "raise" one side of the tray, then the other side. 9. Raise the ends, adjusting the corners as shown in the illustration. Use the round-nosed pliers for this purpose.
Illustration: Articles Made from Copper
Copper is frequently treated chemically to give it color. Very pretty effects may be obtained by covering the tray with turpentine, then moving it about over a flame such as a bunsen burner until the turpentine burns off. The copper will "take on" almost all the colors of a rainbow, and the effect will be most pleasing.