Make Your Own “Brass” Plates

I did this activity with my CTR 8 class years ago. It’s a fun craft that helps students really think about why certain things are included in the scriptures and to practice writing their testimony.

Gather Your Materials

For this craft, you’ll need

  • Scissors that you don’t mind cutting metal with
  • copper flashing
  • sharp edge (counter top or piece of wood with right edges)
  • a pair of pliers
  • a piece of scrap 2×4
  • a large nail, craft stick, or pencil with the sharpened tip broken off

Sheets of copper are available at craft stores. I bought the copper you see in the picture at Michael’s Craft Store. It’s expensive to buy copper that way, so if you plan on making this craft with a large group, say at camp or for a Primary activity, you should buy copper flashing instead. It’s available in rolls at hardware stores. Copper flashing comes in various thicknesses, so be sure to buy the very thinnest you can find. Here is a webpage that can help you determine the thickness of copper you need. I think 5 mil is the maximum thickness you’d want.

Cut Out a Piece

Cut out a piece of copper using scissors. If your copper won’t cut with scissors, it’s too thick for this craft.

Fold the Edges

Place your piece of copper with about 1/8 inch hanging over the edge of a counter with a sharp right edge. Use a piece of scrap wood, like a 2×4, to press the edge down, protecting your fingers. Copper is sharp! Now you will have a piece of copper with one edge in an ‘L’ shape. Place it with the short edge facing up on a firm surface. Use your 2×4 to press the edge of the copper down. Repeat this step on each edge, and then do it again. You will end up with a piece of copper that looks like the one below. Be sure to fold all edges TWICE. Here’s what the copper looks like after you’ve folded each edge over double. Double-folding will protect fingers from getting cut and gives the copper a bit of stiffness that makes it easier to write on. Above, I am pinching the edges of the copper with flat-nosed pliers to ensure the edges don’t come up and to protect fingers. Here’s what the back of your plate will look like completed. If working with children, you should fold the edges of the copper before your activity to protect children from any cuts.

Write!

Using a large nail, craft stick, or pencil with the sharpened tip broken off, write your testimony. Be sure to include your name and date. When I did this activity, I had the children write their testimonies on a piece of paper before they started writing on the metal sheet. I didn’t fix spelling errors unless children asked me to help them spell something — I thought the mistakes were cute!

Finished “Brass” Plate!

This is a small “brass” plate that a ten-year old volunteer helped me make. You may want to point out the following:

  • The words we put on metal plates are much more permanent than paper. How does that affect what you will write? What do you think Jacob thought about when he wrote on plates? Why do you think the scriptures were written on plates? (Jacob 4:1-4)
  • It is more difficult to write on metal than paper. How does this affect what you write? (2 Nephi 25:23, 1 Nephi 6:6)
  • Writing important things down helps us remember them. What will you write on your plates? What would you like your children or grandchildren to know? (Mosiah 1:3-4)
  • Plates are made of metal, which can be expensive. (Joseph Smith History 1:46) Why would it be wrong to sell plates for money? How do the words written on plates make them more valuable than money?

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