Casting and Forging Recycled Aluminum Foil – Handmade Metal Buttons

Turning reclaimed aluminum foil and pie plates into handmade metal buttons by melting, purifying, casting, and forging. Each button requires approximately 5-10 pie plates.

Heat is provided by a sideblast charcoal forge and Japanese style fuigo box bellows. The crucible came from a retired railroad worker and is an iron one generally for melting lower temp alloys (careful temperature control extends the life of the crucible somewhat).

Aluminum foil, pie plates, and take out containers are cold forged into small blocks before adding to the crucible. Stirring and refining is done with a graphite rod and borax. Flat casting onto a steel plate and then cold forging to final thickness before drilling on the hand powered post drill. Care must be taken not to over-forge the aluminum while cold or it will crack.

See some of the buttons in use with hand crafted textiles at

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