Every valentine deserves a rose that lasts forever. Students from Honolulu Community College’s Sheet Metal and Plastics Technology program are continuing an annual tradition of crafting one-of-a-kind copper roses, popularly known as ”forever roses,“ which are sold around Valentine’s Day to help raise funds to support the program.
“Every piece doesn’t look exactly alike,” said Danny Aiu, sheet metal and plastics professor. “It’s all hand-formed. They may have been cut similarly but each is unique.”
Flower petals and leaves start as flat sheets of copper, which are cut using a plasma cutter and carefully molded into shape. Students assemble the individual pieces before hand-crimping each petal to give it a lifelike texture.
Honolulu CC’s Sheet Metal and Plastics Technology program is a nine-month certificate that starts every August. Graduates receive automatic entry to the Hawaiʻi sheet metal workers apprenticeship program.
Through hands-on experience, students develop skills in fabrication, architectural metal work, pattern development and more. Smaller projects such as crafting roses give students the opportunity to tap into their creative side and think about the possibilities of working with metal.
“When I do these types of projects, I hear students say, ‘I can make that,‘” said Aiu. “You let them use their imagination.Then they start seeing the talent within themselves to make other things.”
Copper roses will be available for purchase in the Honolulu CC sheet metal shop on Thursday, February 14, from 9 a.m. until supplies run out. Roses sell for $15 each or four for $50. Customers are limited to four roses each.