Silver cross and blue Topaz necklace

Just playing around with metal

Just playing around with metal

I started out with some sketches

I started out with some sketches

I always use scratch paper for the initial sketches and when i like the design I will trace the design onto a piece of label paper . label paper has already ” glue ” added to one side soI do not need to glue my design to sheet metal ( rubber cement works the best if you do not have label paper ) I always end up with a sticky mess if I use the glue

I cut out my design and stick it to the sheet metal

I cut out my design and stick it to the sheet metal

in this case the base cross ( or bottom cross ) which is larger was stuck to 18 gauge sterling silver sheet metal ( 1mm hick ) and the smaller ( top cross ) was transfered to a 20 gauge sterling silver sheet ( 0.8mm) Rember in terms of metal the higher the number of the gauge the thinner he metal is

I cut out the crosses wih my hand saw

I cut out the crosses wih my hand saw

Its a jewelers saw with very very thin blades , the blades I use are he 1/0 When you saw out a piece you need to remember to never ” push ” the saw into he metal . let the saw do the work….Luke….be the saw….. Lock your wrist and move your saw up and down from the elbow ,never from he wrist and keep your saw in place – move the metal you are sawing instead ( maybe I should do an instrucional video on that one )

After sawing out my crosses I put them together to see if I like it

After sawing out my crosses I put them together to see if I like it

I did like it soI went to solder

This is after soldering everything together

This is after soldering everything together

If you want insrucions on how to solder you can take a look a my blog www.themetalchallenge365.wordpress.com . I have many tutorials on easy to make things and on more complicated stuff . All tutorials of course are free

After soldering you need to clean your metal in a Pickle solution

After soldering you need to clean your metal in a Pickle solution

When you solder you have oxidation , turning your pieces black . In order to ge rid of that you can either polish for hours or clean it in a Pickle solution ( you can get he salt/grain to make the solution at any jewelers supply store ) please NEVER take your pieces out with the naked hand ( its an acid and will burn your skin ,its also toxic ) and NEVER take them out wih any other metal then copper tongues

This is after he Pickle bath

This is after he Pickle bath

Add some texture if you like

Add some texture if you like

A normal screw driver will do if you don’t have anything else handy ( I have chasing tools but I also use nails , screw drivers and other things i find )

clean and polish your cross

clean and polish your cross

I have a larger polishing machine where I have the same buffing wheel as on my small flex shaft ( the machine in the picture ) but If you have a setting for he stone its better to use the smaller wheel A Flex shaft is esentially a dremel with a long flexible tube ( yes I am aware hat he name is funny )

After you have done your first polishing add patina

After you have done your first polishing add patina

I used a liquid that I can brush on .usually I use Liver of sulfur but I am still nauseated due to the car accident we had on Saturday and Liver of sulfur makes me gag at the moment ( stinks like rotten eggs – and no mom i am not pregnant !! )

polish again

polish again

add your stone

add your stone

the little cup were the stone sits in is called a bezel cup , you can either make your own or buy them , I will make my own if I have irregular shaped stones or If I feel like making one . Most of the time i am lazy though and just use the bought ones next to he cross you see my stone setting tool , the cup has little teeth that get pushed CAREFULLY over the stone to hold he cabochon in place , start a 12 o’clock and push once , go to 6 o’clock and push some teeth over the stone at that position , then goto 3 o’clock then to 9 o’clock , the reason for doing that is so that tthe stone ges set even in right smack in the middle of the cup , take your finger and try to move the stone when you have pushed all the teeth over it . If i does not move you are done

close up of he little teeth of the bezel cup

close up of he little teeth of the bezel cup

Now you can hand polish with a cloth to ge rid of your finger prints , add a jump ring and a chain and ….tata…….. done 🙂 hope as always you enjoyed it nici

silver tie bar with brass arrow

Metalwork
draw your arrow on the metal sheet
draw your arrow on the metal sheet
or draw it on a piece of paper and stick the paper to the metal sheet . I just like to draw the easy shapes on to my metal directly
cut out with your jewelry saw and 1/0 saw blades
cut out with your jewelry saw and 1/0 saw blades
clean the arrow with steel wool for easier soldering
cut a 4 inch long piece from sterling silver
cut a 4 inch long piece from sterling silver
I used 18 gauge ( thicker then that and it gets hard to bend into shape )
flux your arrow and add your solder
flux your arrow and add your solder
I use extra easy wire solder ( silver )
fire up your torch
fire up your torch
Did I mention I love fire 🙂
heat until your solder “flows” ( melts)
heat until your solder "flows" ( melts)
flux your sterling silver strip and put the arrow onto it solder site down
flux your sterling silver strip and put the arrow onto it solder site down
heat again until solder flows ( I took a pic of the red hot metal -its so hot that it is red in color ,much more heating and it would start melting )
clean your strip and start texturing
clean your strip and start texturing
use a dremel with a buffing wheel ,or a polisher or a flex shaft for cleaning , add texture with a screw driver
flip the strip over and start bending
flip the strip over  and start bending
use a pen or something similar to bend the tie bar around it
bend so that the arrow is a bit longer then the lower part
bend so that the arrow is a bit longer then the lower part
flip down and put your pen on the edge and press with your finger at the middle
flip down and put your pen on the edge and press with your finger at the middle
you can bend it a bit more with your fingers
you can bend it a bit more with your fingers
pound with a raw hide or nylon hammer on the right hand ( the bend end )
enjoy your tie bar
enjoy your tie bar

lentil bead pendant – medium difficulty

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Today I made something that i never did before . I made a so called Focal Bead . A Focal bead is a bead that is either worn alone or in the middle of a necklace to draw the attention or focus of the one viewing .

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Take 2 circles of equal size ( I use 18 gauge sterling silver ) . You can either buy the circles or you can cut them from your sheet metal by hand or use a disc cutter ( which I have and it is one of my regularly used tools ) . Both circles here are 1 inch in diameter but size is totally up to you . Make sure your metal is very clean. I use a textured steel sheet that is meant for a rolling mill to imprint the texture onto your metal – well I am not rich and i do not have a rolling mill so there is another way to get the texture onto your metal . Tape both circles face down with packing tape onto the steel sheet . Take your ball peen hammer and hammer the back sides of said circles . The tape is used to keep the circles from moving while you hammer . Make sure you hammer the whole surface . After your done remove tape and circles from your metal sheet ( http://www.riogrande.com has a whole armada of cool textured metal sheets )

 

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Draw to half circles onto the back of one of the circles right on the edge – those will be your feeding holes for the string or cord . Cut out with your jewelry saw using 1/0 blades . Then take your circles and dome them in a dapping block. Put the circles with the texture down so that the texture is on the OUTSIDE of your domes ( yes I have done it the wrong way ) make sure you use the same indentation and ball on both of your circles . Put the half domes together and look that there are no huge gaps , you might need to use the dapping block a bit more to do that.

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Now comes the fun part . Soldering . Put both halfs together again and clamp them in between a third hand ( easiest way to do a thing like that ) Apply flux and your solder – I use stick or wire solder but I think paste solder might have been easier for something like that . Heat with your torch until the solder flows , flip your third hand without removing the bead ( careful its hot ) and do the other side . Quench in water . Again you see on the third photo how dark the silver gets due to oxidation during heating . To clean that up use your ” Pickle ” solution

When the Silver turns white you can take it out of the Pickle using your COPPER tongues . You can read in my other tutorials why to not use anything else besides the copper tongues. Rinse in water and dry . Use a number 4 , 3 or 2 file to clean the edges so that they are smooth . Run through a polisher or use your  flex shaft , both will work

 

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Add patina so that your texture can pop . Polish the high points with some polishing cloths ( don’t use your flex shaft it tends to take more patina off then you want ) Feed your cord through the holes an enjoy.

 

Again , if you want to buy any of my designs you can contact me through my shop at www.nicilaskin.etsy.com

turtle pendant

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Today I went with a combination of medallion and shadow box ( the shadow box being the flower inside the turtle . I used 20 gauge sterling silver for that . The reason for not using 18 gauge was that I ran out ,lol 🙂    But that worked out in the end as I added an extra circle .

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I cut out a large circle 1 1/4 inch in diameter with the help of my disc cutter. If you don’t have one you can always cut out a circle by hand . I invested in a disc cutter after cutting out discs right and left and wasting a lot of time doing it .  I drew the turtle onto paper that has a sticky back( uline label paper ) and stuck it to the sheet of metal . If you only have regular paper either glue it to the metal or use rubber cement ( rubber cement is easier to peel off after you are done cutting  I cut out the turtle with my 6 inch jewelers hand saw and some 1/0 saw blades ( I go with the ones from Germany – being a bit patriotic )

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Punch or drill a feeding hole inside your flower and feed your saw blade through . Start cutting out the flower .  Clean your metal with some sand paper to make it easier to solder

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Make sure everything fits well together . I did not like how the turtle and the circle looked so I decided to add a 1 inch circle in between the turtle and the 1 1/4 inch circle . Next step is soldering .

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Flux the back of the turtle and the 1 inch circle and add your solder ( sheet , wire or stick solder ) . Start heating the metal with your torch using slow circular motions so that the flame does not hit just one spot . Use a third hand to keep things from slipping while you solder. Quench and repeat with adding the turtle to the 1 inch circle  I recommend first soldering both circles together and then to add the turtle . Last picture Is the piece all soldered together after quenching it in water. To clean it put it in your pickle solution .

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After your sterling turns white in the Pickle solution take it out with copper tongues and rinse with water and dry . Pre polish really quick with your flex shaft and start adding some texture ( anything goes – screw drivers , nails ect . )  Polish again and then add patina  Liver of sulfur gives the best result . Polish one last time taking care that you leave some lack low lights so that the texture and the turtle pop . Add a ail or a jump ring and put it on a chain 🙂 finished is your turtle pendant . As always I hope you enjoyed my little tutorial . I am always open to questions and will help where I can . 🙂

 

you can visit my store at www.nicilaskin.etsy.com if you are interested in buying some of my pieces

 

lucky clover leaf

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A pretty easy project really .All you need is your saw ,paper ,metal sheet ,patina , hole punch pliers ,chain and jump ring .

Draw your clover leaf onto paper and stick that on the metal sheet .When I make something simple like that I use 18 gauge sterling silver. 20 gauge is too thin in my opinion .I know a lot use 20 or 22 gauge as the cost is much lower. After transferring your design onto the sheet simply start cutting with the jewelry saw. File your edges . add patina ( for polishing you can use sand paper or steel wool )

punch a hole add your jump ring and voila . done. I added mine to the guitar i made the previous day,

 

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if you are interested . I have a shop

 

www.nicilaskin.etsy.com

Flaming guitar pick

Rock and Roll Baby ………….

sterling guitar pick pendant with brass flames

the reason – just because I wanted to and I can

I cut out some equal sized guitar picks

one in 20 gauge sterling and one in 20 gauge brass ( copper or bronze will work too ) I filed the edges round with a number 2 file ( pretty fine )

draw your flames onto the brass pick and start cutting with a jewelry saw and 1/0 saw blades

flux your brass flames and add solder – heat with torch until solder melts

solder both sterling and brass together

after quenching and cleaning start filing with a number 2, 3 or 4 file

see the gap ? gap no good , better start filing

file until the solder seam is smooth

start polishing

I just left the metal raw and satin looking and did not add patina drill a hole

add a jump ring and a chain and start rocking

thanks for looking 🙂

flower ring with blue topaz

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I love flowers , all kind of flowers and I was thinking a ring would go nicely with that butterfly garden bracelet

Again its made from sterling silver sheet and a piece of 5mm x 1.25 mm sterling silver wire cut to length to make the ring shank. I like using flat wire stock and 1.25 mm is a nice thickness for making rings . This time i took some pictures of the process so you can see how much work is involved in it . However since I have been doing this for a while a ring like that only takes me about 1 hour .

I cut the flower out of 20 gauge sterling silver sheet and measured the wire out to 53 mm which gives me a ring size of 5 1/2 when done ( my right ring finger is a 5 1/2 my left is a 4 1/2 , yes my fingers are tiny ) the wire was bend with my pliers so that the ends meet flush and then soldered with silver solder ” easy” , You have to clean the shank before soldering the flower to it and form it so i put it into a pickle bath ( please wear gloves that stuff is very bad on your skin ) after the bath you form the ring on a ring mandrel with a nylon hammer so as to leave no marks . I chased some lines into my flower with some chasing tools , then used the dabbing block again to shape a dome , my trusted pliers took care of the rest ( bending the pedal ends down wards – use a soft pliers for the bending or it will mark the metal ) for the middle of the flower I decided to set a stone and because I am inherently LAZY i used a so called bezel cup that you can buy at any jewelry supply store > I could have made my own but again i am lazy and I wanted to be fast :)

The flower was soldered onto the ring and the cup soldered onto the the flower using ” extra easy ” wire solder . Quench in cold water and put into the pickle solution again

My husband always laughs when i say pickle solution . I am German , born and raised in Leipzig , East Germany and pickle in German means pimple . He finds that funny…………….and we will leave it at that :)

after you get the oxidation off with the pickle you need to polish the ring before setting the stone , I am using a blue Topaz from Switzerland, Polishing something that small is best done with the flex shaft so that you get in every corner . Apply patina , polish again and set the stone , carefully pushing the teeth of the cup over the stone . Polish by hand with a polishing cloth and voila

 

A ring :)

 

process of making the flower ring a2 a3 a4 a5 a7 a8 a9 a10 a11 a12 a13 a14 a15 a16 a17 a18

the winged ring

my husband challenged me to make something new out of  metal every day for 1 year - day 116

“the winged one ” I made a sterling ring today

with brass wings

with brass wings
I like to combine metals and sterling and gold is one of my favorites ,however gold is mighty expensive so I usually make a sterling and brass prototype before working with gold

I think this is more suitable for a male so – dad will get it

I think this is more suitable for a male so - dad will get it

draw some narrow wings on a piece of paper

stick/glue the ings to your metl sheet

I am using 20 gauge brass ( 0.8mm thick )

draw your ring shank onto sterling silver

this is 18 gauge ( 1 mm thick )

cut out your wings and your ring shank via jewelry saw and 1/0 saw blades

make sure the ring shank and the wings fit

solder your wings onto the ring shank

I use extra easy silver solder , after soldering quench in water and clean in Pickel solution

add your texture for the wings

cut the ring shank to length

bend until the ends meet flush and solder again

clean in the Pickel solution until the sterling turns from black to white

clean in the Pickel solution until the sterling turns from black to white

form the ring on a ring mandrel with a nylon hammer

form the ring on a ring mandrel with a nylon hammer

polish inside

polish outside

polish outside

add patina to bring out the texture

polish again

polish again

winged guitar pendant in sterling silver

This guitar pendant is a bit more involved and I would categorize it in the more intermediate difficulty.

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As almost always I made this one from sterling silver and I love it if I may say so :)

and here is how to do it . Draw your guitar with 2 wings attached on a piece of paper and glue to your metal – I use 18 gauge sterling silver ( if you go thinner then that your fretboard might bend on you. Draw a second set of smaller wings separately and glue this also to the sterling silver . Cut everything out with your jewelry handsaw . also cut out a heart. I use a 6 inch jewelers saw frame with 1/0 saw blades.

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After cutting out your shapes clean your metal with sand paper to ready it for soldering . Flux the back of your small wings and heart and add your solder- I use hard silver solder in wire form . There are many different kind of solders .I happen to like stick or wire solder the best. Heat with your torch until the solder melts and spreads out. Quench in water

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Flux the front of your guitar with the wings and put the smaller wings and the heart onto it solder site down . Heat again with your torch making sure to heat the meta evenly . I usually darken the room a bit so I can see the solder flow around the edges better . Usually when your metal gets to the red hot phase your solder should have molten . Quench in water again and take a look that there are no gabs . If no gabs you can put your piece in the pickle solution for the clean up.

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Your sterling silver will turn from black to a dull white when its ready to be taken out of the pickle . Take it out with copper tongues and only copper tongues or you might ruin your solution . Never quench a hot piece in your pickle or touch with your bare hands . Its an acid and as such dangerous.

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Now you can add some texture with chasing tools or anything you have ( nails , screw drivers ect. ) Pre-polish with your flexshaft .You can put any finish on it that you like . I like a satin finish and thus use an 80 grit bristle brush , you can also use steel wool or sand paper and a bit of elbow grease. Add patina ( liver of sulfur ) and polish again until you like what you see. Punch or drill a hole for your jump ring and hang on a chain 🙂 Gift to somebody special or keep it yourself ( I kept mine )

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Like what you see but are unable to make it yourself ? You can always visit my shop and have a look around 😉

www.nicilaskin.etsy.com