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 http://www.nicilaskin.etsy.com

three hearts

three hearts

3 metal hearts 🙂

I used copper ,brass , sterling silver

cut 3 hearts in different sizes from different metals mine are copper, brass , sterling silver

cut sterling silver wire to make your ring shank

silver wire ,or metal wire is the best you can use for ring shanks , the width is always consistent and its a lot less work

mark with your makers stamp and 925 for the sterling

bend your ring shank until the ends meet

flux and add solder – heat with a torch until the solder flows

The solder will flow when the metal gets red hot

be careful – any hotter then that and your sterling will melt

after soldering and quenching in water ,clean in the pickle solution

I also soldered all 3 hearts together

the solution is almost spend ( you can see it on the blue color ) if it gets to be really blue you will need to make a new batch

after the pickle bath form your ring on the ring mandrel

and a nylon hammer

now you need to solder the ring shank to the hearts

add flux again , use a third hand to hold the ring shank in place , add solder and torch again

quench in water – throw in your pickle solution


thanks for reading

flower ring from scratch

fun with metal – how to make a flower ring

You can always look into your community college ( USA) and most of them have beginners and medium metal/silversmithing courses that are not too expensive

I start out with 18 gauge sterling silver

18 gauge is 1 mm thick . I prefer that thickness as the flowers do not bend but are not too heavy either draw a circle ( use a template – its easier )

inside the circle I drew a flower

using a jewelers saw and 1/0 blades for cutting out the flower

cut out flower

I want to dome mine so I am using a dabbing block

mine is a square block with 30 domed indentations and corresponding hammers – put your flower in a ” bowl ” and take the “hammer with the ball that fits ” using a nylon hammer to pound on the end of that hammer if you do not have a dabbing block you can go with 20 gauge sterling which is thinner and bend your pedals with a pliers

domed flower

file your edges smooth

take any wire you have

I used twisted wire for the ring shank – twisted wire is easy to do or you can also buy it at riogrande or thunderirdsupply.com

cut the wire to length – file edges flat

take a needle nose pliers

bend your ring shank until edges meet

try to get the ends as close as you can together

flux your ring

I prefer paste flux add some solder and…

….start heating with a torch

heat until the solder flows , quench in water and clean in pickle solution

soldered ring shank

now comes the forming

using a ring mandrel and a nylon hammer , shape you ring shank until its round

I prefer my rings to be flat and not round

so I used a planishing hammer for flatten the ring

rounded ring shank

take some metal scrap – flux and then heat with torch

this is to make the little ball in the middle

heat the sterling until it forms a ball

here its red hot metal

turn your flower upsdide down and flux both ring shank and flower

heat with torch and solder together

flip again

flux the inside of your flower and add a small piece of solder

heat again until solder flows – add your ball of molten sterling and again flux and heat

this is after everything is soldered together

clean in pickle solution to get rid of oxidation ( blackness )

after the pickle bath

start polishing ( sand paper , steel wool )


I added the smaller ring to the slightly larger one I already had

hope you liked it , please have a look around , comment and maybe even visit my shop at
www.nicilaskin.etsy.com  , thank you 🙂

copper tea light holder

made a copper tea light holder 🙂

cut a 1 1/2 inch wide strip by 6 inch long from copper

draw your shapes onto the metal

small tip (if you like a shape make a template out of plastic via exacto knife )

cut out your lizards

i use a jewelers saw with 1/0 blades

shape the strip ,dome a circle and cut a 3×3 inch square

solder everything together ( use plumbers solder as it has a low melting temp )

start polishing – steel wool will do or sand paper

put a tea light in and light it

copper buttons

copper buttons

made some buttons for my mom

I remember as a child my mom had a small wooden box with tons of buttons in it . I was very facinated by it and when she got that box out to make something I would sit on the floor and play for hours . She still has that box with the buttons , so I made her a couple of new ones out of copper

I cut out 2 discs an 2 flowers from copper

I used a disc cutter for the circles as sawing a circle by hand and make it perfectly round is really hard to do , so one of my most prized tools is my disc cutter the flowers were sawed out by hand with a jewelers saw and 1/0 blades ( very fine )

circles and flowers

always clean your metal before soldering – trust me on that it will make your job easier

after soldering the flowers onto the copper I used some stamps to add something interesting

As you can see I did not really bother in cleaning the buttons up before the stamping , as i have to solder again for the button loop . I did however cleaned the back to get rid of the black oxidation

I domed the buttons in a dapping block and cut some wire and formed it

My buttons will have old fashioned loops instead of the holes , like the buttons in my moms box I cut some wire for the loops and formed them with needle nose pliers

make sure they fit together and then another round of soldering

After I soldered I cleaned and polished may pair of buttons

I used my trusted polishing machine . I like the antqiued look of copper better than the polished shiny finish so I put them in a patna bath ( Liver of sulfur ) the left button has the patina the right button does not After the patina is dry I just took some sandpaper and sanded the buttons so that some of the patina was left

seal the buttons with lacquer of leave them pure

a banana for scale 🙂

as always if you liked my tutorial , come and take a look at 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



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,




if you are interested . I have a shop



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 🙂