finally got to make another tutorial – it has been a while

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

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

file your edges smooth

take any wire you have

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

cut the wire to length - file edges flat

take a needle nose pliers

bend your ring shank until edges meet

bend your ring shank until edges meet
try to get the ends as close as you can together

domed flower

domed flower

flux your ring

I prefer paste flux add some solder and…

….start heating with a torch

....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

rounded ring shank

take some metal scrap – flux and then heat with torch

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

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

turn your flower upsdide down and flux both ring shank and flower
heat with torch and solder together

flip again

flip again

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

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

after the pickle bath
start polishing ( sand paper , steel wool )

finished

finished

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

hope you liked it

www.niciart.com   in case you want to see more of what I make

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

knuckle ring with butterfly

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Today another easy an fun project – a knuckle ring . Knuckle rings are to be worn – like the name suggests – above the knuckle . I have several that i wear daily , I prefer to have mine on my middle fingers on both hands . They are comfy and are adjustable so very easy to make .

Knuckle rings are the same size usually as toe rings or pinky rings an have an open back ( to adjust them easy )

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cut a 45-47 mm long piece from sterling silver flat wire ( i use 3mm by 1 mm thick wire that i get from http://www.riogrande.com . The wire is perfect for toe rings and small ring shanks and I use a lot of it . Cut your butterfly out with a jewelry saw and 1/0 blades from your metal sheet ( i used 20 gauge here ) . File the edges of your wire strip and of the butterfly so that everything is smooth and wearable . Form your wire on a ring mandrel ( size 3 is usually a good size ) . I used a dapping block to dome the butterfly to make it more organic looking but if you prefer you can keep it flat .

Solder your butterfly to the ring shank . Quench in water and then clean in pickle solution . After your ring is clean take your flex shaft and polish your ring . Done . Now you can wear your little knuckle ring proudly on any finger ( remember because we did not solder the ends together the ring is totally adjustable .

 

www.nicilaskin.etsy.com   if you are interested

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 .

turt turt1

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

 

tree pendant from sterling silver

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The tree of life is one of the oldest symbols in the world and is pretty much universal . So that is what I made today a tree pendant . This Pendant is based of the usual shadow box but it is not a pierced and cut design .You work your way inward from the edge without having to punch a hole and feeding your saw blade through it . You start out again with 2 circles of equal size. I use my trusted disc cutter . A disc cutter is one of the first things I would get as a new metal smith . It is so much easier to make circles fast and equal in size. Yes you can cut out you circles with a saw by following along the lines of a drawn circle , but even though I am pretty good at sawing I was never able to saw out a perfect circle by hand .

 

Take your 2 circles and draw a tree on one of them , If you are not good at drawing directly on the metal , draw on a piece of paper until you have a tree you like then you can glue your drawn tree onto the metal and wait until th glue is dry and then start cutting from the edge in . My edge is the roots of the tree . Carefully saw out your tree , the smaller your tree or shape the more intricate the design the more difficult it is to saw and you might brake some blades. A good metalsmith that saws a lot will not brake the blades . Mine are actually wearing out before breaking and I get many pieces out of one blade . However in the beginning I broke them right and left . I always buy the 144 bulk pack by riogrande.com .

 

 

After you are done with sawing out your tree I would recommend cleaning your piece with some sandpaper to clean up the edges and to make it easier to solder. If you need to see a tutorial on how to solder you can look at some of my other entries ,some of them show you in detail on how to solder.

 

 

Clean up your tree pendant with either a polisher or use the flex shaft . Add a Jump ring or bail and a chain and voila done :)

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www.nicilaskin.etsy.com       in case you are interested

tea light holder

I love making these – tea light holders

I love making these - tea light holders

I used copper for that

I used copper for that

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

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

solder everything together ( use plumbers solder )

add your tea light and light it 🙂

add your tea light and light it :)
the reason for using plumbers solder is ,is that it takes a much lower temperature to solder the parts together , after all its a tea light not jewelry 🙂

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