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

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

polish

thanks for reading

sterling silver cat pendant

little cat pendant

little cat pendant
made from 18 gauge sterling silver

Draw out the shape of a cat onto paper

this cat was pretty easy to draw as I had drawn a similar shape before and for some reason I can draw faster the second time, I added a little heart 🙂

stick your paper to your metal

start cutting with your jewelry hand saw and 1/0 saw blades

drill or punch out some holes for the eyes I use a swanstrom hole punch pliers ,one of my most used tools

peel of the paper and start polishing

If you do not have a machine you can always use steel wool for a satin finish or some fine sand paper

my mom wears her ” floating ” heart a lot that I made her so I did not add a jumpring

I carefully bend down the tail so there is only a tiny gap and just fed the chain through the tail so that the cat is ” floating ” as well, please check out my store at www.nicilaskin.etsy.com

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

Copper Bird Bracelet

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This is actually a very simple thing to make . You start out with a wide copper strip ,I used 1 1/2 inch  by 16 inch17 gauge copper for this cuff bracelet .  Draw your bird onto the bracelet strip or on a piece of paper . Pierce the inside of the wings and the inside of the birds body and cut out the bird. When you are done with cutting out file the edges nice and smooth . Form your bracelet on a mandrel either oval or round until you are satisfied with the shape . Start polishing with either a polisher or use steel wool or sand paper .

 

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butterfly ring in sterling

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When my husband and I had our first wedding anniversary I was the whole day in school studying for the NCLEX ( National Nursing Exam ) to be able to working the USA . I had been a nurse for 4 years in Germany but you still had to take an exam in order to come here and work. I was sad that I had to be in school the whole day . He picked me up at about 6 pm with the car . We drove home through the woods and he said to close the windows and then to open the glove department . I did .  He had caught me a butterfly , a tiger swallow tail my favorite butterfly . Now my husband is not and will never be the romantic kinda guy but that was the sweetest thing . He not only remembered that that was my favorite butterfly , he caught it alive and we let it fly back at the point where he got it from .

 

so……….on with the project.

 

draw your ring shank onto a piece of paper and measure to the length of your ring size you desire ( mine is an 8 for my thumb ) . Don’t forget to multiply the thickness of your metal with 3.14 ( Pi) and add that to your length . Stick your paper to the metal ( 18 gauge sterling silver is what I used ) and start cutting with your jewelry saw and 1/0 saw blades . when you have the ring shank cut out , drill or punch holes into the wings for cutting them out inside.

 

When you are done bend the ring until the ends meet flush with the smallest gap possible . Flux the joint and ad some solder ( I used extra easy wire solder ) . Start heating with the torch until your solder flows .I use a third hand to hold the ring ( its the most easy way to solder a ring ) . Quench in water and put in your Pickle solution to clean. When the silver turned all white you can take it out with copper tongues and rinse in water . Form the ring on a ring mandrel with a nylon or raw hide hammer ( non marring ) until your ring is nice and round . File and polish the edges and add patina . Polish again and wear your ring proudly :)

 

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You can visit my shop at www.nicilaskin.etsy.com

 

 

Shadow box flower pendant

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This is a fairly easy project . A so called shadow box pendant . Shadow boxes consist of 2 shapes that are identical with one of the shapes having a pierced and cut design . On my project I am making a geometrical flower. I amusing 18 gauge sterling silver which is 1 mm thick and will give you a nice solid and heavier piece to wear. Most use 22 or 20 gauge though as a more cost effective way. I am now in that age where I appreciate the heavier jewelry .

Cut 2 circles in the same size ( mine are 1 1/4 inch in diameter ) . I use a swanstrom disc cutter for that , a very valuable but a bit pricey tool. You can also buy pre cut discs at riogrande.com or thunderbirdsupply.com or other online suppliers or you can cut it out by hand via your jewelry saw.

Draw on one of the circles your design you want to cut out . punch or drill a hole to feed your saw blade through and start cutting . I cut with a 6 inch jewelry saw and 1/0 blades. After you are done clean the metal with sandpaper to make it ready for soldering. Flux your piece with the cutout and add the solder . Heat with torch until the solder melts . Quench in water .Now some would pickle the cut out piece to clean it up for the next soldering step but I have to admit I never do . flux both circles and put the cut out one solder side down ( facing the other circle ). To make sure the whole thing will not move, I use a third hand . Heat again with your torch until you see the solder flow around the edge. The metal will be red hot at that point . Be careful not to melt your silver into a big blob of scrap. Quench in water and put into a pickle solution. After your piece turns white take it out and rinse with water. File along the edge until the solder line is barely visible . Punch or drill your hole for the jump ring . Start polishing with your flex shaft or sand paper. Make sure you remove all the firescale ( purple stain you get when soldering ) Add patina and polish again leaving the inside area alone . Add a jump ring and a chain and wear proudly.

 

as always if you would love to have this or any other piece and are unable to make it .Visit my shop at www.nicilaskin.etsy.com  .

 

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Sterling silver seahorse pendant

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This project was fun and very cute .I used 18 gauge sterling silver again .

Draw your seahorse on a piece of paper and stick it onto your metal sheet . Cut out with your jewelry saw and 1/0 saw blades. Cut also the base of your pendant – I chose a dogtag shape.

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After cutting out your shapes make sure everything fits well together . Sand down with sand paper to clean the metal before soldering. Flux the back of your seahorse and add solder . Heat with torch until the solder flows ( melts ). Quench in water . Flux both seahorse and your base . Pu the seahorse onto the base solder side down and heat again with your torch until the metal gets red hot. Quench in water.

 

 

 

 

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Put your pendant into a pickle bath to clean the metal .Take out when the sterling turns a white color ( never take out with your hands – always use copper tongues ) . Add texture . File your edges and pre polish.

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put into liver of sulfur until you get a nice dark patina . Polish again so that only patina remains in the texture . Add a jump ring and a chain and impress . 🙂

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as always you can visit my shop at www.nicilaskin.etsy.com .

Small clover leaf charm pendant

Today a very easy project and some basic tools you need . Good tools are essential to metal smithing and for me the rule of thumb is . The cheapest ones are most of the time not a very economical option as they brake fast and you have to keep buying new ones . Some of my tools are very expensive , however over the time they paid for themselves and I have them since years .

you can start with some basic tools for easy projects like this one .

1. jewelry saw

2. saw blades

3. V- clamp

4. bees wax

5. files ( I have several different ones) , for this one a number 2 , 3 or 4  Grobet file

6. flex shaft

7. Liver of sulfur

8. chasing tools

9. Hole punch pliers

tools tools1 tools2 tools3 tools4 tools5 tools6 tools7 tools8

I get most of my supplies from www.riogrande.com  

a company based out of Albuquerque , New Mexico . While they might be not the cheapest I find them very responsive and easy to work with. Fast shipping and excellent service .

 

On with the project.

Draw your clover leaf either directly onto the metal sheet ( I used 18 gauge sterling silver ) or on a piece of paper ( I found label paper for the printer the easiest to work with as you can stick it directly to the metal without needing sticky glue or rubber cement ). After drawing cut it out and stick on the metal . Take your jewelry saw and 1/0 saw blades and cut out your leaf . I prefer a 6 inch saw frame ( space between the blade and the back of the frame ) as this one gives me a lot of maneuver room without being to heavy , but you can also use a 3 inch or 8 inch frame . When sawing lock your wrist and move the saw out of your elbow , don’t push into the metal – the saw blades are super thin and brake with too much pressure –  ( you know you mastered your saw when the saw blades wear out before you brake them )

After you are finished sawing take your file and start rounding the edges . Take your chasing tools and add some texture ( if you don’t want to invest into those you can also use old screw drivers , nails ect. ) . Punch a hole for your jump ring ( I love my hole punch pliers , but you can also drill ) . Take your liver of sulfur and add some warm water , submerge your leaf for a minute or two until it turns black/gray.

Be forewarned , Liver of sulfur stinks to high heaven ( like rotten eggs ) so don’t do it in your house ( garage or outside is best )

Dry your leaf . Now I stopped at this point and left it with a nice black/gray patina as I wanted an aged look . But you can polish it with your flex shaft so that only your texture remains dark ( if you have no flex shaft , you can also use steel wool or sand paper )

add your jump ring and put on a chain ….done  🙂

 

 

 

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hope you liked it .

Check out my metal shop at www.nicilaskin.etsy.com and as always If you have any questions I am always happy to help

 

nici