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 🙂

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

feather wedding bands

Had some more fun Silver smithing today

I know the album is kinda long , but maybe someone will enjoy it

I made some sterling silver wedding bands today for him and her

I used 18 gauge sterling ( 1mm thick )

draw your shape of the ring – I decided on a feather

you can either pre draw it on paper and then glue that to the metal or if it is an easy shape or you have a template you can draw directly on the metal

add some length right and left to make the rin size you need

start cutting with a jewelry saw and 1/0 blades

after you are done sawing take a chasing tool or a screw driver

after you are done sawing take a chasing tool or a screw driver
start to add some texture

start bending your ring shank…

untile the ends meet flush

this is my solderig station

I use a so called third hand to hold the ring

I use a so called third hand to hold the ring

I prefer wire solder cut into pieces

I prefer wire solder cut into pieces
there are many types of solder ( sheet , wire , stick, paste )

lay your solder across the gap after you fluxed it and start heating with your torch

a small butane torch will work as the rings are small and heat quickly I have an acetylene / air torch which i prefer instead of the acetylene / oxygen ones ( its 1 tank of volatile gas vs. 2 tanks )

this is after soldering and quenching

this is after soldering and quenching
the blackness comes from oxidation during the torching

to remove the oxidation you have to clean it in a Pickle bath

I use a small ceramic crock pot

this is after the bath

this is after the bath

form the ring on a ring mandrel with a nylon hammer

basically you hammer away until you have a perfectly round ring



now comes the clean up

now comes the clean up
I have a flex shaft ( yes I know …..) which is a dremel with a flexible hose . The bit I use is a 80 grit bristle brush

start polishing

start polishing
nice and shiny

after polishing I add patina ( darken )

Another crock pot

I use lifer of sulfur – stinks like rotten eggs but gives a nice gray black patina

this is both rings – one polished and one still with the patina everywhere

polish until you are satisfied 🙂


hope you liked this one

tree pendant from sterling silver


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 :)


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

Hi there :)


I think I never really introduced myself on this blog . This is me 🙂 in Golden ,Colorado on a road trip . I usually work a little bit even if we are on the road . Stamping equipment is easy to take with you and easy to set up . My hubby was mountain biking for a couple of hours sohe dropped me off at one of the pars in Golden .

I was born in the late 70’s in Leipzig , East Germany. When I turned 12, the Berlin Wall came down and a whole new world opened. I finished school in my home city and also went to Nursing school there. After moving to a different city in Germany, I met my husband of now 9 years on the internet, of all places. He is from New Jersey and we decided to move there. I am always up for an adventure so off we went. Because I was a nurse from a foreign country, it was not easy to get a license and work. I was prepared to go back to school all over again in the US to become a registered nurse. ( I had worked for 4 years in Germany as registered nurse ). My hubby “shopped” around and called almost every state in the USA to see where it would be easiest for me to find work without going back to school and, voila! New Mexico appeared on the radar.

New Mexico accepted my translated license and gave me a brand spanking new one after I passed ( with flying colors ) my NCLEX (which is like the bar exam for a lawyer). And then we moved again … to New Mexico…..

I won’t bore you with my life too much. We came back in the summers to New Jersey to visit my in-laws and to have be closer to my parents in Germany. (Yes, I took the summers off.) I painted and went to a pottery class in 2008. Next to the building where the pottery classes were held was a small work shop occupied by a little old lady who was a Metalsmith. She made beautiful things in sterling silver and with sparkling gemstones and – lucky for me – she taught classes, too.

That is when it began. She showed me how to make a ring and a bracelet from the beginning and how to handle a torch. Needless to say , I love fire!
In short , I was hooked!

I started out as a small hobby shop in the garage in our house in New Mexico making small pieces and selling them at the local farmers market. I did not sell a huge amount but it was fun and I met awesome, wonderful people and made a couple of friends. One of them introduced me to Etsy, and I opened my shop here in 2009. I was still working as a nurse at that point and saw the site as a nice venue to sell some of my work.

Last year in September, my husband “took over” my shop (so to speak) and tried to make it nice for me. My native language is German and so my descriptions were not the best. “This is a sterling silver flower necklace ” – well, you get the picture. He took new photos and revamped my store, giving me a lot more time to create and make and build up my shop inventory.

December of 2011 was the first month on Etsy where I could say, “Hey, this is a real business and I am making money. Maybe, just maybe, I could do this full- time.” I could and I did. In February of 2012, I made this my full time job. I also started making guitar picks out of sterling, aluminum, bronze and copper. Making them from scratch, starting with a blank sheet of metal, cutting the shape out, filing and deburring, stamping, patina and finally polishing the picks is gratifying, especially because I know people will cherish my little picks and play music with them.




copper buttons for my Mama

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Today I made some buttons for my mom . It never occurred to me to make her some even though she always needs some for one project or another . She loves to sew , knit and crochet . But today I remembered the button box she had when I was a little girl . Ach gosh I loved that box . It was built like a treasure box filled with many many different kind of buttons in all shapes and colors . There were bright red ones that were large and had a nice feel to it and small ones shaped like flowers that were very delicate looking . I used to arrange them on the floor and ” paint ” pictures with them , faces and flowers , clouds and suns.. I remember the old copper ones the most . They were scratched and dark from aged patina . I loved picking them up and running my fingers over the cool metal . I also remember the smell of them .. copper ..metallic … comforting . I spend hours sometimes sitting on the floor sorting through them .

So I called her via Skype and asked her if she still remembers that box and she does , she still has a lot of those buttons and that little treasure box to go with . I will be sending her the buttons tomorrow to be put in the box and maybe someday her grandkids will be as fascinated by that treasure as I was .


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again you can check out my shop at www.nicilaskin.etsy.com