NEW – Free Jewelry Making Tutorial – Wire Flower Earrings

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Dec 172015
 

Wire Flower Earrings Tutorial

This is a FREE Jewelry Making Tutorial!

These earrings are  super quick and look GREAT on. AND they compliment a variety of face shapes and hair lengths.

You can make the earwires short or long and alter the size of the flowers themselves.

Free Jewelry Making Tutorial Free Jewelry Making Tutorial

 

In the flip photo video below you will see how these cute and lightweight flower earrings are made.

Materials – 20 ga wire

Tools – bail making pliers, flat pliers, chain nose pliers, handshear/scissors/snips, rawhide mallet

Optional – LOS, tumbler/polish

The flipphoto above shows how to make the flower component although when the flower is ‘done’ I usually use a mallet to lightly flatten which I did not show.

Then you just add an earwire and finish to your liking.

General Overview

  1. Use bail making pliers to begin wrapping a piece of 20ga wire. Wrap 6 times.
  2. Remove the coil from the pliers
  3. Take the long end and fold it over the coil, press flat with pliers
  4. Wrap this wire around the coil twice
  5. Cut close with flush cutters (Xuron are my faves!)
  6. Bend the end in with chain nose pliers
  7. Cut the other end (if needed), bend over as well
  8. Use your fingers to pull apart the coils
  9. Use flat pliers to grip down at the bottom of a petal, rotate the petal down
  10. Repeat on all petals
  11. Use fingers to adjust/tighten
  12. Use mallet to gently tap the flower down
  13. Add an earwire and finish your way!

Alternately, you can leave a long wire extending on one end and bend that up into an earwire so the earring start to finish is one continuous wire. 🙂

Enjoy!

You can find other Jewelry  Making Tutorials here

Send us a photo if you make these – we’d love to feature you!

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New Jewelry Making Tutorial – Forged and Fored Leaves

 Techniques  Comments Off on New Jewelry Making Tutorial – Forged and Fored Leaves
May 282012
 

Finally, We have finished a leaf tutorial that we’ve had so many requests for!!

Jewelry Making Tutorial

This tutorial explains in detail how to create a very 3 dimensional leaf with just a few tools. Learn how metal moves in response to the hammer creating areas of work hardness.

Once you learn this, you can use the technique to create other forms. Included in the tutorial is an overview of annealing AND there is a bonus ‘quicky’ leaf tutorial included that requires no annealing – it is all cold worked.

This jewelry making tutorial has over 75 color photos that are clear and walk you through each step demonstrating exactly how the metal is moving. There are 26 pages and as this is an electronic transfer of the pdf file, you will have the ability to enlarge the pages to see the photos very close up.

This is a beginner level tutorial although others will find good information in there as well!

GO check out the tutorial now – Forged and Formed Leaf – Jewelry Making Tutorial on the Metalsmithing Tutorials page

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Oct 272010
 

I once heard someone say:

“Don’t want scratches on your metal? Then don’t put them there!”

I love that saying. And its really the number one tip, and the first place to start in a discussion of removing scratches from metal, or polishing/ finishing.

Don’t scratch it in the first place.

Store it carefully. And handle it carefully.

There are many different ways to store your metals, obviously some work better than others and not all suggestions will fit for all studios.

Do what works for you. Here are some popular ideas for storage.

Storing Metal Sheet

  • A small plastic filing box with hanging files
  • plastic ziploc bags (inexpensive and come in varying sizes)
  • wrap sheets in paper towels (or shop towels which are a bit sturdier)
  • use manila envelopes which can be clearly marked and can be folded over for sizing
  • cover it with layers of tin foil
  • or……………………. whatever else you can dream up that works for you to keep metal from rubbing on other metal or anything else for that matter.

Despite the best planning and your hard efforts though, chances are you will end up with some scratches. Whether during storage or during handling/crafting, you are going to need to figure out how to remove scratches. Even if you don’t want a mirror shine on your work, you don’t want scratches interfering with your design. You can either add scratches INTO your design, making them a part of a texture, or learn to remove them.

Handling the metal

Take care in how you handle your metal. Both while you are working on it and in between operations.

While working – Use nylon pliers, a ring clamp, or your hands when possible to hold metal. Place your piece on a cushioned surface such as an old fabric placemat, beaders mat,  folded dish towel, paper towel, or other soft surface. This protects the back from scratches as you work and they are easily moved around the studio and tucked away for storage. Just remember to shake them out well before each use.

In between operations – Keep small containers handy to place your piece in between studio sessions to prevent other items being placed on the piece or having it knocked on the floor. Some popular suggestions are altoids containers (place a paper towel or tissue inside), chinese take out containers, or stacked styrofoam trays from the grocery store (the ones meat, veggies, or fruit come in – just wash then well first!). Be creative and think of items you could recycle for this use.

BASICS on removing scratches

  1. Select an abrasive – This can be files, sandpapers, a flexshaft attachment.

 

  1. Select a grit – Most of the abrasives will come coarse to fine and are noted by ‘grit’, micron, or grade (coarse, medium, etc). Choose a grit that is only the coarsest needed to blend in with the scratch. You’re not technically removing the scratch, you’re removing the metal around the scratch. It may take practice determining what grit or tool to begin with, but don’t worry, if you go too coarse, its not the end of the world, it just means a little extra work getting THOSE scratches out.

 

  1. Move up in stages, going through finer grits, always ‘blending’ until your previous scratches are covered. It helps if you turn your work a half a turn each time you make a step to a finer grit/medium. This way you can look for the directional change in marks on your metal.

 

  1. Brace your work. It is tempting to hold your work in one hand ‘in the air’ and go at it with your other hand, but it is much more effective if you brace your work on a benchpin or other surface. This provides resistance which increases the impact of your efforts.


TOOLS
for removing scratches

Sandpaper

Can be purchased from a hardware store, automotive store, or jewelry supply house. There is the typical sandpaper and then there is wet/dry sandpaper. Both serve a purpose and you may want to add both to your studio.

Rio Grande also sells ‘finishing paper’ which is a sanding paper charged on both sides and backed with a synthetic fiber – finishing papers are meant to last longer than traditional sandpapers. (IN GENERAL – the coarsest sandpapers I use is a 220 grit sandpaper and the finest is 4000 wet/dry. Before or after that another tool is probably a better choice)

Sandpapers can be used in the hand or on a stick. You don’t have to purchase sanding sticks (although that is convenient), you can make a sanding stick by wrapping sandpaper around a paint stir or for small jobs a popsicle stick and adhering with either glue or tape.

Files

large, small, flat, half round, bastard, rifler, nail (YES, a nail file!). . . . the list of files can be overwhelming! When called for, with basic removal of scratches, I normally use a needle file or rifler file. and normally that is for small hard to reach places. For flat open areas of metal, I use sandpaper.

Flexshaft attachments

3m radial disks, abrasive wheels ( such as cratex or advantagedge), sanding bands, etc. There is an ever growing number of attachments for the flexshaft. Don’t run out and buy them all at once. If you can test them at a local studio, workshop, or with a friend, do that first! Find which ones match your equipment and style of work.

Finally –

Final polishing can also ‘blend’ surface scratches by burnishing. Polishing can be done with felt, cotton, muslin buffs . . . and every metalsmith seems to have their own preference for how polishing is done. These attachments can be used on a flexshaft or a polishing lathe. The buff is ‘charged’ with a polishing compound and the various polishing compounds all have different ‘grits’ and applications.

In Practice

Here is a small test piece that shows one progression.

This piece was fairly clean, soldered and pickled.

It then went straight to the 3m radial disks. It was worked through the 3m radial disks to pink and then put on a polishing lathe with either red rouge or ZAM. (sorry I can’t recall which!)

The final photo is straight from the lathe, in all of it’s polishing gunk glory.

All photos were taken directly on the bench during the process, between each disk and they are hopefully in order.

This is strictly as one example of what can be done, it is not suggestive of ‘the’ correct method or the ‘right’ way to do this.

*NOTE*

Hand positions in photos may not be accurate as angles are often changed due to camera position.

* * *DISCLAIMER  * * * *

This was not originally intended to be anything more than some photos with an explanation of the specific process used for the photos. However, it grew and grew and could have grown more………..it is not as in depth as it could be, there are many area that could have been explored further…..but we’re capping it for now and will revisit it in the near future – maybe focusing on polishing buffs and compounds. If you have any pressing questions or curiosities, please feel free to leave a comment! In addition, any well meant and well stated critiques or corrections are also welcomed! * * * * *

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Sep 142010
 

jewelry tutorial, metalsmithing tutorial, free tutorial

I have to start out with a disclaimer.

This is not a traditional jewelry making tutorial. This is more like an outline of the technique that I use. It was originally written for a friend who has quite a lot of metalsmithing experience, so it was more of an outline or framework for her to see how I go about this process. I kept imagining I would redo the photos so each step is clearly captured and rewrite the text to make more sense for those who don’t have a lot of metalsmithing experience, however that hasn’t happened (and its been a couple of years I think!) so I’m just going to put this out here now the way that it is…well, with a few minor edits.

Supplies

  • Wire – 12 gauge
  • Wire – 20 gauge
  • Rondelle Bead
  • Manilla folder, water, dish
  • Hammers (forming, rawhide), bench block or anvil
  • Nail
  • Sharpie
  • Ring mandrel
  • Files, sandpaper
  • Soldering supplies – flux, solder, torch, third arm, pickle

Begin by soaking small pieces of the manilla folder in water. ( I leave mine soaking for days, but you can soak them for as little as half an hour)

Wrap the 12 ga wire around the ring mandrel about a half a size larger than you want the ring to be. (some of the size will be taken up by the bead)

Cut into rings.

Next, file ends smooth so you have a flush join to solder. (no pic)

Flux and solder joins on each ring individually.

Return rings to mandrel and use mallet to true up the ring(s) into a circle.

Forge one end of each ring on the bench block with a planishing or forging hammer just enough to create a flat profile.

Then forge the other end of the rings into a sloping area which will eventually be drilled for insertion of wire to hold bead. (sorry no picture of the second side being done)

Next prop rings open on the wider forged end so you can solder the more lightly planished ends together to form the base of the ring shank. (this photo was taken as a ‘set up’ – in reality the open ends would be planished flat as well)

Flux, solder, pickle.

Gently close the shank and file all edges to create a uniform appearance (no photo)

Mark center of top of ring, create a divet with hammer and nail.

Lube your drillbit and drill hole(s)

Cut a piece of 20 ga wire – you want it long enough to go through the ring, the bead, and form a ball on each end.

You are going to use this wire as your double balled ‘pin’. You will want to measure this wire before you melt your first ball so that you can calculate how much wire you’ll need for the second ball.

So, measure, then go ahead and melt a ball on one end of the wire. (make the ball as large as aesthetically fits your design).

Now, measure how much wire you have left. This will tell you how much wire you used to make your ball ( [original length – (current length-ball) = amount of wire ‘in’ your ball] you’re going to need to know that later).

Next you need to wrap the bead in wet manila folder paper, insert the packet into the opening of the ring, thread wire through your drilled holes.

Cut the end of the wire so that the proper amount for your ball is extending from the other side.

Thread another piece of the folder onto the wire (on the outside of the ring)

(Optional: Take another piece of the folder and wrap it around the top of the bead.)

You now have something that should resemble this:


(but the amount of wire protruding should be trimmed way back! this is left long so you can see )

Suspend the entire packet into a third arm with the exposed wire hanging straight down towards your bench top. Heat to melt the second ball. (this photo is after I torched the second ball)

The ‘trick’ is to use a HOT tiny flame. I turn the gas on very high and then crank up the oxygen to obtain a very hot very tight flame.

*NOTE* The first two times I did this, I did NOT wrap the bead first and it worked fine. Wrapping the bead DOES take up some room so when you are done you may have a slightly looser join. When you remove the folder you will have a tiny bit of space. Very tiny. If you do it that way and don’t like it, try just threading the wet paper on the outside and then wrap the outside of the bead. The end result will be tighter.

FYI: I have NOT had the paper catch on fire. At the very end it will smolder and singe a bit, but thats it. Here is a pick of the singed paper:

Here is another finished ring. This one turquoise.

If it can work on turquoise, then its probably fairly safe on a variety of stones, HOWEVER, I highly recommend you practice with stones that you wouldn’t be heartbroken to lose as with any new technique it can take some time to perfect.

This process was first mentioned to me by Karen Christians (of Cleverwerx) as she was experimenting with it after watching glass makers work with hot glass using wet newspapers. It took me a long time to give it a try but I have found it works well.

I hope you find this useful information!

Other areas you might find interesting

Tips and Tricks Main PAGE

Other helpful posts:
Patina on Sterling

Jewelry Making Tutorials – Metalsmithing and WireWorking

References:
Melting Temperatures
Scrap Metals Refiners and Returns

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