Dec 142012

jewelry making tutorial
Flat is boring. 😉

So today we have a FREE tutorial so you can add some dimension to your metal.
This forging tutorial is offered FREE for 48 hours from Janice Fowler of Doxallo Designs Studio



and keep in mind that this type of forging can be used on various shaped of metal and on single thicknesses of metal to add volume. EXPERIMENT!

Enjoy – and HAPPY CREATING!!!!!!!!!


Tutorial available for 48 hours only!


Sep 222010

Color on Metal – Out of the grey and into the blue.

MANY artists use liver of sulphur (LOS) to create a black or grey patina on sterling. But that is not the ONLY color range that LOS offers!

With a little tweaking of the solution, you can achieve variations from reddish brown to blues and purples.

By varying the concentration of the LOS mixture and also the temperature of the mixture, one can get reddish colors – brown, and also blue to purple and adding other components to the mix achieves even brighter blues and purples.

LOS comes in chunk, liquid, and even gel form now. The following observations have been made using chunk form mixed with warm water to dissolve.

Dark grey or black – a strong mixture of LOS in relation to water is used. If the mixture is hot, the patina process will go MUCH faster, creating a deep black very quickly. (be careful, sometimes this can apply such a thick layer that it will flake off) When desired color is achieved, rinse metal in cold water to interrupt the patination process.

Reds and browns – a weaker mixture of LOS/water is used. AND a more ambient temperature solution. Dip metal quickly and don’t rinse. Wait and watch colors develop. Keep dipping and watching the process.When desired color is achieved, rinse metal in cold water to interrupt the patination process.

Blues and purples – a weak mixture of LOS and water. . . or day old mixture may be used. Add industrial strength ammonia to the mixture. (this is ‘professional’ grade cleaning ammonia, ensure proper ventilation when using) Heat metal. (can be done by running under VERY hot water). Dip quickly or paint patina onto metal. Watch CLOSELY as color develops. The metal will go through stages of color. Repeat the heating and painting process until the desired colors are achieved, rinse metal in cold water to interrupt the patination process.

Here is a picture of a sterling piece done in this manner:

Red, blue, green, maybe purple can be seen, and it has an irridescent quality to it.

Here is the reverse side with no flash on camera:

Patinas are not always stable. They can change over time. For this reason, a sealant is often used. Either wax of some sort – Renaissance Wax is a favorite among many; or a fixative spray (Nikolas lacquer has been highly recommended) to preserve color but note that anything placed over a patina will change the effect to some degree as it changes the way light plays over the surface of the metal.

Below you can see the same piece after about 7 mos in a drawer, in no protective wrapping and NO sealant having been applied. Unfortunately the photo itself is pretty poor, there is a lot of glare, however the blues/greens/reds are still visible in various places

and the back ‘after’ picture:

This pendant was colored using day old LOS soultion that had faded to a weak yellow/straw color.

Straight ammonia was added to the LOS solution. There is no need to be specific with ratios, one of the joys of patinas is in experimentation.

The room temperature mixture was ‘painted’ on with a papertowel very lightly, wiping dry, then applying more,then wiping dry until the desired colors were achieved.

The nice thing is if you go too far you can take it off and start again.

One tip – KEEP a notebook for patinas handy on your bench. Record your process including:

  • patina ingredients and amounts
  • meta used
  • temperature of solution
  • temperature of metal
  • method of applying (dunked, painted, misted, etc)
  • time left on
  • rinsing in between applications (if any)
  • repetition of process (if any)

General instructions for LOS in chunk form:

Use a heat tolerated container. Add a quarter cup of hot water. Add one small chunk (a little less than the size of a pea). Wait for it to dissolve. Swirl container to mix.

The LOS is ready to use. Mixed LOS solutions are not very stable. They will degrade over time and usually are not saved. however, for some of the color variations noted above, retaining your mixed LOS can serve a purpose!  LOS will weaken overnight, losing its color (turning more clear) and eventually have a skim or flakes on the surface. When the LOS solution gets to that point – it’s dead. ..inactive, and can be poured down the drain (from what we’ve read). If your solution is still yellow, it is ‘active’ and should be disposed of according to your local requirements.

More on patinas coming soon!

See more Tips & Tricks
Free Jewelry Making Tutorial – Dual Balled Ring

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.


  • 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

Melting Temperatures
Scrap Metals Refiners and Returns

Aug 272010

The last post was really just a teaser with brief definitions and photos. Now let’s look a little further and try to get a handle on some of the tools and terms associated with raising.

Basic definitions

(we will expand on these as we go along)

Raising: forming metal over (or on) a stake (of some sort) using a hammer to compress and stretch the metal.

Stake: a solid object (can be various material) with varying curvatures.

Course: one complete pass of hammering while raising.

Synclastic: forging metal along two curves at right angles to one another and moving in the same direction. (bowl)

Anticlastic: forging metal along two curves which are moving in opposite directions. (pringle)

Annealing: heating metal to increase its flexibility (annealing article here)


I thought a little sketch might help clarify the curvatures for us. These sketches are reproductions of ones found in the book Form Emphasis. (I considered taking a photo of the page and then decided that went too far into copyright issues…so my crude sketches will have to do.)

anticlasitc and synclastic forms

anticlastic and synclastic sketch

Alternate imagery is sometimes helpful.

jewelry making anticlastic example


A saddle is anticlast as it curves in two opposing directions.

One curve goes ‘down’

One curve goes ‘up’

think of the long line as a curvature that follows the horses body, it would wrap around the horses ‘trunk’. The other, shorter, line creates a space for the riders bottom.

As an abstract – it can hold something from the top and from the bottom


Alternately, a synclast shape, in its basic form, only holds from one direction.

synclastic diagram for jewelry making


all of the curves move in the same direction.

either ‘up’

or if the bowl were flipped, all curves would move ‘down’

Don’t be fooled by imposters!

The following image is neither synclast or anticlast.

only one curve!

Why? Because there is only one curve.

To become anticlast, the two points on the straight line/plane would need to move down.

To become synclast, the two points on the straight line/plane would need to move up.

The Tools I Use


Stakes for Jewelry Tutorial Metalsmithing Raising


These are fairly simple stakes. The metal ones having only one curvature on each end. Typical sinusoidal stakes have a series of curves on one stake.

Surprisingly, there is a lot of variation in forming that can be done on these.

Stakes 1 and 2 are metal and would be used with a nylon or delrin hammer.

Stakes 3 and 4 are delrin and would be used with a metal hammer.

Never use a metal hammer on a metal stake as it would mar and pinch the metal too much.

A delrin hammer is not used on a delrin stake as both materials are going to ‘give’ a little and therefore the force of the hammer blow is going to be diffused too much. You will waste a lot of energy hammering for very little movement of metal.


jewelry raising hammers


Here I have two metal ‘raising’ hammers and one hammer that is made of delrin.

Technically, the metal hammers are sold as ‘bordering’ hammers. I have two because they have different sized heads.

Hammers used for raising typically have profiles longer than they are wide.

The other tool is a vise. I use a regular vise bolted to my workbench although alternatives could be a GRS system that has a holding mechanism or some stake sets may come with their own holder.

One problem that can occur  with a regular vise is slippage of the stake in the vise while hammering.

I combat that problem by making a hammock for my stakes. Basically it is a hanger made of brass sheet that overlaps the top of the vise jaws.

Here is how I make mine:

Estimate how much you need to hang over the top of the vise jaw. Place that much of the sheet of brass down into the vise. Bend and mallet down.

Remove sheet from vise and place stake at the bend. Mark the depth of your stake.

Bend that second line, bringing the first fold UP. Now you have a little ledge for your stake to sit on.

Bend again at the end of the stake, bringing the bottom ledge up the other side of the stake.

Next, mark a line at the top of the stake, while it is on the ledge.

You will fold DOWN, away from the stake at this line.

Now you have a little hammock for your stake. This will help give the stake something to rest on and keep it from moving down while you hammer!

I normally place this entire packet back into the vise, tighten the vise up, and mallet down the top edges. This confirms all the folds so they stay put.

You can also conform the top of the flaps to the top of your vise jaws.

When you take the ‘hammock’ out of the vise, trim and sand so you don’t inadvertently cut yourself!

Next time we’ll move on to the actual forming process!