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Copper etching

I got a brilliant jewellery making book for Christmas which covers loads of techniques, including acid resist metal etching.  The book talked specifically about etching silver using the very scary nitric acid!  Obviously I’m not keen to deal with serious acids like that, but it inspired me to do a bit of research into alternative etching methods.

I decided to start with copper etching and discovered a method for acid resist etching using ferric chloride.  This acid is much easier & safer to use when your home or workshop doesn’t include a chemistry lab!  The process is the same as for creating printed circuit boards from home, so it’s a popular technique for hobby electronics enthusiasts.

I’m going to write a full tutorial later, but here are a few of the pieces I’ve etched to whet your appetite!

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Enamelled earrings

I’ve fancied trying out enamels for a while and came across Efcolor enamels, which are low-heat (150°) and quite inexpensive, so I thought it’d be a good way to try out the enamelling process.

As a first project, I wanted to make some earrings for my mum as it’s her birthday next week.  I cut rough leaf shapes from copper, hammered a nail through the top to make a hole (my thumb took a few hits!) and enamelled both sides in shades of green.  Then I put a couple of jump rings between the copper and the ear wire and put a few glass pearl beads on.

Here is the end result:

Enamelled earrings

They look nicer in real life!

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Spoon rings

I came across an article a few weeks back about how in olden times, servants couldn’t afford to have wedding rings made from precious metals so they would steal silver spoons from their employers and have them turned into rings.  I love this idea as there are so many pretty silver spoons around!

Mum gave me a spoon to have a practice with, as I’ve actually never worked with metal properly before (cutting, forming, soldering etc.) and this is the end result:

I should have done a “before and after” really, shouldn’t I?  Well, I’m sure you can all picture in your head what a spoon looks like 🙂

Anyway, this was my first attempt at metalwork and I’m really pleased with it!  The ring fits the finger I intended it to fit, is ROUND and shiny and is soldered together.  The solder joint isn’t perfect because the metal wasn’t the same thickness or size at the points where it had to join (!), but I’m still pleased with how it turned out.

I’ll be keeping it as a ‘starting point’ to see how my skills improve over the coming months as I do more metalwork & silversmithing.

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Bangle disaster!

I tried out the bangle mould for resin yesterday with some lovely crushed green glass (formerly a wine bottle!) and couldn’t wait to get it out of the mould this morning!  Unfortunately it TOTALLY wouldn’t budge, so after hubbie had had a go at it as well, I popped it into the freezer.  Normally this works a treat but it STILL wouldn’t budge 🙁  Eventually I tried a bit of squeezing but the fact it was frozen must have made it fragile … so I got it out of the mould, but in four pieces!

Thankfully the great thing about resin is that I should be able to repair it with a bit of extra resin!  Here is it, still broken but laid out as it should look.

I’ve started the repair job, so we’ll see what it looks like in a few days!