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Vespertilion
03-06-2011, 08:53 AM
Hi everyone.

I make jewelry (give away more than I sell) and like writing, it's a process. Classes and circumstances can be prohibitive when it comes to advancing your skills, so I was hoping to share tips and tricks for low-cost projects, or just show off what we've learned :)

I started out with a drill and my own pressed pennies, and that's still the bulk of what I sell (I have a crapload of coins to get rid of) and I also taught myself how to etch copper. One of the unusual things I do is paint the metal, and I love the way it looks.

Here's an etched and painted copper necklace as an example, with crystal "fireflies."

http://ny-image0.etsy.com/il_570xN.145641648.jpg

Vespertilion
03-06-2011, 08:56 AM
Because of the etchant I use, you can often see some pixelization from the transfer as an artefact of the process, which I kind of dig. I could soften it by placing it back in the etch after the resist is removed, but I rarely do.

If anyone digs one of these up in a thousand years, they'll know I used a laser printer of this era to make the transfer, which is really kind of cool.

BySharonNelson
03-06-2011, 08:56 AM
Thats gorgeous! I am a big fan of polymer clay but its kind of just a hobby. :)

Vespertilion
03-06-2011, 09:00 AM
Thank you :)

Polymer clay is so cool in the right hands. It really can be gorgeous. Have you ever seen that precious metal clay?

You build your piece out of it, then the clay goes into a kiln, and all the binders are cooked out. The piece shrinks in the process, but you end up with a fine silver item. I've never tried it (expensive) but am fascinated by it.

frimble3
03-06-2011, 11:53 AM
I've tried the PMC clay, and, while it is expensive (real silver), the things you can do with a couple of tools are amazing. If you wanted to 'practice' techniques to see if the clay would work for you, it handles very much like a waterbased paper clay, like Das, or 'Paperclay'- the dried-pulp in a bag, just-add-water stuff.
Very quick to dry, you have to move quickly, esp with thin pieces. My teacher had us use hand-balm on our hands so that the stuff didn't stick, otherwise you're losing expensive clay onto your skin.
Takes a stamp well, tools nicely, works with a mold. And, it comes in a slip-in-a-syringe form that is amazing. You can make a form out of something that will burn off, and draw lines with the syringe o'slip. When it's fired, it's a web of silver lines. Much easier than using wire and solder for the same effect.
I wanted to try some things in silver, but I didn't want to learn a new skill (soldering) just for a couple of things.

Vespertilion
03-06-2011, 12:13 PM
There were PMC classes available in my last city, but they were always full, just like all the basic metalworking classes. First day of registration they filled up immediately.

Soldering is one of the things I haven't gotten around to learning yet, either. I mostly drill holes and connect things that way. I'd like to learn someday, but you know how that goes. :P

Susie
03-06-2011, 08:21 PM
wow, what a beautiful piece, Clovia. You're very talented! Great thread, too. I'm interested in making jewelry, but haven't really gotten started yet. :)

Vespertilion
03-06-2011, 11:15 PM
If you want to try something simple, Susie, here's a great tutorial from Fire Mountain on making a wire wrapped loop (http://www.firemountaingems.com/beading_howtos/beading_projects.asp?docid=652t). Pics at the bottom are nice and clear.

That's what's connecting the pendant to the necklace in my first pic, and what I use most often in place of jump rings. They look nice, nothing thin can can escape because there's no potential gap, and can be made with any gage of wire.

frimble3
03-07-2011, 01:13 AM
Soldering is one of the things I haven't gotten around to learning yet, either. I mostly drill holes and connect things that way. I'd like to learn someday, but you know how that goes. :P
Well, you taught yourself to etch copper, which is more than most of us have done. (And the result looks great.)

Vespertilion
03-07-2011, 02:02 AM
Well, you taught yourself to etch copper, which is more than most of us have done. (And the result looks great.)


There's a definite point where I need someone to show me in person how to do something properly. Soldering, I think I'd feel better with a class.

If anyone can blow themselves up, it's me, so the etching process I went with has No Electricity. I found something similar for silver, so I'm going to try that next, when I can face maybe ruining a piece of silver. Scrap copper, I can get at the hardware store.

ETA: As far as start-up costs go for learning, the printer is the biggest expense, if you don't already have one.

Laser printer
Ink Jet photo paper
An iron (I would have one just for crafts)
Glass or plastic container
Two very cheap household chemicals I'm not sure the mods would want me posting, legally, so I'll be happy to rep or pm :)

Susie
03-07-2011, 02:20 AM
Thx so much for the link, Clovia. I'll check it out.

frimble3
03-07-2011, 08:01 AM
Thanks so much for the offer, but, yeah, the laser printer would be the big cost. I already have an inkjet, so I've got the paper, at least :)
And there's no point in tempting myself with the knowledge of chemicals when I'm unlikely to make the leap to copper etching anytime soon.

Vespertilion
03-09-2011, 10:00 AM
Necklace I made for myself to feature a palad khik I found on 3bay. The memory wire is wrapped in embroidery floss (cheaper than beads, and doesn't pull the baby hairs at the back of your neck) and the brass leaves came off a broken vintage necklace. The lucky peaches are stone, and I think probably dyed.

To keep the embroidery floss neat, I split red-liner tape into slim pieces and press it around the memory wire--the thread sticks to it, and the bond is permanent in 24 hours.

I usually relax the memory wire a little by bending it against the curve gently, so it's not a choker anymore, but won't fall off, either.

http://i1193.photobucket.com/albums/aa344/CloviaShaw/Bucketkhik.jpg

I feel like such a thread hog! I want to see/hear what you've made :)

Satori1977
03-11-2011, 11:27 PM
Very cool Clovia! I love the work you have done, especially the first one. I used to make jewelry when I was young, but it was very amuteurish. I would love to learn how to do it now. Thanks for the link, I put it in my favorites.

Vespertilion
05-16-2011, 09:38 AM
The craft store chain I used to work at has some new jeweler's equipment :) I had to put like five things back (tiny anvil!) but I bought a dapping cube and have been playing.

What can I put in a tiny bowl?! That medallion needs to be domed! All discs would look better either convex or concave!

Now I have to figure out what I need a tiny anvil for. Other than a tiny coyote.

Medievalist
05-16-2011, 08:37 PM
Do check out Clovia's pressed pennies; they are very cool.

Vespertilion
05-21-2011, 12:14 AM
Here's my first project with the fruits of the dapping cube.

http://i1193.photobucket.com/albums/aa344/CloviaShaw/DysFinalAW.jpg

I used the domed discs to cover the snaps, as well as the two decorative ones flanking the centerpieces. The leather is cut from a belt, and split down the center to get the width I needed.

BunnyMaz
05-21-2011, 12:18 AM
I have nothing useful to add. I just wanted to drool over your work.

Prettttttttyyyyyyy...

sunandshadow
05-21-2011, 03:07 AM
What do you put on the copper to keep it from oxidizing after you've got it nice and shiny?

This thread reminds me that at some point I had intended to get a rock tumbler and figure out how to drill holes in the polished rocks without breaking them...

Vespertilion
05-21-2011, 03:17 AM
I usually don't, sunandshadow, because I don't mind the patina. But I've heard great things about archival microcrystalline waxes like Renaissance Wax.

I wouldn't suggest clear nail polish--I had someone do that and then send me the piece back for an adjustment. It looked like such crap I was embarrassed.

Medievalist
05-21-2011, 03:55 AM
What do you put on the copper to keep it from oxidizing after you've got it nice and shiny?

This thread reminds me that at some point I had intended to get a rock tumbler and figure out how to drill holes in the polished rocks without breaking them...

You do it before the very final polish, and you include plastic (reusable) beads that help protect the rocks from chipping in the final polish. You can drill the holes with a dremel, but you need to match the bit to the rock.

Medievalist
05-21-2011, 03:57 AM
What do you put on the copper to keep it from oxidizing after you've got it nice and shiny?

I wouldn't; you can use an ordinary pencil eraser, followed by a soft clean cloth, to buff the parts you want to be copper/shiny and un-oxidized.

Vespertilion
05-21-2011, 04:12 AM
I wouldn't; you can use an ordinary pencil eraser, followed by a soft clean cloth, to buff the parts you want to be copper/shiny and un-oxidized.

It's kinda soothing, too--I have one of those battery-op helix erasers, which allows for some precision. I like to make Lincoln's head shiny first.

Evelyn
05-21-2011, 04:28 AM
Hi Clovia,

I've enjoyed your work very much! I like what you did with the domed pieces, and especially how you mixed the copper and the leather. Keep showing us your work, please please please.

I'm a jeweler, too. I have a fine arts degree in oil painting, and then I discovered I really loved to work in metals, so I went back to school to study jewelry design.

FUN! I fell in love and never looked back. I have a studio in my home with the whole deal, the torch and all the rest. I sell my work at Fine Arts Fairs. I tried to put some images here, but it looks like they're all too big. Here's my website, if anyone's interested:

www.vivid-arts.com (http://www.vivid-arts.com)

Thanks for starting this great thread.

Evelyn

Vespertilion
05-21-2011, 05:07 AM
Thanks, Evelyn!

I'd love to take some proper jewelry classes, I just haven't been able to yet. Most everything I make has some sort of experimental quality to it :)

And holy wow, your stuff is cool! I'd love to hear some about how your pieces are made. The little jointed doll necklaces are wonderful.

ETA: Your how-you-do-it photo sequence on the beads is fascinating, too.

Medievalist
05-21-2011, 05:35 AM
It's kinda soothing, too--I have one of those battery-op helix erasers, which allows for some precision. I like to make Lincoln's head shiny first.

:D

If I'd had one of those as a kid, I'd have been a menace to copper everywhere!

Vespertilion
06-07-2011, 08:23 AM
Making a new cuff bracelet, along with some necklaces. The cuff part is from a metallic strap off a gift basket, and the "rivets" holding the painted piece on are copper head-pins.

http://i1193.photobucket.com/albums/aa344/CloviaShaw/basketbracelet015-1.jpg

I already sealed and painted the cut ends of the strap, and just have to put a snap on. All I have are the gold snaps, though, so tomorrow I'm going to dig around for some dark wood stain or something to try. 00 steel wool will take the gold color off, and the silver underneath might take a brown stain. ETA: a dry scotch-brite pad took it off quick like a bunny.

Vespertilion
06-23-2011, 10:09 PM
One of my friends wants a silver piece, and has offered to buy the sheet for me. So I guess I'm going to try it. *wibble*

Anyone have any projects going?

K. Taylor
06-25-2011, 11:55 AM
There's a little store in the next city over I love to browse in - Beads Beads. I've made a few very simple necklace-and-pendant strings, and some earrings. Most have been gifts to others. I also fixed a couple broken necklaces because I could get new clasps and stuff there. First went there as a kid and love how cheap it is to make something simple and cute.

Vespertilion
06-29-2011, 07:59 AM
Talk about your low-cost techniques. I was googling around for my upcoming silver project, and found someone asking about doing a patina on silver without the liver of sulfur. Apparently, you can boil and peel an egg, smash it up on one side of a plastic container, and place your silver piece in the other side. Seal up the container and put it in the fridge overnight or so.

You know I have to try this with a scrap, right?

Shadowflame
07-14-2011, 10:35 PM
Hi Clovia, beautiful stuff, I haven't done much with metals yet. Hoping to get into some chain maile later this year, but have been beading for years now.

While this isn't updated, it is some of the stuff I did a few years back http://www.beadartists.org/Shadow

I finished this one last year. http://wp.me/pCGdv-4Q

I have several projects started... somewhere in boxes after my move. Getting the itch again to start. ;)

Vespertilion
07-15-2011, 02:19 AM
Wowzers, Shadowflame--beautiful stuff. I'm always a bit awed by the patience that kind work must need :)

Shadowflame
07-15-2011, 02:21 AM
Yea it takes a while on some pieces but also sometimes very zen. You kind of lose yourself and a few hours when you get into a piece.

Vespertilion
08-07-2011, 06:19 AM
Miserly goodness: Paint pen makes awesome resist for freehand designs.

Brutal Mustang
08-07-2011, 06:28 AM
Polymer clay is so cool in the right hands. It really can be gorgeous.

Yes it is. Have you ever seen this (http://wingdthing.deviantart.com/) woman's life-like dolls? (Warning: these aren't child dolls--most of them are quite sensual.)

amyashley
08-07-2011, 06:29 AM
Clovia, I've crocheted a few bracelets, and I'll try to get a pic of the one I do have here in the next day or so. I find scarf patterns I like and do them in sock wight yarn- just a few repeats. Add a button (a hammered flat penny with two nail holes is lovely) and a button loop and it's finis.

I like working with fiber. I'm not good with metals or harder stuffs. I fiddle with them occasionally but like more flexible mediums.

I found a great tutorial the other day. A lady had used warm water to bend popsicle sticks then color them in geometric patterns. They made truly beautiful cuffs. She'd used simple designs, but someone with more artistic talent could take the concept and run with it.

amyashley
08-07-2011, 06:35 AM
*Not to say that popsicle sticks equate to high art or anything, you know.

I just relish the concept of taking something irreverent and turning it into an object of decoration.

Vespertilion
08-07-2011, 06:42 AM
Yes it is. Have you ever seen this (http://wingdthing.deviantart.com/) woman's life-like dolls? (Warning: these aren't child dolls--most of them are quite sensual.)

Those are stunning.


Clovia, I've crocheted a few bracelets, and I'll try to get a pic of the one I do have here in the next day or so. I find scarf patterns I like and do them in sock wight yarn- just a few repeats. Add a button (a hammered flat penny with two nail holes is lovely) and a button loop and it's finis.

I like working with fiber. I'm not good with metals or harder stuffs. I fiddle with them occasionally but like more flexible mediums.

I found a great tutorial the other day. A lady had used warm water to bend popsicle sticks then color them in geometric patterns. They made truly beautiful cuffs. She'd used simple designs, but someone with more artistic talent could take the concept and run with it.

I can't wait to see what you've done! I incorporated another artist's tatting into a choker once, but fiber arts and I are...erm...we don't.

I like the metals best, but I feel like a poser most days. We're maybe moving again in a month or two, and I found a basic metalworking course in the target city, so I can finally have someone show me in person how to solder and make bezels and all. Give a good try at all the more complicated, skillz-requiring stuff in my brain. :)

Vespertilion
08-07-2011, 06:44 AM
*Not to say that popsicle sticks equate to high art or anything, you know.

I just relish the concept of taking something irreverent and turning it into an object of decoration.

Nah, I think stuff like that is great. My mom has a necklace from the 60s that's made entirely of colored telephone wires. Couldn't be simpler, but it's so cool.

blacbird
08-08-2011, 10:58 AM
Up where I live (Alaska), there's a thriving little tourist gift industry based on moose poop nuggets. These delights are about half the size of your thumb, and are deposited by the untold gazillions everywhere in the woods, as well as in my yard. The ones left in winter are the desirable ones, as the moose eat willow and other tree bark in the cold season, and what comes out the other end is essentially pelleted sawdust. They get collected, varnished, and made into stuff. At any tourist gift shop you can get earrings, cufflinks and other doodads made from them. Also swizzle sticks for drinks. If anybody wants some, let me know, and I'll make arrangements. Christmas will be here before you know it.

caw

Vespertilion
08-13-2011, 05:50 AM
The ones left in winter are the desirable ones, as the moose eat willow and other tree bark in the cold season, and what comes out the other end is essentially pelleted sawdust. They get collected, varnished, and made into stuff. At any tourist gift shop you can get earrings, cufflinks and other doodads made from them. Also swizzle sticks for drinks. caw

I have to go google a pic of this.

My first attempt at etching silver came out pretty well:

http://i1193.photobucket.com/albums/aa344/CloviaShaw/FiledMedals-1.jpg

There was a scary moment where my etchant went kerplunk, and started to eat all the resist off. I went in to jiggle and found all the toner/paint floating on top within a few minutes of the silver going in. Still not sure what that was all about. Managed to save the partially-done pieces, though, and redo them in a fresh batch.

http://i1193.photobucket.com/albums/aa344/CloviaShaw/Filedmedals2-1.jpg


They're release-day swag for an AW friend's debut YA.

frimble3
08-14-2011, 05:50 AM
I have to go google a pic of this.

My first attempt at etching silver came out pretty well:

http://i1193.photobucket.com/albums/aa344/CloviaShaw/FiledMedals-1.jpg

There was a scary moment where my etchant went kerplunk, and started to eat all the resist off. I went in to jiggle and found all the toner/paint floating on top within a few minutes of the silver going in. Still not sure what that was all about. Managed to save the partially-done pieces, though, and redo them in a fresh batch.

http://i1193.photobucket.com/albums/aa344/CloviaShaw/Filedmedals2-1.jpg


They're release-day swag for an AW friend's debut YA.
Woo, those look great! Lucky friend! Love the detail.

Is it possible that the problem was not the etchant, but that the resist wasn't adhering well enough? In any case, looks like the fresh batch worked fine, so presumably just 'first batch blues'.

I've only ever dabbled in etching glass - the thought of something that eats glass near my skin freaks me out.
And, I ended up using the etching less as an art form in itself, but just to matte the glaze on gloss-glazed ceramics, as prep for painting them.

Vespertilion
08-14-2011, 06:24 AM
Woo, those look great! Lucky friend! Love the detail.

Is it possible that the problem was not the etchant, but that the resist wasn't adhering well enough? In any case, looks like the fresh batch worked fine, so presumably just 'first batch blues'.

I've only ever dabbled in etching glass - the thought of something that eats glass near my skin freaks me out.
And, I ended up using the etching less as an art form in itself, but just to matte the glaze on gloss-glazed ceramics, as prep for painting them.

Thanks! :)

I thought that might be the case, because the first piece came out well. I cleaned the metal thoroughly just like always, but something certainly could have happened. The second batch did turn out a different consistency than the first, too, so I'm not sure something wasn't wonky with the mixture.

I tried etching glass for the centerpieces at my wedding. They turned out well for a first try. I put vinyl contact paper (like what you used to line cabinets with) on the glass, then used a stencil to repeat the same design on each one, and then used an x-acto to slice the design into the contact paper and remove the pieces where the glass was meant to be exposed.

I just used the ready-made etchant you can get at the craft store for that, and did it outside, because the fumes are sort of like...corrosive mayonnaise. They have little sand-blasting etch kits you can get now, too, so nothing poisonous in them.

Filigree
08-15-2011, 12:31 AM
The glass-etching paste you buy in hobby stores is even more dangerous than you know: it's hydrofluoric acid in a low solution. That's not a good thing, as the stuff can leach right through your skin and attack bones and soft tissue even in mild doses, and most people don't keep calcium gluconate gel as a partial antidote.

True story: a company I used to work for painted glass vases with acrylic dyes, for the home-decor industry. But the glass had to be etched, for the paint to stick. They bought the Armor-Etch glass etching paste by the half-gallon, had their artist's assistants paint it on the three-foot-high vases, and wash them off with a garden hose in the parking lot. The parking lot which was less than sixty feet from a major irrigation canal running right through a city neighborhood. I nearly got fired when, as chief assistant, I pointed out how many OSHA regulations they were breaking. Eventually, the company went to sandblasting, which was safer and more effective.

So, hobbyists, pay attention to the danger warnings on those labels. Look up anything that is unfamiliar. The warnings are there for a reason!

druid12000
08-15-2011, 01:07 AM
What do you put on the copper to keep it from oxidizing after you've got it nice and shiny?

This thread reminds me that at some point I had intended to get a rock tumbler and figure out how to drill holes in the polished rocks without breaking them...

Get a 'Dremel' or equivalent tool (a drill press to house it is optimal!) and check out Widget or WidgetSupply.com for diamond drill bits. They have the best prices I've found, but the quality of diamond bits is hit or miss sometimes. If you buy in bulk (usually 20 or more) you get each bit really cheap.

Vespertilion
08-15-2011, 01:40 AM
The glass-etching paste you buy in hobby stores is even more dangerous than you know: it's hydrofluoric acid in a low solution. That's not a good thing, as the stuff can leach right through your skin and attack bones and soft tissue even in mild doses, and most people don't keep calcium gluconate gel as a partial antidote.

True story: a company I used to work for painted glass vases with acrylic dyes, for the home-decor industry. But the glass had to be etched, for the paint to stick. They bought the Armor-Etch glass etching paste by the half-gallon, had their artist's assistants paint it on the three-foot-high vases, and wash them off with a garden hose in the parking lot. The parking lot which was less than sixty feet from a major irrigation canal running right through a city neighborhood. I nearly got fired when, as chief assistant, I pointed out how many OSHA regulations they were breaking. Eventually, the company went to sandblasting, which was safer and more effective.

So, hobbyists, pay attention to the danger warnings on those labels. Look up anything that is unfamiliar. The warnings are there for a reason!

Wow. That's awful. I ran each piece inside to rinse it, but would never have done so outside. I wore gloves and a mask, but it's not something I would do again.

I worked at a craft store for 9 years, and you wouldn't believe the stuff that all got thrown into the compactor together.

I store my spent etchant, periodically letting the water evaporate out of it. Then when I have enough to warrant a trip to the Special Chemicals drop-off point, I write what they are directly on the containers and take them in.

Vespertilion
08-16-2011, 06:44 AM
Little bit of color to coordinate with her book cover, and they're done.

http://i1193.photobucket.com/albums/aa344/CloviaShaw/gretchfinal1-1.jpg


The shape was a pain to cut out--I broke a few sawblades being impatient, and wasn't as precise as I'd have liked. But I can sell the scrap silver to a caster, or keep it for any casting classes I might attend in the future.



ETA: Also, frimble, I forgot to ask--is there a website or anything with pics of your ceramic pieces?

Filigree
08-17-2011, 06:57 AM
Clovia, these are lovely!

frimble3
08-18-2011, 12:19 PM
ETA: Also, frimble, I forgot to ask--is there a website or anything with pics of your ceramic pieces?
'Fraid not, it was in the 'olden days'. I might have a couple of actual non-digital photos around, I can look.
And, in the interests of total honesty, they weren't 'my' ceramic pieces, they were commercial stuff - dishes, animals, that I de-glossed and painted. Not having a kiln, it was non-fired paint, they were purely decorative experiments. Chiefly horses, I was in my 'model horse showing' phase, and was branching out from plastic horses.

Vespertilion
06-24-2012, 07:59 AM
Fun with pen nibs :) I wanted an Evil Eye charm for my writing, so I did a little upstart crow with labradorite pitcher-stones hanging from his beak.

http://i1193.photobucket.com/albums/aa344/CloviaShaw/2012-05-25184943.jpg

And I just did this larger one for a friend. The eyeball cracks me up.

http://i1193.photobucket.com/albums/aa344/CloviaShaw/2012-06-23210205.jpg




On a different note, has anyone ever used resin to make a "stone"? I need to make a necklace for a friend's debut giveaways, and I think resin/epoxy is the way to go. Is it super finicky?

stephl
07-21-2012, 05:11 PM
Here's my first project with the fruits of the dapping cube.

http://i1193.photobucket.com/albums/aa344/CloviaShaw/DysFinalAW.jpg

I used the domed discs to cover the snaps, as well as the two decorative ones flanking the centerpieces. The leather is cut from a belt, and split down the center to get the width I needed.
I love your jewelry! That is so amazing that you learned all on your own. I dabble in crafts once in awhile too, mostly in the winter (I hate the cold!). I became intersted in making polymer clay jewelry about year ago, when I was for a new and interesting craft to learn. I enjoy learning on my own, so I did. I don't sell a lot of my items, but to be honest, I don't really try to. It is mostly a fun hobby for me. Again, love your work! Godd luck and welcome. I'm new to this community too.

Vespertilion
07-22-2012, 10:43 AM
Hi stephl, welcome to AW!

Thanks for your kind words, I hope to see some of your projects :)