Fun with Soldering, Plus an Online Gallery

It's actually not that difficult to work a soldering iron. (But as you can see from my uneven example, it does take practice!) It's also fun! It's almost Harry Potter-esque how the solder seems to leap up magically onto the iron. I used copper tape to wrap the pendant and then soldered over the tape. It looked great—trust me—until I noticed a few microscopic problems and I tried to fix them by going back over those places again. Instead of looking better, it started to look worse! So, lesson one: know when to walk away.

The second lesson: your science teacher was right—glass is an excellent conductor of heat. Use a tool (I used a clothespin, except for one time when I forgot—ouch!) to hold the pendant while you work, not your fingers.

My first soldered pendant

By the way, the embroidered scrap under the glass is a practice piece I made when taking an embroidery class from Melinda Barta (author of Hip to Stitch). I had cut the fabric just a wee bit small for the button cover I was making, but it was the perfect size for a pendant. It's definite proof (lesson three?) that nothing is ever wasted. 

Lisa Hjelme's jewelry

I asked Beading Daily readers to send me examples of their own soldered jewelry. One of the first people I heard from was Lisa Hjelme in Norway, who graciously agreed to translate the Norwegian text on her website for me. I was also amazed by Angie Simonsen's soldered pendant, her very first one. (Some people are just naturals!) I hope you enjoy the gallery as much as I did. There's an incredible amount of talent on Beading Daily.

If you're interested in experimenting with small soldering projects, check out the brief article on mini torches ("Playing with Fire") that comes to us courtesy of Step by Step Wire Jewelry. You might also enjoy the Complete Guide to Jewelry Soldering.  And don't forget to download this week's featured project from Beadwork, the Shining Example Necklace! 

Michelle Mach is the editor of Beading Daily. She's finishing up the Faerie Queen Cuff (a future Beading Daily project) this weekend and promises to pick up all the seed beads that mysteriously found their way into the sofa during the construction of this bracelet!


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