How to Make Artistic Metal Jewelry: 5 Steps to Start Now

Kristal Wick Do you dream of rivets, eyelets and chisels (Oh MY!)? Never thought I would until I took Susan Lenart Kazmer’s class on metalwork cold connections, thus changing my dreamland forevermore. I slid into metal jewelry making in the usual way. First, I did some basic wireworking. Then I began incorporating chain and jump rings into my jewelry designs. Finally, I moved into that universe of possibilities called metal clay. Next step . . . (drum roll, please): metal fabrication (you know, the jewelry making that requires serious tools, such as saws and torches).

But wait. Let me share with you the steps I took to slide into metalworking, using sheet metal, wire, and a few other goodies:

Step 1-Stamp on It:
I loved stamping my favorite words on silver blanks (“Breathe” is my #1, because I forget to sometimes!). You can personalize each blank with special words and patterns for family and friends. Of course you can also make some extras to sell!

Step 2-Hammer It:
Nothing FEELS better than hammering after a long week of work or a day at home with the kids! You can create lots of hammered textured strips of different types of metals and designs. Then color them with a black permanent marker and rub off the top layer with a polishing cloth so the deep crevasses, nooks, and crannies stay black. Great for embellishing layered jewelry or altered books.

Step 3-Punch a Hole in It:
Holes make all things possible! Add a textured dangle here, one there, layer with another type of metal, slip all the holes on a decorative jump ring and call it FAB! All my buds went ga-ga over this type of organic jewelry and I went crazy over stacking layers of metals with an inspirational word on top. Very fun and highly addictive!

Step 4-Rivet It:
I explored so many types of riveting techniques in Susan Lenart Kazmer's class. My favorite way of learning is by taking hands on classes from the masters! I still have a box full of rivets just waiting to be born (so to speak!). They're quick, easy, and the strongest way to attach a pendant or dangle.

Step 5-Solder It:
I first learned soldering in my stained glass world many moons ago. I wanted to scale down the designs to a "wearable" size and sandwiched my handpainted silks between two bevels. I used some wicked decorative soldering techniques on the foiled seams, and called it a pendant. Each one was different and really creative to make.

These were my "basics" in the metals world. Now it’s time for me to move onto some more advanced techniques. Try these 5 easy steps yourself (if you haven’t already) and join me at the starting point for making artistic metal jewelry.

Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist provides so many places to jump in and begin, depending on your style, taste, and interests. For me, tools have been and continue to be the entry point. You simply couldn’t ask for a better tour guide than “Tool Girl” Editor Helen Driggs and her column, Cool Tools & Hip Tips. She takes you by the hand and generously explains what these mystical metalworking tools are used for, what kind of results you can achieve, and what are the latest and greatest tools in the market.

Subscribe today and soon you’ll be making the rivets, eyelets, and chisels of your dreams!

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