5 Free Cold Connection Jewelry Projects: How to Rivet Jewelry and More
I’ve been thinking about and using cold connections more and more lately and now, voila! We’ve just released of our newest free eBook, 5 Free Cold Connection Jewelry Projects: How to Rivet Jewelry and More. What’s been on my mind about cold connections is that they’re not just for folks who don’t solder, they’re not a lesser way of making metal jewelry or metalsmithing, they’re just a different way.
“Whether you’re new to making jewelry with metals and haven’t yet mastered soldering, or are an old hand at the bench but love the rugged, handwrought feel that jewelry rivets and wire connections lend to your designs, you’ll love the sampling of cold connection jewelry projects in this free eBook,” writes Merle White, editorial director and editor-in-chief of Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist magazine. It’s that handwrought feel that draws me to cold-connected jewelry, as if being able to see the connections and how the pieces are put together shares the secret of their creation and validates them as made entirely by hands instead of machines.
What are Cold Connections?
I have to admit, before I began my fun job as the editor of Interweave, I’d never heard of cold connections, or rather, I’d never heard them grouped together under that term, though I was familiar with the actual pieces themselves: rivets, brads, screws, and such. But there’s more to cold connections than just those that first come to mind. Technically, cold connections are any links or connectors between two pieces in your jewelry designs that don’t involve heat or soldering. So cold connections also include things like tabs with slots and some kinds of folds; even wire wraps and loops can be cold connections.
In the craft world, the term “cold connections” usually describes mechanical joining techniques that are used to fasten together parts that cannot be soldered (which is a “hot” connection). This doesn’t mean, however, that cold connection jewelry is just an alternative for jewelry artists who don’t want to use a torch. Connections usually include but aren’t limited to rivets, tabs, screws, and knots. It’s worth noting that prongs and bezels also belong in the cold connection category. No heat can actually mean more design possibilities, because cold connection jewelry allows the joining of materials that might not be able to withstand the heat of soldering.
Easiest Cold Connection Jewelry: Brads
During my metal class at Bead Fest with Mary Hettmansperger was the first time I’d used brads in jewelry. I’ve used them for years in scrapbooking and paper crafts, but possibly because I’d never used metals other than silver, gold, and copper in jewelry until the past year or two, I never thought of using brads that are made of base metals, brass, copper, pewter, etc. But now! Now I play with copper and brass pretty often, and use so many found objects and vintage filigree pieces made of who-knows-what metal, I don’t feel like I’m diluting the “good” metal when I use who-knows-what metal brads. Plus, they’re inexpensive and soooo easy! Just punch holes in your pieces (if they don’t have holes already), insert the brads, spread the back tabs, and you’re done. Brads are ideal if you’re using layers of metal, metal shapes and blanks, filigree, or mixing fabric or fibers in stacks with metal, especially if the back will be hidden by gluing or soldering the stacked piece onto a back piece. Then no one will even see the back tabs and know it's a brad.
Class tip from Mary: Tap the head of a brad (once it’s secured in place) with the tip of a riveting hammer once or twice to give it more of that handwrought, metalsmithed sort of look.
5 Free Cold-Connection Jewelry Projects
To learn more about other cold connections and to try them out in five free cold-connected jewelry projects, download 5 Free Cold Connection Jewelry Projects. I’m really impressed with the high style and artisan quality of these cold-connection jewelry projects that the Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist editors and experts provided:
Jewelry Riveting Project
Forged Hearts by Linda Larsen
Forge five rustic bronze hearts and rivet them together into a textured necklace with character and movement. Linda Larson discovered a passion for forging and enjoys shaping and moving metal and discovering all the shapes you can forge it into. She was inspired by Alexander Calder jewelry to make this forged heart necklace.
Cold Connections for Beginners
Sawn Aluminum and Copper Necklace by Helen Driggs
Cut out simple flower shapes from aluminum and copper sheet and connect them with copper wire to create a fun and easy aluminum and copper necklace. The nice thing about aluminum is that it’s easy to saw, soft to forge, and a nice color. In this unique design, Helen combines it with copper for the color contrast. This is an easy project that requires few tools, and is especially good jewelry making for beginners who want to put their newfound sawing skills to use. The dapping block will help you forge the flowers into 3D, and the spirals and forged copper wires that join them together might remind you of tendrils and leaves. Make as many units as you like — and feel free to try other metals after you’ve got the hang of cutting out the tight curves and sharp points of the petals.
How to Rivet Copper with Silver
Bodacious Copper Bangle by Kim St. Jean
Never having worked with this heavy gauge wire, Kim ran into several roadblocks. When she removed the tape holding the coil together, it jumped out at her like a striking cobra. Coming away from that unscathed, she had to figure out how to cut it. Out came the jeweler’s saw. While she wrestled the tail end of the copper wire and tried to saw the perfect bangle length, she knew there had to be a better way. One huge pair of cable cutters later, this was the beginning of the Bodacious Copper Bangle.
How to Do Mokume Gane
Mokume Gane Pendant by Roger Halas
Looking for something that will take advantage of intermediate metalsmithing skills? Use premade mokume sheet to create a heart pendant set with a luscious red faceted gem, and add an extra hands-on touch by riveting your silver bail to your pendant.
How to Make a Locket
Swivel Locket by Nanz Aalund
Be careful who you let open this locket — many people will try to pry it open as if it were a book without knowing any better. This swivel style locket is considered nontraditional because the hinge is a tube rivet. The single tube rivet hinge at the top of the locket lets it open in a sideways swivel instead. Nanz used roll-printed metal, but you can use letter stamped, hammered, or etched metal to enhance your piece. The major difficulty when using textured metal is having solder flow into the texture and ruining it. So, here you’ll learn a way to use bezel wire and a cold connected stone setting to eliminate this difficulty.
Whatever your skill level, learn expert techniques from these free stunning cold connection and riveting jewelry projects. Get ready to put your bench blocks, hammers, cutters, pliers and more to use now and make any or all of these five fabulous jewelry designs that all take advantage of cold connections.
What are you waiting for? I bet you have all the tools you need to complete some or all of these projects, already on your bench, so download 5 Free Cold Connection Jewelry Projects: How to Rivet Jewelry and More and get started now!