Celebrate Our 6th Anniversary with Our Top Six Blogs: Metalsmithing, Soldering, Polymer Clay & More Jewelry Making
We’ve been celebrating our 6th anniversary all month long, and it has prompted me to look back at our most popular topics through those six years. Take a look at them with me, won’t you?
I couldn’t be more pleased that during our first year, my silver flower ring tutorial was our most popular blog. I got numerous emails and comments about it, and I love knowing that folks are making my ring (or their own versions, in pendants, earrings, and charms). It was my first project while learning metalsmithing and soldering with Lexi, and it was pretty labor intensive for a newbie. I learned so much during that process, but requests for orders have led me to find an easier way to make it. I buy my silver in 1-1/4″ wide strips. It’s quicker and easier to cut the flowers using metal shears, which lowers labor costs and allows me to sell them for a more reasonable price. Because I start with narrow strips of metal, only tiny bits are leftover; they’re easily melted into balls for the center, eliminating waste almost entirely. I also realized I could use less expensive, thinner-gauge silver sheet, since the top two layers are supported entirely by the bottom layer. I love this ring and still wear it every day.
Year two’s blockbuster blog was all about wire, with Step-by-Step Wire Jewelry editor Denise Peck’s article on how to properly and professionally finish wire jewelry, particularly ear wires. “Readers of Step-by-Step Wire Jewelry are the first to write to me to point out any sloppy work that got through our editing process,” Denise writes. “It’s given me a whole new appreciation for meticulousness. And, it’s made me just a wee embarrassed about some of my earlier work! Now I still work fast, but I make sure I’ve done the few little things that mean the difference between good and great wire jewelry making.”
Speaking of ear wires, our third year’s most popular blog was our wire Tip of the Year, which was actually an ear wire tutorial. You guys loved the brilliant, quick-and-easy way to make perfectly matched ear wires that our friend Eleanore Macnish shared with us. Grab some wires, a marker, and some wire cutters and make a million pairs of these ear wires right away–then you’ll be inspired to make earrings in all kinds of fun ways!
Our fourth year was big on the micro torch, and our friend Kate Richbourg’s guest blog introduction to micro torches was the year’s most popular post. “Micro torches make creating simple soldered jewelry a breeze,” Kate writes. “Using a butane micro torch can be intimidating to the novice (or even to the jewelry maker that uses a traditional jeweler’s torch and tank setup), so my goal is to share some tips and tricks to banish those ‘scary moments’ and get you up and torching in no time.” She did just that, with her detailed explanation on when to use each of her favorite butane torches (Blazer and Max Flame) as well as how to fill and use micro torches for simple soldering.
When we turned five, we put metal and wire on the shelf briefly, and our most popular blog for the year was about polymer clay, beyond the basics. I’m not at all surprised; polymer clay is such a fun, affordable, versatile jewelry-making material, plus it doesn’t require a lot of expensive tools and you can get clay at nearly any craft store. It can mimic gemstones, metal, enamel, other jewelry-making supplies like wood, found objects, and more. It also takes image transfers like a dream. If you haven’t tried polymer clay jewelry making yet, I highly recommend it!
For our sixth and most recent year, we returned to metal and went crazy for an older blog that shared an even older Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist magazine broom casting tutorial by Brad Smith. It’s such a fun, interesting technique that results in equally interesting, organic metal pieces that you can build on or combine to create larger jewelry designs. If you’re up for the randomness and uncertainty of what the broom will give you, give it a try! All kinds of casting are fun ways to add a new approach to your metal work.
Gosh, y’all, we’ve had a bunch of fun in these past six years! I want to thank each of you for joining us on this fun journey. We’ve learned so much together and from each other! And if there’s more you’re itching to learn, there’s no better time to do it. Take advantage of the Jewelry Making Daily 6th Anniversary Sale and save 50% on magazines, but this sale ends tonight. So you can learn to solder, make earrings, create wire jewelry, fabricate metal jewelry, and much more–for half price! It’s a great time to get inspiring, instructional magazines that you might’ve missed. They’re all evergreen and ready to teach you both timeless and trendy, essential and exciting jewelry-making techniques.