How to Make Broken-China Jewelry
Low-temp soldering (or “soft soldering”) has been a popular jewelry-making technique for a while now, so it’s no surprise that Laura Beth Love’s low-temp soldering ebook, Soldered Alchemy, was much anticipated and very popular when it was released. Now there is even more good news for fans of low-temp soldering! Laura has created a low-temp soldering video tutorial, Make Vintage and Upcycled Jewelry: Dishfunctional Plate Necklace. This video also happens to be one of the most helpful and comprehensive low-temp soldering tutorials we’ve seen thus far.
How to Make Broken-China Jewelry
In the new video, Laura shares:
- How to safely cut and prepare a piece of a plate.
- How to wrap it in copper foil.
- And how to use a soldering iron to apply the low-temp “soft” solder for a type of bezel.
She shows how to use the low-temp solder to attach jump rings to the piece of china, the chain and clasp to turn it into a beautiful necklace. Laura demonstrates how to manipulate the temperature of the iron and the wire to create decorative solder droplets. She covers each step and supply in detail including how to use a soldering iron, which is the most important tool in this process. As Laura explains in the video, you’ll use a soldering iron like those used for making stained glass.
Laura recommends using a soldering iron of at least 100 watts with a separate rheostat—though some soldering irons have a rheostat built in. The rheostat controls the electrical current. This allows you to adjust the temperature of your soldering iron to suit your needs and create the best finish in the low-temp solder.
There are a few other materials you’ll need to complete this soldering china jewelry project. First, you’ll need a specific type of solder to work with. Soft solder is a silver alloy that melts at a low temperature. You’ll also need lead-free, low-temp soft solder wire to make soft-soldered jewelry. Soft solder can be shaped and moved with the soldering iron similar to applying paint on a canvas. This forms a bezel around an object, such as a piece of a plate or broken china.
Different Type of Soldering
This technique is very different from the common type of soldering used for jewelry making. You don’t use a torch for this type of soldering, so there is no flame. Also, the soldering wire is a different type of wire than traditional wire solder. Another way it’s different is that low-temp soft soldering allows you to work with materials that would burn or melt under a torch flame. This includes crystals, lace or paper that has been sandwiched between glass, beach glass, wood, pebbles or a number of other found objects.
There are so many meaningful ways to use broken china in jewelry. Spot a pretty but chipped teacup or saucer at a flea market? Rescue it and give it new life as a focal piece in upcycled china jewelry. Fallen in love with a china pattern that’s beyond your budget? Buy a small, affordable piece, and turn it into jewelry you can enjoy. Someone broke a piece of Grandma’s china? Turn the pieces into necklaces or other jewelry for the family. You can turn a broken heirloom dish into heirloom jewelry with Laura’s low-temp soldering technique. Once you’ve mastered the basic technique, you can use it to create all types of broken china jewelry!
Order Laura Beth Love’s new instantly, Make Vintage and Upcycled Jewelry, to see all the steps for this fun and helpful soldering tutorial. After just one viewing, you’ll be making soft-solder or low-temp soldered jewelry in no time!