Easy Metal Jewelry Making: 8 Tips for Making Metal Jewelry from Denise Peck, Plus a Free Micro Torch!
I affectionately call Denise Peck, editor in chief of Step-by-Step Wire Jewelry Magazine, the Queen of Wire for obvious reasons. But what might be less obvious is that she’s a pro at metal jewelry making as well as wire, having been trained as a bench jeweler at Studio Jewelers Ltd. in New York City, authoring several metal and wire jewelry-making books, and hosting several metalsmithing videos. So she’s the Queen of Metal, too! Here’s proof, in eight of the many metal jewelry-making tips I’ve learned from Denise’s books and videos.
- You’ve probably heard that the hottest part of a torch flame is at the tip of the blue cone inside the larger orange flame. But did you know that refueling the torch before each use ensures that you will have the hottest flame? It’s also the best way to keep your torch from running out of fuel in the middle of a task–such as just when your solder is about to flow. So frustrating!
- When adding liver of sulfur (LOS) patina to your metal or wire jewelry designs, you might assume that the longer you leave the metal in the solution, the darker it will get. But that’s not always the case! Dipping your metal or wire into the LOS solution, rinsing, and repeatedly dipping into LOS and rinsing is the best way to control the patina.
- Trying to stamp or hammer on a small piece of metal without smashing your fingers or having the metal go flying off to places unknown? Use transparent tape to secure your metal to the steel bench block.
- We usually use a 1-pound brass hammer for metal stamping, but if you have a particularly ornate stamp, or are having trouble getting a good deep impression of any stamp, up the power to a 2-pound brass hammer. The added weight of a 2-pound brass hammer will create added force and pressure on the stamp, creating a better impression on your metal.
- Making lots of jewelry in your studio at one time? You can use an electric mug warmer to keep your LOS solution warm and active to keep using it while you work. [I do the same thing with pickle; I use a heat-safe soup mug that came with a lid and keep it warm on a mug warmer while I work. When I turn it on, I put the clean lid in the doorway floor of my studio, so that I don’t leave without making sure I’ve turned the pickle pot off and put the lid back on it to prevent evaporation.]
- “Before tumbling,” Denise writes, “clean your oxidized jewelry with a polishing cloth or fine steel wool to remove some of the blackening agent. Otherwise, the tumbling will just shine the blackened color into a gunmetal appearance rather than an antiqued appearance with polished highlights.” And now you know how to create a gunmetal effect on silver, too!
- If you’re unhappy with a flame patina you’ve created on copper, drop it in a pickle pot for a few minutes or clean it with Penny Brite, rinse, dry, and try again. Both the pickle and Penny Brite will return copper to its bare state, creating a clean slate for you to try again.
- Did you know you can create a heat patina on copper in the oven? Place clean copper pieces on a cookie sheet in a 300°F oven for about 17 minutes, but check after about 10 minutes and frequently thereafter, until you’ve reached the desired color. As with any heat patina, seal with a protective coating.
Lots of good info there, right? Denise knows her stuff. You can learn more about making easy metal jewelry from her in our new Easy Metal Jewelry Making Collection with Denise Peck. It’s packed with some of Denise’s best work, including three books (Handcrafted Metal Findings, Handcrafted Wire Findings, and Wire + Metal) plus a video download, Metalwork: Making Bezels with a Micro Torch (preview the video).
And here’s some great news: If you treat yourself to the Easy Metal Jewelry Making Collection with Denise Peck, you’ll receive a free micro torch! Your free gift from us, the popular Max Flame butane micro torch (valued at $37.95) is ideal for making easy metal and wire jewelry at home, even in small spaces, and is often named a favorite by many of our top authors and expert instructors. Don’t miss your chance to get one free when you grab this collection of great metal jewelry-making resources!