Jewelry Making, Metal Style: 5 Tips for Doming Metal

Have you heard that expression, "I wish I had a nickel for every time I've . . ." something-or-other? After five hours driving through a particularly boring state during a recent road trip, my mom said she wished she had a nickel for every tree we'd passed. Now I'm thinking "me too!" because we're spending this week in Chicago on Michigan Avenue, and I could sure put all those nickels to good use! Tiffany & Co., Cartier, Harry Winston. . . .

 
Found Object Sandwich Ring from Metal Style
 

But I digress. I was going to say, I wish I had a nickel for every time I've heard, "Cold connections are hot!" because they totally are all the buzz. Karen Dougherty's new book Metal Style features twenty step-by-step found-object jewelry-making projects that utilize cold-join techniques such as rivets, screws, tabs/hinges, and wirework, designed by Karen and other jewelry artists like Robert Dancik, Connie Fox, Tracy Stanley, and Lisa Niven Kelly.

Metal Style takes you all the way from tool introductions and safety through specific metalwork techniques and inspiring one-of-a-kind metal jewelry projects–making it a complete cold-connection (cold-join) jewelry-making resource. The author also includes bonus technique spotlights to help enhance your cold-connection metalworking, which cover topics including creating patina on copper, making sterling silver balled headpins, using resin, work-hardening metal, and etching on alternative metals such as copper, brass, and nickel silver.

Here's a sample of the bonus technique spotlights from Metal Style

 
Riveted Flower Ring (with domed petals) from Metal Style
 

Doming Metal
Use a dapping block and punches to make domed effects in your jewelry designs. There are a few things to keep in mind when you're doming metals. Reverse this technique for a textured-side-up cup shape.

1. When possible, work with annealed or soft metal.

2. Use a large leather hammer for best results, if you have one, and try to get your dome to form with one forceful blow of the hammer.

3. Drill your holes before you punch. They will distort slightly, so it's a good idea to drill them a bit smaller and file them round or ream them out after you've completed the doming process.

4. For precision domes, start with a punch that measures slightly smaller than your die (or dome) shape. Successively punch your metal with larger punches to achieve the desired dome shape.

5. If you're doming textured metal, it will flatten out a bit as you work it into a domed shape. If you're texturing the metal yourself, you might want to create deep textures, to allow for the flattening effect. Also keep in mind that you need to put the textured side of the disc facedown into your die if you want your texture on the outside of the dome.

Get your copy of Metal Style and get in on the hot cold-connections jewelry-making trend! In addition to doming metal and making jewelry connections without flame, heat, or solder, you'll also find step-by-step instructions, techniques, and tips for sawing, drilling, and riveting metal. It's worth every nickel.

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