Favorite Project of the Week: Climbing WHAT Earrings

I hate bugs! No, I mean . . . I REALLY hate bugs. Like phobia-level hate. When I was a kid, I made my Dad check my bedroom every night and kill every bug, real or imaginary. (And there were a lot of imaginary bugs in my room.) So why would I ever pick a pair of earrings that looks like ants(!) as one of my favorite projects? Because they’re just so very cool!

Betsy Lehndorff’s Climbing What Earrings from the March 2016 issue of Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist are really spectacular. They’re actually part of a series of pieces that Betsy created using ants as the basis for her designs. And they’re deceptively simple to make. They use just sterling silver wire and sterling silver shot. It’s also a great project for practice your soldering techniques. And if you have a bug phobia, these earrings could be great therapy! I know I can look at them without shuddering at all now.

Betsy Lehndorff Climbing What Earrings Sterling silver wire, sterling silver shot, sterling silver ear posts PHOTO: JIM LAWSON

Betsy Lehndorff Climbing What Earrings Sterling silver wire, sterling silver shot, sterling silver ear posts PHOTO: JIM LAWSON

  • They’re ants! You’ll have ants climbing your ears. How cool is that?
  • The earrings are simple to make but look extremely complex.
  • You can practice and hone your soldering techniques – by creating bugs!
  • Make jewelry AND get over your phobia. Win/win!

Have fun, but don’t get bugged out.

Project Details
Required Materials:

  • 1 ounce of sterling silver casting shot
  • 18 inches of 20 gauge sterling silver wire
  • 6 inches of 22 gauge sterling silver wire
  • 1 pair of sterling silver posts with ear nuts
  • Hard and medium solder in wire form

Required Tools:

  • HAND AND FABRICATION: magnification or safety glasses, bench pin, ring vise, saw and 0/4 blades, needle files, a dozen Moore’s ¾” medium and fine grit sanding disks and mandrel, wire cutters, fine-tipped needle nose pliers, jewelry pliers, bench block, hammer.
  • SOLDERING: Double canister face mask, small handheld Blazer torch, brand new soft-grade Solderite board, bezel burnisher, solder pick, fine tweezers, soldering tweezers, solder stop (a sealed jar of yellow ocher mixed into a paste with alcohol), small brush, Prip’s Flux in small spray bottle, water for quenching, pickle, copper tongs, toothbrush and hot soapy water.
  • EQUIPMENT: Flexible shaft, shotfilled tumbler with burnishing liquid

Required skills: Metalsmithing, soldering


Make your own ant earrings today!

 

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