Jewelry Making: Holiday Gifts and How to Put Them to Good Use

The holidays are winding down, our gifts made and gifted, the decorations being packed away. Now, we can get back to creating and making use of the gifts we received. For jewelry makers, that often means new jewelry making tools! Not sure exactly what to do with your great new tools? Our team is here to help!

Karla Shares: Where to turn for Disk Cutter and Dapping Block

Jewelry making with disc cutter and a dapping block

If you were lucky over the holidays, among your gifts was my very favorite tool — a disk cutter. The day I received this awesome tool was one of the happiest days of my life. (Yes, I’m easily pleased.) I could finally make perfect circles! And my jewelry-making technique repertoire increased exponentially. I love to rivet, and I discovered the joys of riveting circles to squares, and circles to rectangles, and circles to . . . well . . . more circles. The disk cutter pictured is my first one. Oh, it’s the simplest, most basic version, but it’s perfect for learning to make disks.

And of course, if you were VERY lucky over the holidays, you also got a dapping block and dapping stakes to go with your disk cutter. Are you bored with simple disks? Dap ‘em! You can make your little (and big) circles into gorgeous domes. There are also dapping blocks with which you can make assorted shapes. I absolutely love my star-shaped dapping blocks. Yeah, it took me a while to get the technique down pat, but I celebrated the first time I made a perfect star. (Told you I’m easily pleased.)

As you explore your new disk cutter and dapping block, there are a ton of resources to help you perfect your techniques and learn to apply them to your own designs. Metalsmithing Made Easy: A Practical Guide to Cold Connections, Simple Soldering, Stone Setting, and More by Kate Richbourg, is one of my favorite books. It taught me a lot and provided lots of inspiration for my designs.

If you’re a visual learner, the downloadable video of Kim St. Jean’s Domed Paddle Earrings project is a fantastic way to practice dapping and doming. You can make the earrings and then apply the techniques to your own designs.

In addition, one of my favorite resources for cutting, dapping, and doming — in fact, for every jewelry-making technique you can think of — is Helen Driggs’s book, The Jewelry Maker’s Field Guide. It contains great advice to get you started using any new tool you may have!

Kerry Bogert Inspires With: Metal Stamping Tools

Metal stamps and jewelry making

Did Santa stuff your stockings with stamps? If so, you need to try mandala stamping! It’s the latest craze in the stamped jewelry world and it’s all due to the gorgeous work of Lisa Niven Kelly and Taryn McCabe. In their book, New Stamped Metal Jewelry, this dynamic duo shows you step-by-step (or rather stamp-by-stamp) how to create stamped mandalas. Plus, they have several projects in the book that feature them in unique ways. You can make earrings, pendants, rings, or bracelets. The possibilities are endless! It’s a technique you can do with alphabet stamps or any of the stamp designs you were gifted.

If you’re just getting started with stamping, we have some great resources for you to check out while you wait for your book to arrive. First, get off on the right foot by reviewing Lisa and Taryn’s 6 Tips for Better Metal Stamping. Knowing how to hold the hammer and the stamp is going to be important if your goal is a clean, crisp impression. Then, you should probably grab Lisa Niven Kelly’s first book on metal stamping as well. Stamped Metal Jewelry has a lot of solid information for those new to stamping and focuses on customizing your projects. It also includes a video so you can watch all the techniques right on your screen!

Tammy Jones Offers the Following: If you got a torch for Christmas . . .

Torch fired enamel jewelry making.

Lucky you! You must have been very good this year for Santa to bring you a torch. I think my torches are my favorite tools to play/work with in the studio. From micro torches to full oxy-acetylene setups and everything in between, torches are essential to many metalsmithing tasks. You can use your new torch for annealing, heat patina, soldering, fusing, and brazing–plus torch-fired enameling and, possibly my favorite, torch firing metal clay.

So, if you were lucky enough to be gifted a new torch this year, we’d love to help you put it to good use! I use my micro torch for heat patina, small soldering, fusing, and torch-firing metal clay. For larger soldering jobs, torch-fired enameling, and annealing, I usually use a larger torch. No matter which torch you have, you can learn all these techniques with products I chose for your new adventure:

Since I learned to solder with Lexi in her studio, I’ve always recommended that as the best possible scenario. The next best way to learn soldering is one of her incredibly informative, five-star-rated soldering videos, beginning with How to Solder Jewelry, Vols 1 and 2. With them, you’ll learn anything you need to know about soldering, and Lexi has advanced soldering videos when you’re ready.

I loved my introduction to the colorful world of enamel jewelry through Barbara Lewis’s Torch-Fired Enamel Jewelry book (she also made the Torch-Fired Enamel Basics video, if you prefer to learn that way).

Some metal clay jewelry can be torch fired, and you can learn all about that with Darlene Armstrong’s Getting Started Precious Metal Clay Series. Start with the five-star-rated Torch Firing PMC Introduction to get the basics. Then move forward with her other courses to learn intermediate metal-clay techniques, all fired with an easy-to-use micro torch!

Pro tip: Micro torches also make excellent roasted marshmallows.


Please share with us your favorite jewelry-making gifts and then what you plan to make with them. We’d love to hear from you and keep the conversation flowing.

Happy 2018 from all of us at Interweave!
Tammy Honaman

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