Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Enamel Jewelry

We love, love, love enamel jewelry. We love to make copper, sterling and gold enamel jewelry and we like to make enamel on glass jewelry.

This blog post highlights tutorials explaining how to create your own enamel on metal jewelry:

Monday, April 12, 2010

Jewelry Cleaning Tips

If you make jewelry, sooner or later someone is going to ask you the question: What is your favorite methods for jewelry cleaning? There are a lot of chemicals that can be used for jewelry cleaning, but we like to keep our jewelry clean being mindful of the environment. Following are tutorials explaining how to keep you hand made jewelry clean without using harsh, environmentally taxing chemicals:

The best way to keep sterling silver or copper clean is to keep it from tarnishing in the first place. This tutorials recommends how to prevent tarnish on your sterling and copper jewelry:

Friday, April 9, 2010

Soldering Tips for Jewelry Makers

One of my professors, I can not remember who, told us that learning to solder is really to gain the keys to the jewelry making kingdom. You can create beautiful jewelry without ever soldering, but if you learn how to solder you will really improve the range of projects you can create.

Before you begin soldering you will need to purchase the correct equipment and then prepare your metal. These tutorials will explain How to Prepare Metal for Jewelry Soldering and How to Make Pickle  to remove firescale caused by soldering.

You can use a number of different torches or gases to solder. When you speak with metalsmiths they are often passionate about their own choice. I have used many, many different torches and gases when taking courses and teaching at a variety of schools and workshops. For beginners, a butane soldering torch is a good low cost item. You may decide you love soldering and want to go on and purchase more expensive, "professional" equipment later; but until you decide this is for you and you love soldering, a butane torch is a piece of starter equipment. This tutorial will explain How to Solder Using a Small Butane Torch.

If you run into problems when soldering, then it is a good idea to begin by checking the basics. This tutorial explains How to Correct Soldering Problems when Jewelry Making.

Most butane torches are self igniting. If you purchase a torch that is not self igniting, you will need to know  How to Light a Torch.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Metal Clay Tips & Tutorials

We get asked a lot of questions about metal clay. The most common question we hear is "what brand of metal clay is better?" For our money, both PMC and Art Clay are terrific products. Deciding which product you prefer is a lot like deciding whether to purchase Coke or Pepsi. We use both.

Most projects in metal clay begin by rolling out the clay. Below is a tutorial that explains an easy technique to roll your clay out even every time:
How to Make a Metal Clay Rolling Frame

Some folks like to alter the texture of the metal clay to make it easier to use. Here are two techniques to do so:
How to Make Lavender Oil Paste for Metal Clay
How to Make Flexible Metal Clay

Sometimes metal clay dries out. It can be reconstituted and used again as paste. Here is how:
How to Reconstitute Dried Out Metal Clay

There are a number of ways to set stones in metal clay. Here are some stone setting tutorials:
How to Prong Set Gemstones and Glass in Metal Clay
How to Make a Metal Clay Bezel Setting (Using the Coil Method)
How to Set Glass in Metal Clay (Using the Captured Stone Method)

Here we have some stone setting slide shows:
Making Tabs In Metal Clay to Set Stones and Glass
Make Your Own Metal Clay and Fused Glass Bezel Set Pendant
Make Your Own Bezel Setting (with Metal Clay and Fine Silver)
Make Your Own Coil Set Metal Clay Pendant
Make Your Own Prong Set Metal Clay Pendant

Metal clay is great for making custom clasps. There are numerous types of clasps and a lot of ways to make clasps. Here are some tutorials containing metal clay clasp making techniques:
How to Make a Metal Clay Toggle Clasp
How to Make a Metal Clay Hook and Eye Clasp
How to Make a Fancy "S" Clasp out of Metal Clay

Folks like to add color to metal clay. You can use resin, enamel and colored pencils to add color (and we will cover those techniques in a future blog entry). Here is an easy technique to add color to your metal clay designs using ceramic decals:
How to Use Ceramic Decals on Metal Clay

Finally, metal clay is all about texture, sculpting and molding. Texture can be found everywhere and molds are easy to make. These tutorials explain how to collect texture for use in metal clay as well as how to create metal clay duplicates:
How to Create Polymer Clay Molds
How to Use Polymer Clay Molds
Just be sure to use olive oil rather than corn starch when using polymer clay molds with metal clay.

Enjoy playing with metal clay!