Thursday, 21 April 2016

A Recent Custom Order And New Stuff

handmade copper and sterling silver spiral pendant © 2016 cinnamon jewellery

I was asked by a customer recently if I made copper pendants and if so could I make a spiral pendant for her. My customer wanted the pendant to match the bangles she'd bought from me a few weeks previously.
Of course I said yes! There is a distinct lack of pendants in my Etsy shop and on my website at the moment due mainly to lack of time. They are something I enjoy making but always seem to get pushed to the back of the queue when I decide to make new items - I'll always favour earrings if I have the choice.

So it was quite nice to make a pendant for a change. My customer wanted a spiral design in copper using the same gauge wire as the bangles with some silver wire coils and twists and a thick black leather necklace to hang it from.

I had a bit of a practice with copper wire to get the coils and twists spacing right then made the silver wire version, soldering the coils in place once I'd finished the wrapping. I added a sterling silver bail and oxidized everything. I found a really nice quality black leather necklace with sterling silver fastener on ebay to complete the pendant.
I'm pleased to report my customer was very happy with it :D

copper and silver spiral pendant © 2016 Cinnamon Jewellery

New Earrings
I'm on a mission at the moment to get as much new jewellery made as possible to replace items that sold over Christmas and the beginning of the year. I started with studs in sterling silver, bronze and copper, mostly using textured metal. I'm definitely going through a circle phase at the mo!

handmade stud earrings and bronze earrings © 2016 Cinnamon Jewellery

I also made a pair of bronze and copper formed earrings. I added a convex curve to the bronze squares and copper ovals as I find it a really pleasing shape for earrings.

I added an art nouveau style rose pattern to the bronze earrings {top left} using a Vintaj texture plate that I pulled apart and trimmed so I could use it with my rolling mill. The design came out really well.

handmade copper, bronze and silver earrings © 2016 Cinnamon Jewellery

The curved copper earrings were also embossed using another Vintaj texture plate that I trimmed to size so it would fit the width of my rolling mill. 

I'd originally used the Vintaj texture plates to add patterns to sheet copper with my Bigshot in 2012 which you can read about in this post -  Embossing Metal With My Sizzix Bigshot

I'm glad I thought to use them with my rolling mill four years later!

copper sheet textured with vintaj texture plate © 2016 Cinnamon Jewellery

© 2016 Cinnamon Jewellery

Copyright © 2016 Cinnamon Jewellery. All rights reserved.

Thursday, 14 April 2016

New Tools - Pendant Frosting Wheels

I succumbed recently. 
Yes anyone who receives emails from jewellery supply company Cookson Gold will know what I'm talking about - daily promotional emails telling of wonderful sales and discounts that are sometimes really hard to ignore ----- 10% off silver sheet and wire/20% off tools/find all the Easter eggs hidden on the website to discover the code you can use to get 15% off your order.......
Most of the time I hit the delete button but sometimes I have to take a quick look on the website just in case......

Which is how I ended up with the flick mops in this photo - or pendant frosting wheel as they are called on Cookson's website . They are used to give metal a satin or matt finish but they could also double up as instruments of torture {must remember that...}

You use them with a Foredom/Dremel or other rotary tool but you do need to be able to control the speed as it's recommended you don't go over 6000 rpm when using them otherwise the metal pins may go flying.

I've found the best way to use them is to hold them so that the ends of the pins just catch the metal as the frosting wheel spins. It's recommended that you wear eye protection when using the wheels. I wear glasses when I'm doing close up stuff which will protect my eyes and I also angle the metal and my flex shaft over to my left side as I'm using the wheels so if any of the pins do flick off they aren't going to give me an unplanned acupuncture session in the face :D

This is the effect they produce on metal.


The texture on copper using the medium wheel.

The texture using the coarse wheel. Pressing a bit harder on the metal with the wheel will give you a slightly different look producing a more scratched texture.
You can go over the area several times to build up the texture and change the direction. You can also tape off areas to produce contrasting textures of satin and smooth metal.
I've also used the satin texture on the backs of earrings as the texture does cover light scratches and I find a textured metal surface much easier to finish than a smooth one especially if you use LOS.

Overall I'm very happy with the frosting wheels and know I will get a lot of use out of them.
A friend recently sent me a link to this very good and very funny YouTube video - When Parents Find Out Their Daughter Makes Jewelry
Please watch it - I guarantee it will make you laugh out loud :D

Copyright © 2015 Cinnamon Jewellery. All rights reserved.

Friday, 1 April 2016

Making A Coin Ring

bronze coin ring © cinnamon jewellery 2016

I've seen plenty of coin rings for sale online and thought I'd have a go at making one. The first thing I needed to do was find some suitable coins. I'd seen some really pretty examples of rings made with coins that have a decorative border around the edge on the front of the coin so I trawled ebay looking for some like this.

I found quite a few and decided to buy a couple of cheap coins I'd use to practice with before buying anything too expensive.
I found these...

A bronze 20 Reis coin from Portugal, a 2 Franc Swiss coin made of nickel silver and a rather lovely silver one Rupee coin from India.

I decided to try out the Portuguese bronze coin first.

First I annealed the coin to soften the metal.

I needed a hole in the coin so I used dividers to draw a circle in the centre of the coin. The dividers slipped a couple of times but any scratches would disappear once I started stretching the coin so I didn't worry too much about them.

I then made a divot inside the circle ready for the drill bit.

Piercing out the circle and tidying up the edges with a file.

After annealing the coin again I used my dapping block, a piece of leather and a nylon dapping punch to start to bend the coin over. This didn't really move the metal that much but it did start it off. I used the leather and the nylon punch so I didn't get any marks on the bronze.

I then slid the coin with the side I wanted as the face of the ring upwards onto a hoop mandrel that I'd fixed in my vice to keep it still. I used a piece of leather to protect the mandrel when it was in the vice.
I then started beating the coin with a leather mallet and a rubber/plastic hammer. The aim was to bend the coin over and down the mandrel so the decorative border was visible on the front of the ring. As I stretched the metal the hole got bigger. I had to anneal the coin several times as I did this.

I struggled for a while wondering why I couldn't get the metal completely flat - one side was higher than the other. Then I realized the outer edge of the coin was thicker than the rest of it so it would never be flat without removing some of the thicker edge.
I can be really slow on the uptake at times :D

You can see the difference in the thickness of the metal on each end in these photos.

The ring after filing off the thick outer edge. It was a shame to sacrifice the pretty beading around the thicker edge but it had to go.

I then sanded the ends to tidy them up and get them level.

At this point the ring had been stretched quite a lot and was a bit too big for my finger. I decided to try a trick I'd seen Soham Harrison use on a ring to curve the ends in and give the ring a slightly domed profile.

I put the ring into a hollow {for want of a better word} on my dapping block and put my steel block on top of it. Then I whacked the steel block with a hammer a few times. This pushed the ring down into the dapping block and forced it to follow the curve of the hollow. I turned the ring round and did the same to the other side.

Curving the ends of the ring inwards reduces the size and gives it a slight synclastic curve which makes a ring more comfortable to wear. I repeated this a couple of times until the ring fit my sausage finger :D

Not bad for a first attempt! I didn't bother to oxidize the bronze as it was just a practice piece and a bit chunky to wear but overall I am happy with it.

I did learn by practicing with the bronze coin that I need a smaller hole to start with otherwise the metal will stretch too much and the ring will end up too big. I'm planning on using the silver rupee coin next time and I'm hoping as silver is softer than bronze it will be slightly easier to form.

Copyright © 2015 Cinnamon Jewellery. All rights reserved.

Thursday, 17 March 2016

A Groovy Shape Copper Bangle And How I Made it

A couple of weeks ago I made these earrings... 

I love this retro-style groovy shape so decided I'd make a bangle using the same sort of shapes.
Here's how I did it together with the moments of enlightenment I had along the way :D

I started with a 20cm long piece of copper which would be stretched when it was put through the rolling mill so would end up plenty long enough for a medium bangle.{Or so I thought....}

I continued with the strange fetish I have for spending a fair amount of time with a scalpel and masking tape in order to get the thin strips I needed for the stripe texture. I rolled the metal through the rolling mill and removed the tape to reveal the stripes.

The next stage was to mark the points where I was going to cut into the sides of the copper and then use the saw to do just that.
I also had to decide where I was going to put the solder join - in the middle of a section or at the point where it narrows. That was my #1 moment of enlightenment. All moments will be listed and explained at the end of this post :D

The next step was to draw onto the copper where I was going to pierce out the rounded rectangle shapes and to drill a hole in the middle of each one ready for the saw blade.

It was this point that moment of enlightenment #2 occurred. The length of the copper meant I wouldn't be able to turn my saw frame in order to pierce out the rectangle shapes! I needed to anneal the copper so that I could bend it. Annealing it removed the shapes I'd drawn onto the copper so I had to draw them again, not quite as neatly. But I got there in the end.

Piercing out the shapes.
 I thought this would take me about 15 minutes - it took nearly an hour due to my brain freeze moment about the length of the copper and the saw frame :D

After I'd pierced out all the shapes I used a tip I'd read about in Art Jewelry magazine {now sadly no more}.
I inserted strips of 3M sand paper into my saw frame and threaded it through the pierced holes the same way I had with the saw blade. The saw frame holds the sandpaper taut and makes it easy to sand awkward spots.

You need to use the sandpaper with the plastic type backing not the normal paper stuff, it will rip.
The blue dots you can see on the copper are when I was trying to decide whether to add some silver balls or not. I went with the "or not" option in the end.

After spending a good amount of time filing and sanding I gave the front a quick sand. Then it was time to bring the ends together {I'd already filed them straight earlier} and into the pickle pot to clean the bangle up for soldering.

The solder join - not too much to clean up on the front. I removed most of the excess with a sanding stick.

The cleaned up copper after coming out of the pickle. As the solder join ran along the edge of one of the pierced out shapes I needed to file and sand it to smooth and round the corners so it matched the others.

It was this point that moment of enlightenment #3 occurred. When I put the bangle on the bracelet mandrel it was much smaller than it should have been. Yes I'd forgotten that like wide band rings, wide band bangles need to be made one or two sizes larger to allow for the width of the metal. I'm sure there's a formula explaining the science but I don't know what it is...........

So that meant that I had to do quite a lot of "heating and beating" otherwise known as annealing and forming to stretch the copper so it would become big enough to be called a medium. I  got there in the end but all the stretching did obviously alter the shape slightly, stretching the pierced out rectangles and widening the cut in sections.

I then decided I would give the bangle an anticlastic shape.

Due to having to stretch the copper and the forming on the bangle die, some of the edges ended up a bit wavy. A bit of gentle hammering on the die sorted that out.

I decided the corners looked a bit square so got my file out again and rounded them off a bit more...

The finished {at last!} bangle ready for oxidizing.

It's finished!

Moment's of enlightenment...

#1 Where I put the solder join. I decided to put it in the middle of a section which then gave me the problem of what to do about the pierced out shape. I initially thought I'd leave the pierced out bit until the bangle was soldered then saw it out.........then I realized that would be tricky because I wouldn't have much room to move the saw. I managed to do it ok by cutting out the pierced bit so it ended at what would become the solder join on one side then tidying up the bottom corners of the pierced rectangle once I'd soldered the bangle closed.
Next time I'll put the join on the narrow part :D

#2 The length of the metal v the depth of the saw frame. You can sometimes get round this problem by turning your saw blade 90° and in effect sawing sideways. I did try this when I started to pierce out the shapes on the bangle but it was still tricky to do. For some unknown reason {possibly lack of chocolate as I'm on a diet} it took me a while to work out I needed to bend the metal upwards to allow room for the saw frame to turn 360° as I cut out the rectangle shapes.

#3 Not allowing extra length for a wide bangle. I just didn't think about this as I was making the bangle. Luckily my solder join held up to a lot of stretching of the copper to get it to the right size so it all worked ok in the end. Lesson learned!

Copyright © 2015 Cinnamon Jewellery. All rights reserved.