Friday, 27 May 2016

Metal Wrap Beads

I'm always on the lookout for variations I can give my bangles and I came across some paper wrap beads recently and thought a metal version might work well on a bangle. I've never made paper beads but they start off as a long thin triangle shaped piece of paper that is then wrapped onto a thin rod and glued to create a bead.

Here's my attempt at a metal version. It's a bit long-winded and clumsy as I was making it up as I went along! {I've since worked out a much simpler way of doing it too :D}

I started with some 24g/0.5mm copper sheet that I rolled through the rolling mill to approx 0.35mm thickness. I cut out three different shapes for the beads and annealed them to soften the metal.

Using my fingers and a mallet I started to curl the end of the copper strip around a scrap piece of copper wire. I decided that the end needed to be fixed to the copper wire to make it easier to wrap the rest of the strip tightly around the wire.

So I flowed a small piece of solder in the curled part of the copper strip and another bit of solder at the end.

Ready for soldering to the wire.

After soldering the end to the wire I pickled the copper and wrapped the strip around the wire to form the bead.

The three different bead shapes after I soldered the end down and cleaned them up.
 I like the look of them and think the squared end I gave them makes a change from the normal pointed end you see on lots of these type of beads.

I think a bangle with three or four beads soldered in place around it is going to look nice especially using silver beads with copper and bronze bangles. I've since worked out a much less fiddly way to attach the end of the strip to the wire and also will need to add some solder along the length of the bead strip so the whole bead is soldered in place and doesn't wiggle sideways once the bead is wrapped around the wire and end soldered.

I'm keen to get cracking on making some bead bangles which I'll do once I clear my current orders so watch this space!

In the meantime I made myself a bead template to speed up the process and make things easier.

Copyright © 2016 Cinnamon Jewellery. All rights reserved.

Friday, 13 May 2016

New Tool! Synclastic Pliers

Having recently become interested in anticlastic forms I was quite excited to come across a pair of synclastic pliers on ebay.

Synclastic is basically the opposite of anticlastic in that it is a shape that curves towards the same side in all directions or if you need a more simple explanation {I do!} think of a ring that has a domed profile - the convex shape of the dome and the curve of the ring both go in the same direction.

So I bought a pair of the synclastic pliers. They cost about £36.

You can see from the photos they are quite a hefty bit of metal.

They consist of a convex side and a domed side. The flat piece of metal sits in the convex curve and the handles are squeezed to press the the two sides together. The domed side pushes the metal down into the gap in the convex side resulting in the metal starting to take on that curve.

I decided I'd experiment with a soldered mini bangle to see what the pliers could do...

I started with a soldered strip that I rounded on a hoop mandrel.

Then I used the synclastic pliers to start forming the metal.

This is the curve after the first pass in the pliers. It's starting to curve.

This is after a second pass. It's getting a nice curve but the edges are still a bit flared.

Looking at the profile of the curve you can see it's uneven with bulges where the domed side of the pliers has pushed the metal. I annealed the copper again and passed the bangle through the pliers again, this time moving it a mm at a time to try and get a smoother shape.

It did end up a bit smoother but the edges were a little bit wavy but not that much that you'd notice {unless you're like me!}.

I think the shape is pretty good and makes a decent synclastic bangle. 
The pliers didn't leave too much of a mark on the bangle as you don't need to squeeze them very hard {providing you anneal your metal first} so they can be used with textured metal too without losing the design. You do need to take your time and move the metal around on the domed side so the curve is formed more evenly all round the bangle. For someone who doesn't have any other forming tools synclastic pliers are definitely worth investing in.

But I wanted more curve!
So out came the dapping punches and my nylon mallet.

I secured the dapping punch in my vice with a bit of leather to help stop it slipping and used the ball end of the dapping punch and my mallet to add more of a curve to the bangle. This also helped to straighten out the wavy edges.
Dapping punches are a great alternative to using domed stakes if like me you don't have any :D
I have lots of different sized dapping punches so could create a much more pronounced curve if I wanted to especially if I wanted to make something smaller in size like synclastic hoop earrings.

Using the dapping punches did give the bangle slightly more curve and helped to even out any bumps. It was just a quickly made practice mini bangle so obviously not finished but I do really love the shape and will be making some synclastic bangles very soon.

Another reason for making a practice bangle was to find out how forming the synclastic shape affects the inside diameter of a bangle. The mini bangle I made measured 44mm in it's flat state before any forming. After using the synclastic pliers the inside diameter was 43mm and after using the dapping punch to form the bangle the inside diameter had reduced another 2mm to 41mm.
 This is something you have to bear in mind when making bangles to sell and cut the metal length to account for the change in shape and inside diameter measurement.

Making a practice bangle in a normal size rather than a mini size probably would have been a bit more helpful to me but at least I know to allow a few extra mm in length for when I make my next proper sized synclastic bangle :D

Copyright © 2016 Cinnamon Jewellery. All rights reserved.

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.