Thursday, 20 June 2013

My First Copper Hollow Form Pendant And The Mistakes I Made

I finished my first "proper" copper hollow form pendant last week. I say proper as I'd made 1.5 practice pendants beforehand to get the feel of doing them. The half was my first attempt and it went ok up to the point where I pierced out the hole in the centre after soldering the first piece of sheet to the frames. After piercing out the hole I then for some reason started to pierce out the rest of it which would have left me with basically the frames again (!) I did realize my mistake quite quickly.............
My second attempt went much better apart from quite a few gaps in the solder seam on both sides despite soldering one side FOUR times! Resoldering one area to fill the gap caused some other areas of solder to reflow and the solder to run off completely leaving even more gaps! I quickly decided I needed something to hold the frames and flat sheet together so the join was tighter and ordered some T pins...........

 First attempt....... looks ok-ish from this angle

Gaps in the solder seam

Despite the smallish gaps which were a bit annoying the pendant did look ok and I finished it by making a coiled wire bail and soldering it to the back. I then thought the coil bail stuck out too much and had a bit of a brain storm and decided to hammer it so the three coils were more oval shaped than round and you can probably guess where this is going........

Hammering the bail did flatten the coils nicely. It also very nicely created a dent in the back of my HOLLOW pendant. Sigh.... I won't do that again........ever :D

I did manage to finish the third pendant without too much stress or dentage. The T pins did help a lot with keeping the join tight although I still had to solder a second time to fill a gap on one side. I used some copper I textured at college with a skeleton leaf for the front and soldered two flattened fine silver balls onto the front.

 Close up with no solder gaps!

I finished the pendant with a copper bail which is the first time I've ever made this type of bail. It was a simple "p" shape soldered at the top and back. I was quite pleased with how it turned out once I decided how to hang it. I was originally going to place the bail so the pendant hung the other way but I needed some space for the silver dots towards the bottom so went for the wider option.

Coming first version in lovely silver :D


  1. I really love that pendant--and the soldering is so smooth and seamless! I have to admit, though, that I rather like the hammered hollow on your "practice" piece...but then, I'm still trying to figure out what's what--t-pins, the frame, and the ordering of the parts. It's wonderful to see how someone skillful does all this! Thanks for sharing.

  2. I'm super impressed with this pendant! You've learned a lot and figured out some things NOT to do again. It's all part of the process.

  3. I too like the hammered hollow bail and I think it looks purposeful and unique but I also like the sleek look of the other bail. I think you could offer it both ways. Very beautiful pendants!

  4. Yes, do tell. What are t-pins?

    Questions asked, the dent looks deliberate. Very, very lovely pieces and finish as usual.

  5. Thanks Antonia!
    T pins are steel t-shaped pins that are used in crafts to hold things together for soldering, glueing, etc.

    It was another jewellery maker Tania Covo who told me about them. You can find them on ebay.

  6. So good to have found your process with your hollowform pendant. I am a novice and most recently a "stuck" novice. It helps immensly (sp) to see someone else be as self critical. Maybe now I can set my critical eye aside long enough to get back to work! After re-soldering a seam to the point of melting all the material I turned off my torch and threw up my hands in frustration. Sounds like live and learn is a good motto for improvement. Thanks again!

    1. It does get easier with practice! I'm glad my post helped you a bit :D

  7. Hi, I'm a beginner working with copper and copper solder, and would love to try this technique as you have made such a lovely pendant, its very inspiring, so i was just wondering what gauge sheet you have used and do you use silver or copper solder, and if you use different hardness's for each joint?
    Sorry for so many questions, I'm just so taken by your pendant I cant wait to try and make one myself:)

    1. Hi Beth,
      Thanks for your comment. I don't mind answering your questions!
      I can't remember the gauge copper I used but it was probably 22g or 20g {0.6mm or 0.8mm}. I use silver solder and start with hard. I shape the frame/sides of the pendant and solder that closed with hard then use hard again to attach the front and back pieces. There will be quite a bit of solder on the sides of the pendant so leave that plain as any pattern will be filed and sanded off as you trim the excess metal and clean everything up.
      I then use easy solder to attach any decoration and a bail.
      Hope that's helped!


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