Here’s a pair of earrings I made this Summer. First I etched some copper sheet with a Japanese wave pattern and then I cut out four 1 1/2 inch circles to make disks.
I filed the edges of disks so they were all even, put holes in the center of each one with hole punch pliers and dapped a gentle curve into the disks with a wood dapping block.
I sanded the bottom of each disk in preparation for soldering. The edges had to meet all the way around with no gaps.
Getting a bottom half ready for soldering. I have pickled and fluxed the discs and am using medium solder. I like to flash my flux with the flame to dry it out before laying the solder because then the solder doesn’t skitter around because the flux is bubbling.
A lentil bead ready for soldering. You notice that I’m bit using binding wire. I’ve never had much luck with it anyway. Lexi Erickson (see below) suggests pinning the bead to the firebrick through the holes. This worked beautifully for me.
After soldering before pickling and cleaning
I am learning to use less solder. It means less cleanup!
I patinated both sides of the lentil beads with a butane torch.
I finished the earrings with brass washers that I dapped to conform to the curve of the lentil beads, and decided to use carbon steel wire to attach the earrings to the ear wires. I like the look of mixed metals.
I recommend both of Lexi Erickson’s soldering DVDs. They are packed with useful information and common sense tips. You can order them from Interweave’s Jewelry Making Daily Shop.