Soldering Projects

Posted by Kathy Torrence on Nov 19, 2007 in Crafts, Jewelry, Soldered Art |

As I’ve mentioned before, my friend Denise was kind enough to purchase a soldering start-up package for me for my birthday.  I blame her for my newest addiction – in fact, I think I can safely blame her for ALL of my craft addictions! :)

I did, however, have an unfortunate soldering accident last weekend.  While my iron was hot, the tip fell out of the handle!  Luckily, it was in the stand at the time (I thought it felt funny, so I put it back into the stand) so there were no injuries.  But to make it even worse, as I carried the iron (cooled off, of course) out to my backyard shed to grab the correct size wrench to replace the rod, I LOST the tip!  I’ve searched the backyard and shed and still can’t find it anywhere. 

And to make it even worse, I was right in the middle of a project!  Now to most people, this wouldn’t be a problem, but to an OCD person like me, this was a disaster!  I have scores of projects waiting to be completed, and I was without a soldering iron….but I decided to look at this as a lesson in patience. 

I called the stained glass store and they told me that it would be about $10 for a new tip.  The store is quite a little ride from my house – I don’t know when I’ll get out there again and I really need to finish some projects for Christmas.

So…I was surfing online and found this great website – a company called Simply Swank.  I had purchased their book and DVD about making soldered jewelry and wanted to order some of their other products anyway, so I went ahead and ordered a replacement iron along with some lead-free solder (I found out that you really shouldn’t use solder containing lead with jewelry), some clip art and some small pieces of glass.

These ladies are great!  They make soldering look easy and their products have a very feminine feel (my new iron has a pink handle – can you get more girly than that?).  I like that the new iron has a much smaller tip than the other one – perfect for jewelry making.  But I’ll still get a replacement tip for the old iron – it’ll be great to use for larger projects (and it doesn’t hurt to have a spare just in case of any future emergencies!).

When my new iron arrived (it came in only about 2 days!), I tried one of the projects that they suggest in the book.  Since I’m just starting out, I thought I’d copy it almost exactly – here’s my necklace:

Simply Swank CASEd necklace

To make the charm, I used their clip art (it actually came with the DVD) and enclosed it into two small pieces of glass.  I taped and soldered the edges of the glass and added jump rings at the top and bottom.  I also strung some beads onto three head pins and attached them to the bottom ring and attached the charm to the necklace to the necklace with the top ring.  Not only was this an exercise in soldering, but it was also a lesson in jewelry-making (more on this in a later post).

The black beads on the necklace were purchased during a run to Jubili Beads and Yarn a few weeks ago with my friends (AKA enablers!).  The clear beads and small pearls are actually vintage beads that I purchased at the Old Engine Works Antique Co-Op in Stroudsburg, PA during the trip that Mike and I took a few weeks ago.  The pearls were originally on an old German-made necklace with a broken clasp and broken strings – I love the idea that I was able to salvage them and give them a new use!

So I’m back in business – oh, and I was able to finish the half-finished project that I was working on during the lost-tip debacle:

PB180004

I purchased the beveled pieces of glass as a kit at the Mullica Hill Art Glass store.  I’m not too happy with the way the middle seams turned out – they are way too thick.  When putting the pieces together, you have twice as much tape in the middle as on the edges (two taped sides together) so the center seam is larger.  I guess I could have added more tape to the edges or cut away at some of the tape in the center with a craft knife to even it out- now I know that for next time.

I added a ring at the top and the bottom and hung a crystal and some glass beads on the bottom as well – it looks pretty in the window and would make a nice Christmas ornament.

Now on to more projects…

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