Make Fine Silver Hoops! | Kelly Diemond | Skillshare

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

9 Lessons (28m)
    • 1. Intro to Fine Silver Fusing

      1:15
    • 2. Materials and Supplies

      3:50
    • 3. Preparing to Fuse

      4:51
    • 4. Fusing the Wire

      3:54
    • 5. Forming the Rings

      4:11
    • 6. Making the Ear Wires

      4:18
    • 7. Adding Beads to Ear Wires

      3:11
    • 8. Troubleshooting

      1:47
    • 9. Wrapping Up

      0:23
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About This Class

Learn how easy it is to make professional looking earrings without the use of solder, flux or pickle. Create a strong bond in your fine silver wire by using a technique known as fusing. This is a great introduction to working with metal that doesn't require a ton of materials and supplies.

Meet Your Teacher

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Kelly Diemond

Jewelry Teacher at Metal Morphosis

Teacher

Hi, I'm Kelly and I'm a jewelry designer and teacher in Central NY.

I love teaching because as soon as I learn how to do something, I want to share it with others. I can't seem to stay away from it.

In my classes, I encourage you to learn the concepts through a project and then use them in your own way. You do not have to follow the teacher like we did in school. You are free to take the ideas, tools and know-how and spin it into something of your very own. Students in my live classes have created beautiful things I would have never thought to put together or combine in the same way.  I am learning from them all the time-It's a happy cycle of teaching and learning.

If you're ever in the Syracuse, NY area I hope you'll stop by for a live, in-studio class!

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Transcripts

1. Intro to Fine Silver Fusing: Hi there. I'm Kelly diamond and I'm a metal smith here in Syracuse, New York. And today I wanted to show you how to fuse fine silver to make these little hoop earrings. And find Silver is a little bit different than the sterling silver that you're probably used to working with. It's actually 0.999% silver. And it makes it a little bit softer, a little bit more malleable. And it has this great ability to fuse two itself without the use of flux, solder or pickle. So it kinda takes all those items off the table and is a really good entryway from going, working with beads to going and working with metal because there's not so many tools and materials needed. And this was one of the first things that I got into as I transitioned from beadwork into metalwork. And you can actually add beads. I'm going to show you how to add beads to your wire if you like, some color in there. So you can still keep the bead working in there as well, but you'll have a nice permanently, fully fused silver ring as well that you can incorporate into your jewelry designs. So let's get started talking about some of the materials and supplies you'll need and then we'll get torque. Thanks. 2. Materials and Supplies: All right, so we're going to need a few different supplies today for making our hoops. The first thing we're gonna need is wire. So we're going to need some fine silver. So fine silver is 0.999 wire. Looks like that. Sure, you have the right direction you go. And this is a 14 gauge wire that refers to the thickness of the wire. A 16 gauge round wire would also work well for this, but I would say 14 to 16 is the best place to start. You don't want to start with two thin of a wire because it makes it a little harder for fusing. The other thing you're going to need for your peer wires is it can engage silver wire which is nine to five wire, and get there i by a half Hard 20 gauge, which seems to be most comfortable for people's ears. And then you're going to need a ruler for measuring your wire. Just a basic regular ruler, a metal file. And I like to use a half round metal file because the half round area allows me to get inside of round areas. You'll need a pair of flush cut wires for cutting your metal. You'll need a ball peen hammer or this is a punishing him or something with a flat face, something with a rounded head there. A plastic Malet for just forming your your hoops after you make them, after you fuse them, you'll need some type of ring mandrel. And for this project, we're not going to be doing anything too intense. So even the little aluminum minerals that you buy, you can get them at like a Michaels someplace like that. Just a craft type store. They work okay. As long as you're not doing a lot of forming on them, if you start hitting these hard with a metal hammer, you will get marks and mix if their aluminum. So you probably really want, if you're going to be making a lot of rings to get a harden steel mandrel to have in your arsenal of jewelry supplies. These are optional, These are parallel pliers and our metals would be so fine today that we will be able to just form it with our fingers. But I like to use these to bring my edges really close together. So they are called parallel pliers. And I like the flat nose parallel pliers. Looks like that. Yeah. These are great because they don't mar your metal so you can actually manipulate things without marketing at all. Up. We'll also be using just a polishing pad at the end for finishing up our work. We'll need for let's see, one of these steel bench blocks for hammering our metal flat and making a texture in it. And then for our fusing setup, we're going to need some type of soldering Breck minus actually a kiln, the brick. But you can use a solder right? Bore, a new type of soldering brick, a honeycomb, the charcoal brick, anything like that. And then we're just going to use a basic little micro torch. These just like little crib relay torches. And you don't need anything too intense for this. You just need kind of a small little flame and that will get the job done for the size that we're going to be making today. For your ear wires, I like to use just stepped mandrel. So you can see it has six different sizes. This is for making your earrings. But you can also just get away with using a regular round nose pie r two. So if you have one of those handy, Those are great. And we'll show you how to make two different types of IR wires to go on these. Alright, so that's about all you need. You'll notice that you don't need any solder, flux or pickle for this project, which makes it a really great starting point when you learned to work with metal. 3. Preparing to Fuse: So the next thing we're gonna do is cut our wire. And I'm going to cut these in about two inch intervals. And I'm going to use that, or this is the 14 gauge. And I'm going to use my flush cutters. Cutters have a flush cutting and aside that cuts a flat end. And the other side when you cut it always leaves a little pinch on the end. So the first thing that I do is I cut that pinch off with the flat side facing the part that I'm going to keep. So I just trim that little flush, little pointed end off so that I'm starting with a flat end. I'm going to measure my two inches, which I just did with this one. And I actually just use this one so that I get nice even pieces. I'm going to use this piece that I already cut to cut the second one, line them up, use the flat side from that off. So I've got two flat edges. I check them to make sure they're close and they are. Then I'm just going to file flat the tops of my wire so that I have, what I'm going for here is that I want to make a really smooth connection. If you can see here in this piece, I want to get those edges together very, very close and tight so that I can't put my finger nail in there. There. When I run my fingers across it, it feels very, very smooth. So you can see right now it's not a circle, it's just kinda this oval shape. We're not going for a circle right now. We just, what we're going for us to get those edges together very smooth and tight as if we were setting it up for soldering, but we're not going to be soldering In this case, we're just going to be fusing. But still, even with Philip fusing, you need to have really nice joins just like as if you are going to solder. So I'm gonna get everything nice and smooth. The cutters leave a little not chon there. Anyway, even the flat side does. So we're gonna take that off of there with our half frown file. I'm using the flat side of the file right now. To just move that out. You shouldn't have to do a lot of filing right now if you made a nice flat cut, they should come together pretty well. Okay. So once I have everything filed, i'm going to use these parallel pliers. If you don't have these parallel pliers, you can use just regular square nose pliers. You may want to put some like a tape or something on there. Painter's tape or something or a little piece of rubber so that you don't mar your metal. These are nice because this coding that they have on here, for some reason it doesn't mar your metal. And what I'm gonna do is I'm just going to turn my edges and I'm going to grasp the end. And this metals really soft. So I'm gonna just grasp the end with my pliers. And I'm going to turn both of those sides in so that they meet in the middle. And then as you can see, I have this sort of tp shape right here. So it's kind of coming to a point like this. And I have a big gap in the middle where I can put my file right in there. So I need to close up that gap and I need to bring those edges so that they're flush and so that it looks something more like that. Okay. So I am going to push those edges, pass each other with my fingers. This metal is very soft, and then I can just kind of click them together so that they're more. So you can see they're a little bit closer in that shape. And then I'm going to use these parallel pliers and just crush them down together so that I'm bringing, I crush it from both sides. And I bring that together so that it's nice and smooth and I can't put my finger nail in there. And that when I run my finger over it, I don't feel any bumps. I don't see a lot of light coming through. And then I do the same with the other one. And a grasp the edge, roll it in, grasp the edge rural and got that little shape. I'm going to just crush it down. Okay, and you can actually manipulate this with your fingers as well, which are going for very tight smooth fit like that. Okay. So once them together and you have the nice smooth fit, spend time here because this is what, this is the important part of this. You need that good connection. If you don't have that good connection, what's going to happen is when you go to fuse this instead of fusing together, they will pull apart. If you don't have a good connection and a good seam, your edges will actually pull away from each other. And that's a common problem that people have when they're first starting to do this is that the, the edges pull away. So spent a little time getting that nice clear connection. And then we're going to set this up for fusing. 4. Fusing the Wire: All right, we're going to use our butane torch to start to heat up our middle to fuse it. And basically, we're just going to turn it off, get our plan going here. And we're going to just start to heat this. And what we're looking for is for our metal to turn into, it's gonna start to get a red glow. And it's actually when it starts to get that red glow, I'm one start to run my torch back and forth across that seem to see the metal will start to get a little bit more time looking at starting to get a little thing. There we go, there's the pigments coming out. It gets kinda like an orangey pink. And then I'm going to start to run my torch across the scene. And it's a very fine line between melting the whole piece and getting that seem to join. So you're basically bringing it up to the molten temperature. See, it's all shiny and there it goes and I full way. So it's very quick. My metal gets that shine to it, that liquid vacation looking, look. And then I pull my torch way. And that is about it. So I'm going to let that cool there. If you have a little bucket of water, you can have a little glass of water, they can put this into cool it. I don't have that handy at the moment, so I'm just going to let it air cool right there. So some troubleshooting. If you didn't have a good Join Right there. Instead of fusing as it did there, what will happen is that your middle actually Ball and pull away from itself. And it will, edges will actually come apart and create kind of a lump in your piece too. So I might, I might. We'll do a little troubleshooting section where we talk about what to do when that happens. Okay, but for now this is just going to cool. And we'll go on to our next one. And I move this one out of the way. And we'll bring up our next piece. And I like to put my seems at six o'clock so that I know where they are. And do the same thing just this month. Looking for that orange glow. Maybe hard to see with the light that we have going on here, but it's getting a little pink. I'm going to start to bring my torch back and forth on the scene. There's my silver flash and I'm done. Okay. So that one that didn't seem to flow as evenly as the first one, but it looks like it possibly closed. We may have to do that one over a second time because it doesn't look like it necessarily fully fused. So we have this other one as a backup just in case. So we'll do that one next. Yeah. So if you if you don't have a good CME or you pull it way too quickly. Link looks like I did. I don't think I got a full connection there, so could have held a tad longer to check that one out. Okay. Sorry to get that pink miss. As you can see, it all happens pretty fast. The longest part is really just setting up the seam. There we go. Okay. So I really just leave it long enough for the metal two. And that one looks better. Okay, so we'll let those cool. And then our next step is to form them into circles and hammer them. 5. Forming the Rings: Okay, so now we are ready to take our pieces and form them on our ring mandrel. So this is our basic bringing mandrel. And right now I can see there so narrow that the can't go over the top of the mandrel. So a little trick that I have. So I'm gonna use my plastic or rawhide millet. I'm gonna put it on my benchmark. We're just gonna tap it open. So wide enough to go over the top, needs another little tab. And then you should be able to form it over and slide it over the top of the ring mandrel. Hey, so I usually just pull it down with my fingers as far as I can. This is fine silver, so it's pretty soft and malleable. So you're actually able to shape it with your fingers pretty well. And then I'm just going to use my plastic or raw high Malin. So when you don't want to leave a mark on your metal, you're going to use a plastic or rawhide model. When you burp hammer, when you do want to leave a mark, that's when you'll use the metal on metal and that will that will mark it up pretty good. So right now I'm just trying to go get it into a circle shape. And as you can see, it's getting around, but it's also wavy when I set it down. So to get that little wave out of it, I'm just gonna hammer on the bench, put it back on my mandrel, and continue just just camera into a circle that my camera Otis Mitch go. So I'll do the same thing with this piece. Over the top of the ring mandrel pull Adela fingers as much as they can. And just hammering, flatten it on the bench blog that way we have there. And put it back on and shape it smart. Just trying to get it into a circular shape. And those look pretty good. So my next step is I want to actually, these are pretty strong because they're a thick gauge, but I want to put a little texture in them. So I'm going to hammer them now with my punishing hammer. I'm gonna firsthand with them flat, just as happy and just kinda gently tapping them with the flat side of my hammer. And then I'm going to flip that over and use the ball peen art to put a little texture in there. Just gives it that kind of model hammer texture to the other one. And I get a bit flat and it gives it more. Strength goes well, it's going to work hard. You're mountain them. So they look pretty good. They look pretty even there looking really nice. And as you can see with this fine silver, it doesn't Black and our tarnish like sterling silver does when you heat it. So all we really need to do at this point is just take our polishing pad and go over it. And what a nice shine. I also, I typically I have a rotary Tumblr, so I like to throw my pieces and the Tumblr, but if you don't have the Tobler, these little probe Polish pads, I get mine from Rio Grande day. They are perfect for just shining things up. And if you have a buffing machine that works, great as well. But this little guy will go along way to shining things up and you just see how you can see the dirt falling off on it. But that's about it. So we have a nice little start there for our our earrings and we just need to our next step will be to make her ear wires. 6. Making the Ear Wires: So to make our ear wires, i'm going to cut to lengths of two, about two and a quarter inch wire. This is the 20 gauge wire and I'm going to cut to pieces of that. I'd like to make my ear wires at the same time so that they match exactly. So I actually form them both at exactly the same time. And I used, I used this stepped mandrel to do this. So for you can see there's six different sizes. So from the base part of my air where I'm going to use the larger of the two small barrels. So there's one that's a little narrower, those ones little water. I'm going to my first step actually is I just trimmed both edges flush and I give him a little file to knock off any rough edges that are on there. And then I'm going to use that large barrel and I hold both wires pinched in between. And basically I'm using that larger barrel as a mandrel, so only leaving a very small bit sticking out of the top. And I'm going to use my thumb to support right here at the base. And I'm going to turn my risk forward wall I'm supporting with my thumb to form a little, Basically a little shepherd's hook, a little p. Okay? Then I'm gonna take those P's. I'm going to point them towards the ceiling, pointing up. And now I'm going to use the largest of my two large barrels to grasp the ear wire with. And depending on how close to those peas you go, if you come down here, you're gonna have a very small short ear wire. If you come back here, you're going to have a very long ear wire. I like to make mine kind of a medium length for these, maybe I'll go a little bit longer. So we're going to do the same thing. I'm going to hold them both at the same time. Use my thumb to support them in a role, my wrist forward, also going to pull those P's back so that I can a little shape and get a little more curve in my wire. Okay, then I take them off, something that looks like this, and I'm going to just flip the end now. And now I have two separate little shepherd's hook type your wires. My last steps are to file this END that goes in your ear. Actually, I'm going to trim those both off because they have that little point on there that we talked about. So we're going to trim that little point off. And then I'm going to file that in in a kind of rounded motion. I want to round that out. Also putting these in the Tumblr does help brown those out too. So I do always throw these in the Tumblr as well. If you have one, I've put some just some steel shot in there with a little Dawn dish detergent or burnishing liquid. And then I tumbled out for a couple hours. So there's one. Just so you want it to be really smooth where it comes in and out of your ear. So you can use this middle follow. You can also go for it with a little sandpaper after you're done filing just to make sure everything's nice and smooth. But my final step is I'm going to make this arch. I don't want these to be able to pull apart very easily. So I want to work hardening rate in that little inside edge there. Polis oversee can see what I'm talking about. So right along here, zoom in a little closer. Right along here. I want to harden this edge. So I'm gonna take five ton of thing hammer once again, I'm just going to gently tap right along that edge. I'm going to flip it, tap it out. And that's going to make my, my ear where less pliable. I won't be able to pull it apart as easily. It'll give it a little bit more structure and string. Okay, so I'm going to do both of those. And now these are ready to go in the tumblr. 7. Adding Beads to Ear Wires: So let's say you want to add some beads to your ear wires. What you'll do is the same process as we did the first time. So I've cut this time, I've cut 2.5 inches of the 24-gauge wire, and I'm going to just file that top edge smooth again. And go ahead and take my stepped mandrel. And I'm gonna make my first p smaller of the boat loops that we form. So now I have my loops on there. And before I go to form my second wire, I'm going to actually put the beads on the wires in the order that I want them. So I've got my B, it's on their knees are on there. Then I'm going to line my piece up just as I did before. Those little loops at the bottom, I like to call them p's. Could kinda look like the letter P. And I'm gonna put them back on my mandrel using that large part of my mandrel. And once again, I'm just going to form them around the mandrel. Take my wander off and then flip out back edge. So now I have to ear wires that have to be done there. And once I hammer this section in here, those beads that should create enough width in my wire that those beads will stay put. So I'm gonna do my hammering. And I'm actually trying to flare that out a little bit so that everything stays put. I don't want those, those beads coming up in our apps. And it is going to depend on the whole size of your name too. So you don't want to use something that has a really large hole size. So see, I've flattened it a bit there. So now that's going to stay put so that when my earrings are on here, those beads will come flying off. When I take my earrings on enough, I'm going to open up the link at the bottom at my earring too. It's my hope to it and pinch it closed. This is not the best tool for this. A flat nose fire works better for punching things close than the RAM nodes does. Okay? So now you have the beaded earring that is also using that used silver. And I'll show you a picture of that as well. Maybe you can give it a little closer. Ok. And once again, filing your edge, your base here to make sure that it's nice and smooth. 8. Troubleshooting: So let's talk about two common problems that happen when you're fusing. One is getting this big bubble. That happens if you focus your heat too long in one area. So as you can see, when I was heating with my flame, I was going around and getting it all pink. And then when it started to get that pinkish orange ice, I went back and forth across the seam and as soon as it got then glassy color called my torch away. Okay. If you spend if you heat it too long in one area, you look at this big bubble. And the only thing that I've found to do once you have that big bubble is to cut it out. You have to cut it back to the places where the metal is not buckling. So I will cut it here. And I would cut it here or there aren't any bubbles. And that peace can go into the scrap. And I can re-form that into another circle. It won't be the same size as I'm going for right now. So I'll put that aside for now. So the second thing is we talked about if you don't have a good scene that you are metal will pull apart and as you can see, it thinned out right near where my connection was. It bubbled over here. And for a piece this small, I would bring my torch down to a medium flame. So there's an adjustment on the side of my micro, bring it down to a medium flame when I heat this so that I don't get it too hot, too fast. So I want to just be evenly heating it the whole time. Okay. And so when it pulls away there again, we don't think it can really do is melted down into a little ball that you can use as an embellishment for something, cut off those edges and make a smaller UPA. Ok, I hope that helps. Thank you. 9. Wrapping Up: So that's about all you need to get started making these fine silver hoops. I hope you found it a fun process and I hope you'll post which he made in the student area so that we can have a look at it. And if you're interested in seeing more of our classes coming up, please follow our skillset share page and you'll be the first to know when something new as Poston. Thank you and have a great day.