In this tutorial we will be making these flowers:
Click here to see the tutorial for the links used in this piece: http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=195332.0
These flowers can be used in a variety of places, you can make them as small or as large as you need. As always feel free to copy this tutorial exactly as written. You may reproduce my design as well, if you make a near exact copy of my design I would ask that as a courtesy you would give proper credit to the tutorial where appropriate.
- Wire (16 gauge dead soft sterling silver was used in this example)
- Pre-made sterling silver or fine silver bezel cups and same sized cabochons (I used 8mm fine silver bezel cups from Rio Grand/Gems and Findings catalog/located under sterling settings with 8 mm Carnelian cabochons)
- Paste solder
- Round nose and chain nose pliers
- Wire cutters
- Chasing hammer
- Anvil or bench block
- Paste Solder
- Fire brick or comparable soldering surface
- Brass Brush
- Blue Dawn dish washing liquid
Step 1 ~ Forming your flower
You do not necessarily need to be concerned with shape at this point, form 5 evenly shaped "humps" that will be spread out into your flower petals. (if it helps you to have a guide you can draw out your flower shape on a piece of paper, lay your flower on top and follow the guides as you bend)
Once you have your 5 humps you can use your chain nose pliers to move your wire into the desired shape.
You can now snip off the excess wire, be sure that both open ends of your flower come up into the center of the flower since they will be placed directly beneath your bezel cup so that you can solder them to your bezel. You can hold your bezel over the top if you need to check to make sure those wires will be hidden.Step 2~Flatten your flower
You will need to use your chasing hammer to get your flower to lay flat. Lay your piece on your anvil or bench block and lightly hammer your flower, turning it over periodically until your flower lays flat. Be sure to hold your hammer directly above your piece, do not hold your hammer on an angle. You can hammer a little or a lot depending on whether or not you want you want your wire to maintain it's round appearance or to flatten out. Step 3 ~ Solder
Add paste solder to the point where the two wires meet on the bottom of your flower and to the back of the bezel cup. Make sure to cover the back of the bezel cup well and use a thick layer of paste solder so that the solder will flow and attach all points of the center of the flower. If the solder misses one point you don't need to worry as the wire should hold it's shape anyway...as long as the bezel cup adheres to most of the center wires. You will want to make sure both ends are soldered together and to the bezel cup. If the solder doesn't flow into all the necessary places you can clean up your piece, turn it upside down and apply it to the areas on the back where it missed attaching fully and re-solder.
Paste solder does not need much heat. Hold your torch back more than you would with other types of solder and aim your flame in the general vicinity but not directly at your piece and keep it moving in a circular motion. Stop when you see the solder flow, paste solder can be toxic if over heated. Make sure you have adequate ventilation.
Clean up your piece. You should be able to get your piece pretty well cleaned up with a brass brush, a little running water and some dawn dish soap. Don't skip the Dawn, without it the brass brush may leave a thin coating of brass on your piece causing it to tarnish quicker.
Anything the brass brush leaves behind can be cleaned up with sand paper or an emery board. You may be able to use pickle instead but first check the manufacturer recommendations, you can pickle some paste solders and others you cannot.Step 4 ~ Set your cabochon
Set your cabochon into the bezel cup and slowly push the walls of the bezel cup in around your cab. I like to use the end of a knife, you can also use a bezel pusher or a number of other flat metal objects you might have laying around the house. Just be sure you work around the bezel slowly and you get them pushed in snuggly around your cab.
That's it, you're done. Once you get the hang of it you should be able to throw one of these together in about 5 minutes
Feel free to ask if you have any questions!