These really could not be easier to do, and they would have a million different uses. This tutorial assumes that you already know how to make jump rings, if anyone needs help with that let me know!
We will be making the links used in this piece:
Click here to see the tutorial for the flowers used in this piece: http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=195328.msg2061825#msg2061825
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. Materials needed:
Step 1 ~ Making your jump rings
- Large jump rings (16 gauge dead soft sterling silver were used to make the rings 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)
- Wire or sheet solder
- Flux-I use Handy Flux
- Fire brick or comparable soldering surface
- Pickle solution- for example: vinegar and salt, PH Down or Sparex
First you want to make your jump rings. They need to leave just enough space to make room for your jump rings so that they can comfortably sit on each side of your ring. I used the handle of my Exacto knife to make the rings. To determine the size I held the bezel cup up to the end of the Exacto knife to gauge the size. I made one ring and soldered a bezel cup into it to test the size, once I was sure that the ring size was right I proceeded to make the rest of my rings. My rings are 1/2" in diameter which works perfectly with the 8mm bezel cups. If you use larger or smaller bezel cups you may want to adjust your ring size.
Now close all of your rings making sure the seam is tight.Step 2 ~ SolderingMake sure you have adequate ventilation.
Lay your rings out on your soldering surface and put a bezel cup in the middle. Make sure the cup sits up against the SEAM of your jump ring. This way you can solder the seam and your bezel cup in place all at once. Flux your pieces, making sure you cover all the areas to be soldered.
Soldering with paillions of solder
If using paillions of solder, you can carefully place them on your piece as shown below. You will then start your torch and begin heating the piece, take care to keep the flame moving and to heat the entire piece. Stop heating just after the solder flows.Using wire solder
Wire solder is my favorite method! Have your wire solder ready, flux all of your pieces just as stated above. Begin heating your piece, taking care to keep the flame moving and to heat the entire piece. Just as your piece gets up to soldering temperature (or starts to glow slightly red) you will introduce your wire solder. Holding your torch in one hand and your wire solder in the other, you will simply lay the wire solder across the area to be joined and the solder should melt right in where it needs to go! (be sure to keep your hands out of the flame :blink: )Step 4 ~ Drop your pieces into your pickle solution
You can use whichever solution you feel most comfortable with, drop the pieces into the warm pickle and wait a minute or two. Pull them out of the pickle; rinse and dry. If they didn't come out of the pickle as clean as you would like you can lay them on the fire brick and heat them with your torch until they glow slightly red then drop them back into the pickle. You can repeat this process until they come clean. This process is called Depletion Guilding. You will see a white layer begin to surface on the silver, that's normal and is an indication that you are pulling the fine silver to the surface. When you polish them they will turn to a shiny silver.Step 5 ~ 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, now you can polish them up and they are ready to use. You can make a lot of these fairly quickly!
Let me know if you have any questions