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Sunday, 6 March 2011

Crafting the Bubble Set

I showed you this earring and bracelet set in my previous post - What's New - March and I promised then that I would also show you how I made it so I'm going to do that now!

Forming the circles

The first stage is to cut lengths of 18 gauge wire for each circle. These pieces of wire are then shaped around a mandrel of the right size and any excess cut off.
In some cases the ends of the wire may need to be filed so the join between them both is more flush.


Next flux is brushed into the join and the pieces are laid out on a solder board. A tiny piece of silver solder is placed on the join and then melted with a blowtorch to fill the gap and join the two ends strongly together.
When the soldering is complete each ring is dropped into an acid pickle solution to dissolve any impurities left from the flux.


Once cool and clean each ring is placed on a steel bench block and hammered. This flattens the ring as well as strengthening it - copper is very soft and flexible after being soldered. Hammering can also be used to create a texture but on rings this small a texture can't really be seen.


After soldering the rings are left with a very dull finish. Filing removes the dark oxide on the surface and then the pieces are gently buffed to return some of the shine. For a rustic piece like this the rings are not buffed up to a full shine as that would look out of place.

Wire wrapping the beads

The next stage is to use 26 gauge copper wire to attach the beads. The wire is carefully wrapped around one point of the circle several times before the bead is threaded on. Then the loose end is wrapped around the far side of the circle and any excess wire clipped off. Finally the ends are pressed down with pliers, or filed if necessary, to make sure there are no sharp points sticking out.

Assembling the earrings

The final stage is to assemble the rings and other parts necessary to complete the piece. This picture shows the extra parts which go into one of the earrings.

The finished bracelet

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