I have been slowly adding to my metalsmithing supplies and have finally reached a point where I am able to make rings (well, almost, I do not have a ring mandrel yet). I made my very first 4mm sterling silver, hammered ring today. As it is my first attempt, I already see many things that I can improve upon, but for a first try, it isn’t half bad, especially since it fit from the beginning. I did not have to make any size adjustments. I will have no qualms about wearing it until I make a better one.
After putting my photo lights to rest, I realized that the inside of the ring could have used some polishing and the outside could have used some additional polishing, but you get the idea.
I have had this idea for a ring for years. It is to be my anniversary ring. I thought that it would be much more fun to make one rather than to buy one. No, this is not it, but it is the first step in my plans. Now, I just have to practice making rings. It is going to be a fun year getting everyone’s ring sizes for Christmas presents next year!
I have been accused of shooting down the last few ideas for crafty challenges, so when Loryn came up with the idea of using some scrap copper discs in the garage I couldn’t very well argue. I have had those discs for the last 20 years and had never been able to find a good use for them and now I was backed into using them in a challenge.
I searched the internet and found this video on YouTube. The most exciting thing to me was the minimal need for specialty tools. Of course, when you are not using many tools, skill is always a bigger factor in the finished project. I pulled out a vise, a wrench and a ball peen hammer and set to. I will tell you now that ear plugs are a very good idea.
We have another sister who lives out of state and she was here visiting. She had brought some tools and a willingness to hammer out some ideas. Together the two us managed to hammer a small bowl with turned edges. Turning that outer edge under is not so easy but I found that brute strength is not the best idea. A small hammer with a light touch goes a long way as a hard hammer hit will put a tear in the copper.
I folded copper, hammered copper, cut copper and cursed copper, but I could not manage to make any progress until last Saturday. I just seemed to make one good hit with the hammer and the copper began to do what I wanted it to do. Failure does lead one to success as long as you keep trying.
I ended up cutting a rectangle from two copper discs for the two halves of a cuff bracelet. I turned the long edges under and then hammered the finished rectangles into a roughly oval wrist-fitting shape.
One of my failed projects was a ring that was too wide for my finger and I had tossed it into the growing scrap heap. However, when I needed a bridge to hold the two bracelet halves together the too wide ring was perfect. All I had to do was hammer the ring flat, punch holes in it, punch matching holes in the other two pieces and connect them all with paper fasteners (not really sturdy but the deadline was twenty minutes away) and there was my bracelet.
For my first piece of hammered metal work I was extremely happy, and despite all my complaining I have become intrigued with the process and am going to do some more work with copper.
After an additional week due to some time constraints, our Copper Crafty Challenge is complete. We had our final reveal among the Crafty Sisters this afternoon, and boy, we really seem to be at the top of our game for this challenge. I cannot wait for you to see all the projects. We are going to post one project a day, so keep coming back!
I waffled quite a bit on this challenge. I make a lot of jewelry and I wasn’t sure if that was where I wanted to go with this particular project. After a week and a half of indecision, I decided, why mess with a good thing, jewelry it would be.
Using a compass I played Spirograph on a copper disc and cut out the star burst pendant. Amazingly, the copper is thin and soft enough that you can cut the discs with heavy duty scissors. I hammered the star on both sides to give it some depth. I then curled the points of the star (I couldn’t see any other way to really blunt the points. Those suckers were sharp!) to keep from puncturing anyone wearing it or snagging your clothes. I attached the light green crystal bead in the middle with wire and did some wire-wrapped crystals (also light green in color) for the dangles at the bottom of the pendant.
The chain is made up of hammered copper ovals and more wire-wrapped crystals. I did make all the jump rings and the clasp out of wire as well. The wire is standard 18 gauge copper wire from the hardware store.
All the hammering was done on an anvil that my dad made me for Christmas several years ago and with a series of hammers that he made for me 2 years ago. I started all the holes with a punching awl then enlarged then with a Dremel tool and a diamond tipped drill bit. I filled all the edges with a mini file to be sure that you wouldn’t slice yourself open on the sharp edges caused by the scissors.
The star-burst was actually the second pendant I made for this necklace. I wasn’t all that happy with the first one I had made. I showed it around and the other Crafty Sisters and my M-I-L (who joined us from my house this week) thought it was great, which just goes to show how hyper-critical I can be about my own work.
I did make a pair of earrings to go along with the necklace (my usual M.O.) and I think they turned out rather well.
I really like how the hammered ovals came out looking like leaves. The hammering causes the copper to curl a little and I liked the affect so much that I left it and used the same affect in the star-burst pendant.
That is my completed project! It was a fairly easy process all in all and one that I found rather fun (until my arm got tired of all the hammering). I cannot wait for the next challenge. In the meantime, I have promised this necklace to my M-I-L and and am going to take the earrings apart to make a matching bracelet instead as she does not have pierced ears. So, back to my craft table to work on some more copper!