Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Teaching Myself to Solder: A-B-C

I love jewelry, especially charms. Charms on necklaces, charms on bracelets, "window" charms encasing beautiful imagery, sparkle, and typography... heavy charms, light charms, clang-y charms, jingle-y charms. Oh yes, bling is g-o-o-d.

Months and months ago, I had a quick introduction to soldering with Sheila out at Farmstead. As intimidating as it was to pick up a new-to-me crafting tool, Sheila shared reassuring tips as I worked, step by step, to solder around a domino. I left not only with a new autumn charm to wear, but with a new-found interest to learn more about wielding a tool I'd only ever seen used by large manly men as they did manly things.

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Dear Husband gifted me with a soldering wand several months ago, but it's taken until summer break for me to work up the nerve have the time to plug it in and try my hand at working with copper tape, flux, wire solder, sal amoniac, and my soldering wand.

Though small, I decided to use old Scrabble tiles for practice.  After wrapping the letter "A" with copper tape, I decided to use a mini-clamp to keep my fingertips out of the way of the solder, which also made it easy to hold the tile as I worked.
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What did I learn with the letter "A?"  ACCURACY matters: use enough copper tape to overlap at the ends.  Cutting it short just won't work.  See the gap?

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Letter "B" reminded me that I have to BURNISH the tape firmly to the wood or surface of my charm.  See the BLUCKY BUBBLES and rough edges?  Burnish, burnish, burnish, but do it carefully.  I got a bit too aggressive and actually tore a bit of the tape instead of adhering it.

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For letter "C," I slowed down, wrapped the tape CAREFULLY, burnished it using the flat side of my bone folder, fluxed evenly, and held the tile level as the solder cooled on each side.  What an improvement!

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I've got a long way to go before I'll feel that soldering has become another comfortable component of my craftiness, but hey:

I've started.

*****

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Happy Birthday America!

I love the red, white, and blue, don't you?



Have a fun and safe Fourth of July!

DIY Cupcake Topper KITS in My Etsy Shop

Did you like the tutorial for my summertime cupcake toppers?  How would you like to make your own, WITHOUT having to track down the paper, ribbon, buttons and lolly sticks?

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I've assembled everything you'll need to make your own set of *12* cupcake toppers!  You can purchase your kit from my Etsy shop and then refer back to the tutorial for the step by step directions.

Here's what you'll get:

12 strips of double sided print paper to form the rosettes
12 lolly sticks
12 ribbons
12 buttons
12 glittery flower paper accents
24 denim pattern paper medallions

The url to the tutorial link is also provided with the kit~

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Make sure you use a low temp glue gun as your adhesive, and have fun crafting!