Sunday, February 12, 2012

Hand-cut, disc-cut earrings tutorial.....

MaryAnn Carroll

How about some unique earrings?  I used some not-so-fancy copper that I bought for a minimal price at a local welding company.  The owner was kind enough to go to the storage area to dig up some scrap copper to sell me.  This works great with enameling since the scratches and marks will disappear in the enameling process.

So....  I thought I would make a pair of earrings.... possibly as a late birthday present for my sister.  I started off with a small cut of copper.  I then took a natural beach stone and traced the shape.


Using heavy duty copper cutters, I cut the shapes out of the copper.

 

I used regular 220 sand paper to smooth out the edges.  I tried to round them the best that I can without stressing too much (not easy for me) about it since they are handmade, after all. 


I roughed in where I wanted my cuts.  After that, I used a punch to give me a visual of my center.


 I then decided what size hole I wanted.


Once I decided, I used the Bur Life to lubricate the punch.


Using the brass mallet, I took two hard hits. Try not to be distracted by my messy work area.  That's just me.


After the cut is made, I simply lifted the disc cutter to allow the punch to fall through.


 I continued until I had three holes cut in each piece.


I then used my very inexpensive dapping set (one day I'll invest in a better one).  I gave the pieces a little bit of a domed shape.



And here is why I wasn't too concerned about any markings in the copper.  I began the process of enameling by heating the copper with a torch.

 
 
After heating the copper, I simply dipped it into the enamel and heated it again.


At this point, you can add as much enamel as you would like to achieve the results that you want. You must heat the copper between each dip as the heated copper acts as a glue for the enamel. Once you have achieved the desired amount, simply remove the VERY hot piece using the pulling station.  You can always add more enamel if it doesn't turn out like you want.
 

 And there you have it.  Simple add ear wire and you're good to go....


 

Here are a couple of other pieces I made using a similar method.



Thanks for supporting those who create handmade with handmade.
MaryAnn

13 comments:

Izzy said...

Just lovely. I have one expensive dapping block and two inexpensive blocks. I still use all three. =)

stacilouise said...

VERY nice. I can't wait to play with fire! The Mapp gas was recalled and now there are shortages here. Looks like so much fun. Your sister is going to love them!

Patti Van said...

Those are gorgeous! If for some reason hour sister does not like them, I'll take them off your hands!! :)

TesoriTrovati said...

That is such an awesome tutorial! I am trying to muster up the courage to dip my toes into the enameling deep end. I appreciate seeing the way your station is set up with the bricks and that you are obviously doing this indoors. I need to clear a space in my life to do this, as I really want to try. Thank you for sharing this!

Enjoy the day!
Erin

Artisan Beads Plus said...

Thanks! I love what you can do with enamel. The results are endless......

mairedodd said...

so beautiful and i love how you used pebbles to trace from! i love my wooden dapping blocks too... your colors are so lovely...

Penny said...

What a gorgeous color effect on your pieces. I would like to try my hand at enameling some day!!

ciaolucia said...

Mary Ann, the earrings are wonderful, from design to color!

Kelli said...

Gorgeous, as always, Mary Ann.

Artisan Beads Plus said...

Thanks! :o)

Barb Fernald said...

Cool tutorial. What kind of torch are you using? And do you have to cover the pieces with anything as they cool down? Like annealing them somehow?
Thanks

Artisan Beads Plus said...

Hi Barb,

Everything I use (other than the set up that I fire in) is purchased from Barbara Lewis. Her website is http://paintingwithfirearewear.com. She has starter kits for around $100 with everything except the gas. That can be purchased at Lowes or Home Depot. There is really nothing that you need to do after melting the enamel on the copper. Sometimes I need to sand some rough edges, but that is about it. If you contact Barbara through her website, you will find that she has some very useful links that discuss enameling in depth. It's great fun!
MaryAnn

pliccb said...

Ooo oo oo!!! Just discovered this!!I can see I am going to have to get some enamels. You make it look so achievable! Thanks.
Carol Bartraw.

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