Monday, January 21, 2013

Art Jewelry Boot Camp: Balled Headpins Week 2: Rosy Copper Headpins

by Barbara Bechtel

Welcome to Art Jewelry Boot Camp Week 2!!!

I hope Staci inspired you last week to dig out that torch and make your own headpins! Libby and Stacie added some wonderful posts to help fuel the fire beyond just wire-wrapping!

Today, I wanted to talk about making copper headpins and specifically, my favorite Rosy Red headpins!
by quenching your headpins immediately after they ball, you can achieve a beautiful rosy red color that I love to use in my work!










Important tips to remember when making these headpins:

*Dip your glowing red headpin IMMEDIATELY into the quench pot.
*DON'T pickle your headpins! You'll lose that beautiful color!
*Once the copper starts to ball, remove and reinsert into flame to control the size of the ball and it's shape.

As Staci mentioned last week, we do not cover torch safety or precautions, so please use caution and your own common sense.

Please feel free to ask questions and we will be sure to answer them for you, either in the comments or another post, or both.

13 comments:

Alice said...

I haven't use my butane torch in a couple years, but I remember being a bit intimidated by it. You make this look so easy!!! Thanks for sharing!

Cynthia@Ornamental Style said...

It was nice to see you on Saturday! Anyway, regarding headpins, I really struggle getting a nice size bead on copper using propane. But yours came out great. I'll try holding the wire a little bit above the blue cone to see if that helps. Might have to try MAPP. Hmmm, sounds like a good project for a creative play date.

freshbakeddesigns said...

Thank you, thank you! I too was intimidated by my torch. But your challenge and tutorials have inspired me to push through this and have so much fun. And yes, I love what this does with copper head pins!

supere67 said...

Well, here in southeast GA, it is quite warm, so I'll probably try the torch outside so as not to burn down the house.

I love the rosy copper look! Thanks so much for sharing how to achieve it!

Barbara said...

I think the key is practice, practice, practice. Don't just try to make a couple at a time. Cut 10-15 pieces and practice. They won't all be the exact same size, but as you practice, you will get many that are similar sizes.

Also, by removing the wire quickly from the flame and reinserting it, you are allowing the wire to cool just enough to control the shape and size of the ball. If you leave it in the flame too long the metal will heat too much, thus causing a large and unstable ball head and you may heat the wire to the point it is too thin above the ball.

Also, if you want shiny head pins, feel free to pickle and polish or tumble and clean, then they will be ready for use or you can give them a liver of sulpher bath to oxidize them...

Stacie said...

I had forgotten about red headpins...awesome!!!

stacilouise said...

Great video Barb! Thanks for doing it. I sometimes like to over oxidize my ball pins or do the rosey color, and then just steel wool them a bit to rough up the color and give them that rustic look.

Libby Leuchtman said...

Thank you, thank you! I have not tried copper headpins but I will now!
Have you tried Renaissance wax to help keep the color on the head pins? A friend gave me some and I am not sure exactly how to use it? Would it work for this?

Barbara said...

Libby, I finish all my pieces with renaissance wax. Just swipe it on and gently buff with a soft cloth or I use my cloth wheel on my flex shaft.

Cynthia@Ornamental Style said...

An update on my experience with drawing a bead on copper. Upon the advice of Susan from Libellula Jewelry, I purchased a jumbo butane torch and that worked (I tried 18 ga copper)! So it seems that it's not the fuel that was the issue. It's the size of the flame. I hadn't seen that mentioned anywhere so I'm so thankful that I asked Susan and that she shared what she knew. Oh, happy dance! AND after she experimented with the larger torch at Bed Bath and Beyond, she let me know it worked and that's what I purchased.

Naomi A. said...

Oh wow, this is so thorough - I'd never have thought the process could be so involved just by looking at these beauties!

Janis said...

Great tutorial. What brand is your torch head? Mine does not get a nice sharp blue flame ... More like a bushy flame

Janis said...

Great tutorial. What brand is your torch head? Mine does not get a nice sharp blue flame ... More like a bushy flame

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