Thursday, May 17, 2012

Fun with Foldforming

By Staci L. Smith

A little while back, Melinda Orr posted a link to this tutorial on fold forming.  (I highly reccomend watching it.)  I was fascinated.  It began my leaf making journey.  However, I really wanted to try to make that spiral shape they do in the video.  So she posted it again more recently, and I watched it again, and ran right into the studio.  Off to make that spiral shape into big, chunky hoop earrings, with a Staci Louise twist on them......I wanted to somehow pierce them through with balled end head pins.

First I made just a regular pair to get the feel for it.

I looked at them over and over to see where and how I could pierce the holes.  I couldn't drill after they were done, they metal is too thin and would crumble up.  Then it hit me.  So follow along with this little tutorial on how I made some cool pierced boho style earrings.  (Now I want to pierce all my metal with pins!!!!)

Materials and Tools:

hammer with one flattend end

steel bench block or anvil
chasing hammer or mallet
hole punch
flush cutters
butane torch with a large hot flame (I prefer the jumbo torch from for this, my other torches just didn't cut it for heat when balling the wire at the end of the project)
soldering block
steel wool or sanding pad (rough)

pickle pot with solution
26 gauge copper sheet

1.  Anneal two pieces of 26 guage metal, fold it in half, and cut your half circle (just like in the video).  (to anneal you heat the metal to a dull red, and quench it)

It was at this point I decided to punch my holes, but I had to re-punch them at the end too. I liked doing it first because it helped me to remember which was the folded end.  The folded end will become your bottom, and curved part, opposite of how you start out.

2.  Take a planishing hammer, or rivet hammer, and strike the folded seam repeated along its length with the thin straight side....overlapping as much as possible.  You want to keep your strikes at the halfway point or less of the metal.  Use your chasing hammer or mallet to flatten it.  Now flip it and repeat.  (note: since these were earrings I did both at each stage of instructions to save time)

3.  Now anneal again.

4.  And hammer the same way again.  It will begin to curve at the ends some where around this point.

5.  And anneal again.

6.  And hammer again, do both sides each time.  Repeat until you have the desired curve.  It will curve more once you open it up, and you can bend it into a little more of a curve as well.

7.  When you have your desired curve, anneal it again, and you can punch or re-punch your holes.

8.  Now I used a razor blade to open it up, and my fingers to spread it out.

9.  Then I flattend the ends with pliers and punched holes for the earwire to go through.

10.  File and sand the edges and rough spots.  You are sure to have some on the bottom.   Don't file away the textures, just any sharp spots.

11.  Now ball some sterling silver head pins.

12.  Drop them through the holes.

13.  Snip off any excess wire, leave just enough to ball (its ok if they are not even, fold forming is a very organic look and having your head pins ball differently only adds to that imperfection that nature offers)

14.  Take your torch and heat the entire piece a little, and then move the heat to the head pins until the other ends ball up.

15.  Quench and pickle.  It will be very oxidized by this point.

16.  Add your earwires.  I used handmade earwires, bent one end at a 90 degree angle and stretched them out to fit, and shape them.  Make sure they have spring enough to close, yet enough slack to move freely.  I had to really play with them to get it just right.  You can use either long or short earwires. 

17.  Tumble to strengthen the piece, earwires and all.

18.  Re-rough it up with some sanding pad or steel wool.

19.  Give it a liver of sulphur bath and then steel wool the high spots and clean up as desired.

TA-DA!  You now have pieced, boho hoop earrings!  I think you will find that you can use these techniques on many things to add texture, volume and piercings.  Remember to STRUT YOUR STUFF if you try this out.  We'd love to see what you make!


BluMoon said...

I love these earrings, they remind me of the ancient ones I have seen in the museums, years ago I used to always be lurking round the London museums sketching and making notes.
I am doing a second give away you are very welcome to come on over and take a look.

Kalaya Steede said...

What a wonderful tutorial Staci! I love fold forming. Merci beaucoup for sharing. ♥♥♥

Alice said...

These are fabulous! I love how you added those balled headpins, making these even more fabulous.

I'd love to learn how to do fold forming. Do you have a link to that original video?

stacilouise said...

Just posted the link Alice- sorry- I guess I forgot to add it!!! ITs there now.

Libby Leuchtman said...

Wow such a great post! Thank you so much for all the information.

Off the Beadin' Path said...

You made it look so doable, Staci! Well-explained and photographed! The "Staci Louise" twist is perfect for these earrings, they turned out fabulous! Good to know that you can ball the other end after the headpin is in the piece!

Third Eye Gypsy said...

I would have to say these are some of my VERY FAVORITE earrings you have made! I just love the little "piercings"! It's so cool to see the process!

I even have an idea of how to collab with you on these!

I will have go check out the video at the top as well.

Girl you are so mad talented!!

xo Genea

lunedreams said...

aMAZing!!!! these are really fabulous. thank you for sharing your process!! love your addition of the balled pins, esp. in silver!

Lela said...

Great instructions, Staci. I just commented on someone's blog that I thought I was the only person not doing fold forming..but I love how it looks. I didn't think of checking for a video at RioGrande.

And I love what you did with the headpins. Very creative!

Thank you!

Melinda Orr - BANDANA GIRL said...

Soooo cool! I haven't tried this curling effect yet....can't wait to play more :-) Great tutorial!!! Thanks for sharing ~

Honey from the Bee said...

Love your new earrings!! Great tutorial.. must try! Thank you

stacilouise said...

Melinda- thanks for always sharing your info you find out there:) That inspired these.

Mystic Indigo said...

I can't wait to try this when I get home!! Awesome job!!!

Sharyl said...

I think I have more "learning" to do before I advance to this, but I really want to give it a try! I love the look! Thanks so much for sharing, step-by-step! Very generous of you!

Cindys Art + Soul said...

Really cute earrings! And looks like a lot of fun too! Thanks for sharing. :)

Julie Holmes said...

Stacie Louise! Awesome post, I am going to have to try this someday. Was such a pleasure to see the process. Thank you!

mairedodd said...

i love that video - rio is so great for them... nice tutorial - and fun earrings!

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