Saturday, November 24, 2012

Copper, Copper, LOVING My Copper!

So, this weekend (starting with Friday afternoon) I got out more of my copper and played with it.  If you want to see the post I did about my first-ever headpins, go here.  If you want to see the post I did for pickle (for cleaning fire-scale from your pins), go here.  I had previously gone to Target and found the cutest little 2qt crock pot for $11.00 and bought it for making my pickle.  Just like you need a dedicated oven with Poly-clay, you need a dedicated pot for your metal pickle.  You never want to use something you would ever consider using at a later date for food.  Always keep these tools separate. 
isn't it just adorbs!?
I also have a pair of long, flat-nosed pliers that I use specifically for firing my copper. 
Look close at the tips, near the arrow, you can see the
fire-scale on the tips. Kobalt is an excellent brand for
working with jewelry. I have two pairs of these pliers,
one for fire work and one for wire work. Available at Lowe's.
I used the 1:1 ratio (1 cup vinegar to 1 tbsp salt, I used Kosher... no reason, just chose it) and heated the crock pot on "High" until it was warmed up then turned it to "Low."  Be aware, this is a sharp smell whenever you open the lid! Once I had balled up several pins and dropped them in the water to cool off, I popped 'em in the pickle for about 15 mintues.  Here's what I got back:

Nice, almost completely clean copper.  What little fire-scale
is left came off easily with my sponge file (which you can
get from you local beauty supply store)
I also got brave and made a few double-ended headpins:

then I heated up some bits of copper I had plans to use in making earrings:

The fire-scale is almost completely gone! Only a little elbow
grease with my sponge file and they were ready to be turned
into earring components! by the way, you can look at the blue
arrow in the upper right and see the pickle solution being
absorbed by the paper towel.  It's been used a few times and
is already changing color.  Cool!
My next problem was to turn the rectangles into some sort of earring component. I am determined to make more of my own components. After cleaning the remaining fire-scale, I pounded the rectangles randomly with the peen end of my hammer, with another instrument that I don't remember what it's called but it can be used to make small, round marks/divots in metal and with a .22 shell casing.

Next, I covered over both sides with black permanent marker and, once it dried, sanded it off so only the marks left in the metal were darkened.  Then I punched four holes in them, one at the top and three at the bottom and hung beads and headpins.  Here's the final results:

SQUEE!  I plan to keep these as they're
my first ever pair! aweSOME!
Here are several others I made this weekend, too:
Fishes & Loaves in rustic red:
this pair is just under 2" in length
less rustic & in white: also just about
2" in length... going to make more
pairs on this smaller scale as well as
the 2 1/2-3" length earrings
all together, now.....
snow crystals
ruby zoisite ~ rough

So... that's been my weekend. What about yours?

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