Instructables

Step 5: A little more information...

If you want to use posts on your earrings, you will want to solder them in place before polishing. Do this by putting a piece of solder where you want the post to go, hold the post in your tweezers, then heat the solder until it slumps and stick the post right on top of it, while continuing to heat the whole piece and post. The solder should flow and attach the post to the metal.

The picture on this page is a pair of copper wire earrings that I soldered together, then blackened to help hide the solder seams. Copper in its natural state will slowly tarnish to a brown color, but if you want to keep it shiny, spray it with a clear lacquer or polyurethane. Silver will also tarnish, but it is much easier to polish back to shiny silver so I usually do not use lacquer on it.


Using a variety of pliers (round nose, needle nose, etc) you can create many interesting shapes that can be soldered together. Soldered jewelry is more sturdy than wire wrapped jewelry as it can not come undone or pulled apart unless it is broken. Use soldering to create interesting chains for bracelets, necklaces, or many types of earrings.
Good luck and let me know how your soldering experiments turn out!
 
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vinegrafted2 years ago
Thank you for your instructable - very helpful. I am wanting to solder together the settings that swarovski rhinestones come in or can be placed in - like the tiffany style metal pronged settings and then solder the settings together like the example shown in the image.

I was wondering if I might be able to use a soldering iron - if you know - possibly a low-temp? If so, do you know what type of flux and other material might be needed?

I would attempt to solder the metal together, first, then load the crystals in the prongs after cooling.

thank you.
rhinestone jewelry example.jpg
crowdinamin3 years ago
Thanks so much for this tutorial! its been really helpful. Now that Ive done a few easy pieces I wanted to do a more complex piece. I have a bunch of brass links that I soldered into a ring using the same methods you show here... my issue now is as I try to solder the last link to complete the circle, it melts the solder off previous links. Is there a handy way to keep this from happening?

any advice would be much appreciated
thanks!
soundinnovation (author)  crowdinamin3 years ago
You're welcome!

The easiest way to do this would be to use solders with different flow temperatures, usually referred to as hard, medium, and easy. 'Hard' solder melts at the highest temperature, and 'easy' at the lowest. There is also a 'very easy' but it is usually only used for repair work. You should start with hard solder and progress downwards so that the first things you solder are at the highest melting temperature and you get progressively colder. If you are working on silver, you want to use the highest melting point solder you can on all visible seams because hard solder has a better color than medium or easy does. On brass it shouldn't matter too much.
The other alternative is to get your hands on some yellow ocher. If you make a paste of yellow ocher and water and paint that onto the solder seams you do not want to flow, the ocher will inhibit the flow of the solder. If you use yellow ocher you should be very careful to wash it all off before you place the piece in your pickle because the iron in the ocher will contaminate your pickle and cause it to copper plate your metal.
Hope this helps!
awesome. thanks so much for you thoughts on this. I will definitely try this!
Well made. Clear photos and video.
rosenred5 years ago
Excellent tutorial! I have read many more (I usually do that when I am about to start a project - putting it off by reading a ton of material) but yours is far more explanatory and simple to follow. One question though: When soldering copper do you use the same kind of flux and solder? Well maybe two questions... Can you use standard solder (the one used for circuits) if you are not making jewelry (I understand it is not healthy)?
soundinnovation (author)  rosenred5 years ago
Yes, the same kind of flux and silver solder will work. I've never tried standard solder, but it's my understanding that since it has a much lower melting point, if you overheat it it will just boil or vaporize off in the heat of the torch. If you do try it, I'd recommend doing it outside or somewhere with very good ventilation so that you don't inhale any fumes, especially if it's a leaded solder.
lunastyx5 years ago
This is a SUPER tutorial The pictures and video were wonderful but your written instructions were the best I have seen. Thank you!
quinee5 years ago
This is very helpful~! Thank you so much.
jinnypearce5 years ago
Really, fabulous tutorial, thorough and clear. I've been trying to find this info. You know, this is better presented than in some of the hard core books I've bought. Great job!
I am VERY interested in learning how to solder and out of all the tutorials I have found online this one is by far the most informative I have come across! Thank you so much! Now if I could only decided what and where to buy supplies... AH I'm still so confused and nervous but you never know until you try... Oh and BTW, I have bought from Monsterslayer.com on many occasions and they are a good company. great prices, hard to beat deals, and relatively fast USPS shipping( but it depends on what kind of shipping you choose they offer UPS and FEDEX too). They have also added a bunch of stuff to their stock so there is more of a wider selection of things. Check it out sometime.
soundinnovation (author)  courtneygrobb5 years ago
If you have a university or community college that offers metalworking/jewelry classes nearby, try looking at art stores very close to campus to see if they have some stuff like solder and flux. You'll pay a little more for the amount, but you can buy smaller quantities so that you can test out some techniques rather than plunking down a whole bunch of money up front and getting more than you need. The art stores near my school offered small jars of flux and solder by the inch.
This was a good tutorial. I would add that many people heat their pickle. This speeds up the reduction of the metal (it turns silver again). The down side here is that you MUST NOT heat your pickle over 140 degrees, because you will get toxic gas. A cold pickle works almost as well, but it takes longer and sometimes the extra time causes the solder spot to become pitted. I've only used a heated pickle, but I've read that it's about 10 hours to get serious pitting. Also, I would make sure than your pickling compound has a heat limit listed, because different compounds are available.
soundinnovation (author)  Alchemist43566 years ago
Yes, normally I use warm pickle, but when I made the instructable I had not yet bought a pickle pot (crockpot). I have one now and it does make things much faster. I've had friends leave work in cold pickle for several days before and not have problems with pitting, perhaps it depends on how old the pickle is. I have, however, had problems with pitting in peroxide/pickle solutions that I was using to remove the copper blush from brass. That reacted much more quickly, usually just within an hour or two.
collins6616 years ago
dear soundinnovation you are very generous to teach all the tricks of the trade. the concise way you explain it shows that you are very competent. sincerely thank you. collins661