Introduction: Steel Butterfly Pendant
This pendant is made by hand with out the use of measurements. Meaning, you start out by drawing what you want and take that directly to the metal. While researching this I realized butterfly wings have so many different shapes. After looking at a bunch, these wings are my interpretation of what they look like. I can make one for you.
If you have never soldered before please check this out.
A small square of 22 gage sheet metal. I bought a 22 gage sheet at the hardware store for about $8.00.
Step 1: Draw Out Your Butterfly
Use a ball point pen to draw out your butterfly. This drawing is going to be the exact size for the finished product.
Once you have your design, retrace the perimeter of the wing with moderate pressure. This will cause your drawing to separate from the rest of the paper. Now you have a stencil for your butterfly wing.
Step 2: Cut and Shape
Use a permanent marker to trace the shape of the wings onto the metal. Cut the wings out with metal shears. Doing this will cause the metal to become distorted. Gently hammer them flat again.
Remove any coating from the metal with sand paper or a rotary tool bit.
Place the wings together and clamp them in locking pliers. Join the wings with solder. By doing this the wings will be a mirror image of each other after you separate them again.
Use what ever method you prefer to shape the wings. I used a combination of my scroll saw, a rotary burr, and needle files.
Once the wings have reached your desired shape, use a torch to separate them. Both wings will have excess solder on them. To remove the majority of the excess, I held each wing with pliers in the torch flame and scraped the molten solder off with a razor blade.
Step 3: Make the Body
Lay the wings down on a piece of paper. Draw out the body so it’s the shape you want. Make registration marks on the drawing.
Mount a wood nail into a drill press. Transfer the registration marks from the paper to the nail with a permanent marker. Spin the nail round and use a file to cut out the body.
Once you have the body cut, snip it off with pliers. Gently flatten the body by using a smooth faced hammer on a smooth surface.
Refine the body with needle files and sand paper.
Step 4: Make the Antennae
Use a triangle file to score a line on the top of the bug head. This will serve as a guide for the scroll saw blade.
Mount the body in a wooden clamp and use a saw blade to cut a groove in the head.
Extend a paper clip and fold it in half. Gently hammer the apex of the paper clip until it slips into the cut groove. A bit of solder will secure the antennae in place.
Step 5: Emboss the Wings
Take a needle and bend it around a circular shape. I used a ½” socket bit. Use a piece of tape to mount the curved needle onto a wing. Use another piece and tape the wings together so it looks as shown.
Gently and evenly hammer the wings from both sides. Both wing are now embossed.
Step 6: Convex the Wings
Find a carriage bolt and sand off any letters from the head.
Place the wings over a scrap piece of wood. Hammer the head of the bolt evenly over the entire wing. As you go along, the wings will take on a convex form.
Step 7: Solder
Take a nail and hammer it flat for a connecting piece between the wings. Cut it to size with diagonal cutting pliers.
Place the connecting piece between the wings and solder them together. This is the time to remove any excess solder which runs onto the wings.
Solder the antennae into the head and then place the body between the wings. There should be enough solder left between the wings so that all you need to do is apply heat.
Step 8: Polish
Use Progressively finer sand paper to buff out any tool marks. I start with 400 and move on to 1000 and then 2000 grit.
To get in-between the body and wings I dulled a razor blade on a file and then folded a piece of sand paper over it.
For polishing in the same place I used a string with polishing compound on it. Polish the rest of the butterfly with a small buffing wheel.