These hearts are made from two American nickels. It’s a fun project, doesn’t require any specialized tools, and can be made in one afternoon. From start to finish it took about 2½ hours.
Step 1: Hammer and Draw
Start by hammering two nickels. Only hammer enough so the detail disappears. It’s important you use a smooth faced hammer on a smooth surface. Otherwise you’ll spend more time sanding out tiny dings and dents.
Use a pencil to draw out the shape you want. This doesn’t have to be the final design but it helps to guide you along the way. Also it helps if you have an engraver to trace over your pencil mark. That way you marks won’t wipe away while your handling it. If you don’t have an engraver use a permanent marker.
Step 2: Cut, Drill, and File
While holding the nickel with pliers, drill into the inner section of heart. Next use a rotary tool to better shape the inner heart void. After that use metal shears and tin snips to cut out the rest of the shape.
Use a grinding attachment to further refine the shape.
Use hobby files to refine it even more. The files I use came from the Home Depot and cost me $16.
Step 3: Solder and Re-shape
Once you have the shape you want, solder the heart onto the other nickel. Use the same techniques to match the shape for the second heart.
The solder I use is from the plumbing section at any home improvement store. Lead free of course.
Step 4: De-solder and Keep Filing
Separate the hearts. File the edges round on both the inside and outside perimeter of the hearts.
Step 5: Polish and Join
To get the hearts to shine use progressively finer sand paper. I start at 400 grit, then move onto 1000, 2000, and finally automotive polishing compound on a polishing wheel. You can find all this in the auto section at Wal-Mart.
Open one of the hearts by gripping one side with pliers and gently prying the heart back and forth. Eventually the metal will fatigue and break. Link the hearts together, re-align the broken heart and solder together again. File away any excess solder from the joint.
If you’d like the hearts to sit a certain way, solder them together however you'd like.
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