Everybody loves a bit of grunge these days it seems and while I was attaching ear wires to the copper washers for these earrings I decided to change the characteristic of the washers very quickly with some solder paste and, if you have some to hand you can do the same. As you probably know solder paste already has flux mixed in with it so it flows very easily. It’s not cheap though so you can create interesting effects with just a little touch here and there (I tend to scrape the gungy bits out of the cap for this purpose) although I’ve used more in these photos just to make it clearer.
Once your pieces are quenched (left hand image below) you can can pickle them to remove the firescale (bottom right image below), tumble, patinate and/or texture them as you wish. Personally I like the effect of the firescale so I tend to remove any that is loose or flaky with a sanding sponge and then texture and polish which can result in some interesting finishes (top right image below). The one thing to remember if you don’t tumble is that you have in effect annealed your piece while soldering so it will be soft so work hardening with a leather or nylon mallet is a good idea.
If you give this a go do let us see what you make – you can post pictures on our Facebook page and we’d love to see them.