autumnflowers

Re-Runs are fun!

November 29, 2014 , In: General, Inspiration, Metalsmithing
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Hello dear readers!  I hope all you Stateside friends had a very Happy Thanksgiving and you international ones are having a wonderful weekend!  I, myself, had a very low-key day with my little family, enjoying fabulous food and family time.  Some of our favorite things to do as a family is watch old re-runs of movies or tv shows.  For today’s post, I decided to stay low-key and share a favorite  “re-run” tutorial of mine…double headpins.  By the way, did you know you can find all our amazing AJE tutorials at one place?  There is a tab at the top of our page called “Tutorials and Favorite Pages“…just click on it to find this wealth of information!

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For today’s installment of Saturday Share, I decided to write up a quick and easy tutorial for the double headpins (for lack of a better name) that I use in connecting components, such as layered pieces or discs.  I have had several folks ask how certain pieces are connected and I thought this would be a good forum to share!

After struggling with balled headpins in connecting layered pieces and discs, I had a brainstorm one day.  What if, instead of balling up the end of 1 piece of wire, I somehow melted/fused 2 pieces so that I could use both “tails” to better stabilize my components to the base?  Imagine my surprise, that after twisting the wire together and sticking it in the torch, just like normal torched headpins, it worked!

Here is my method…start with a piece of copper wire.  I like 22 or 20 gauge.  Fold it in half, press together and twist until you have about an inch twisted.  Torch until you have the size ball you  want, quench, and untwist! Simple, huh!

It really is!  Things to watch for…make sure the wire is touching throughout your twist. Any segments that do not fully come into contact with the other wire will melt through, leaving you with a single pin, or worse, will cause the balled-end to fall off.  If you are using scrap wire, you don’t have to loop at the end, just twist the 2 together, but make sure the very tips are touching. 

If you want to enamel the ball, do so as you would with regular torched pins, before you quench.

I thought this would only work with copper or fine silver, due to their fusing capabilities, but decided to try sterling silver and it works!  It also works with brass/bronze.

Layer your components in your desired configuration…thread double headpin through the holes and make sure you have a good fit.

With these 1-holed components, I wrapped the tails around my base form…usually in the opposite direction for a stronger and closer connection.

When I use a flat base to connect to, like these earrings, I like to punch 2 holes, like a button, and thread each tail through their respective holes, then on the back, flatten them and tightly coil them.  Since the ends are exposed with this method, you have to make sure any sharp edges or burs are filed.  I squeeze with my nylon-jawed pliers to work harden, then I usually tumble to strengthen as well.

There you have it!! I am sure that I am not the 1st one to figure this out!!  It is a really versatile technique and can be used in all sorts of ways!  I want to try fusing several strands together and do some wire weaving, but that’s another day!

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Update…here is a pair of earrings where I connected the center bead with a headpin that I created by fusing 5(!) strands of wire.  I used 26 gauge wire so that all strands would fit through the bead, the spread each strand apart to wrap around the five petals of the flower.

P.S.  Don’t forget about the wonderful online sales that several AJE team members have going on this weekend.  Sue compiled the shop links and coupon codes here!

Melissa Meman

Melissa Meman is a mixed-media jewelry artist and owner of Melismatic Art Jewelry. She loves all things metal... fabrication, fold-forming, enameling, but has recently been drawn into metal clay and polymer clay! Her Melismatic Morsel line features pendants, charms, and more in all her favorite mediums. Melissa lives in Frederick, MD with her husband and son and dreams of retiring from her day job, and resorting to singing and hammering/finishing metal for a livelihood!
  1. Reply

    Thanks for this post, I missed the tutorial before so I really enjoyed reading it

  2. Reply

    On of my favorites, I love both of these pair of earrings!!

  3. Reply

    Thanks for the reminder about the tutorials and for the directions you provided.

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