It’s Christmas Eve! I’m sure many of you are scrambling today as much as I am (or am I the only one?), so here’s a tutorial I wrote a couple years ago utilizing scrap sheet copper that would make a quick, economical, and very FUN (because HAMMERING! and FIRE!) last minute gift. I want to wish each and every one of you a Merry Christmas and say thank you for reading AJE. We appreciate all of you!
If you use sheet metal in your designs, you may be like me and have a difficult time getting rid of it. If you’re using precious metals, you can always send it in to places like Rio Grande for credit or money. But what about base metals like copper and brass? Don’t throw it out, because you can do some really interesting things with it.
For example, I enameled scrap copper to accent the focal in the necklace I made for the Kalmbach bead soup party:
The good news about using scrap to play? If it turns out ugly or it gets messed up, there’s nothing lost, except time. However, even time isn’t wasted because it’s a learning experience.
So let’s start with this copper piece snippet. It came from a much larger sheet that I cut discs from. For this one I thought it might be fun to not cut a straight line to remove the holes from the rest of the sheet. Because I live life on the edge.
If you want your copper to have some texture, do it now. I did some hammering on my piece.
File all edges, corners, etc. you don’t want sharp bits.
Next, anneal your piece of copper. I usually use my lampworking torch (a Mini CC) to anneal, but for this tutorial, I used a butane torch. My favorite is the Lenk 500 LPT. And yes, I have several varieties…about 5 or 6. It may or may not be excessive.
If this is your first time annealing copper, wear eye protection, tie hair back, make sure clothing is natural fiber (cotton) and doesn’t flop around where it can get in the flame. Also, make sure you are working on and around fire proof surfaces, have a cup of water in a heat proof cup for quenching, and a pair of pliers to hold the metal.
You do not need to burn the crap out of the metal. Just heat it softly…the metal will change color.
Anneal the metal again, clean it, and make more folds.
Repeat until you’re happy with the results.
File any new sharp edges created by the folds.
Here’s another scrap copper pendant that will become a pendant.
This was a long strip of disc holes that I made into a cuff by folding it in half lengthwise then twisting the length of it then forming it onto a bracelet mandrel. I then enameled it in white and cobalt.