Soldering 101 for Crafters! {trust me, I’m a professional}

Ha ha! I did it. Finally learned how to solder properly! I have been at it all week and I can finally say that I am fairly sure I am doing it right. Obtuse enough for you? Oh well, here is one of my first non-hideous attempts at soldering, I made me a bracelet!

DCF 1.0

Not bad eh? Let me tell you next to my first attempts it is gorgeous LOL! Best of all I have worn it several times and it did not fall apart! My solder joins are strong as can be!

DCF 1.0

Do you want to learn how? Well, I made a video (hey, don’t groan, you asked for it) and although it is a bit long I go in explain in-depth the tools, supplies, maintenance, dos and don’ts (lots of don’ts) and I show you how to solder 2 projects.  If you are absolutely bored watching (I am witty and delightful, how can you possibly get bored?!?) skip head to the last few minutes for a good example of soldering on a jump ring. Without further ado, let’s solder for crafts!

I hope you found this useful. I tried to find other videos online about soldering but I could not find one craft specific. Most were for electronic soldering which is different. The stained glass ones were better but no videos I found explained what NOT to do and I think that is as important because if you see someone doing something flawlessly and then you feel like a dingbat when you try it and it does not work…or is that just me?

Here is a cheat sheet, just print out this bit and keep it near your soldering iron:

  1. Tin your iron before using it the first time by applying a thin layer of solder to the tip. Tin the tip again before putting it away for the day.
  2. Keep a damp sponge nearby to clean the tip as needed. (every 4-5 joints)
  3. Use tools to hold the item you are soldering such as: bent nose pliers, clamps or a 3rd hand device like I used in the video. The 3rd hand is essential for joining to pieces together and they are relativity cheap.
  4. If you are late to the party like I am and have already screwed up your soldering iron and the solder wont melt and stick to it (AKA wetting) then file down the tip on fine sandpaper or a stone. This is a last-ditch effort and should not be done on a quality iron. If you can, replace the tip and it will be good as new!

I was talking to a girlfriend who does stained glass and she had another tip if you are working for a long time. “To keep your iron from overheating use a voltage regulator, you simply plug your iron into it and you can set the temperature exactly where you need it!” Thank you Kathy for that tip!

If you have any questions or soldering advice to share, leave a comment, we will all appreciate it! Thanks for stopping by and til next time happy crafting!

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