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!

25 Responses

  1. You are a pro, looks beautiful Lindsay!

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  2. I love your sense of humour (and your crafts)! Always look forward to a new entry on your blog! 🙂

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  3. Cool! This is something I have always wanted to try. Thanks for all of the info.

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  4. thank you Lindsay! Very cool and beautiful! FAB TUTORIAL… !

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  5. Thanks for the tutorial!! I tried this for the first time the other day and had major issues (mainly in getting my dang solder to melt and stick!!) One QU though, do you always have to use the tape? I’m trying to solder wire jewelry, so I don’t really want the bulky tape.

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    • You only need the tape if you are trying to join the wire to a glass (or stone) piece or a metal that is not solderable (aka aluminum) be sure to flux both parts to be joined, wipe your iron tip on a damp sponge and pick up some solder from the spool and transfer it to where to two fluxed parts touch. If you do it right the flux will flow from the iron to the jewelry in 2 seconds:) Be sure to secure the two pieces you are joining with a clamp or clip (my hands ae NEVER steady enough for this!) Just remember the foil tape is only needed when the elements you want to solder are not metal:)

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  6. Went shopping for solder. Too many choices. Are you using silver solder, rosin core etc. can you give a bit of guidance on what I am wanting to buy? Guy at home depot doesn’t know any more than I do. Thanks.

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    • I just checked mine, it is a silver/tin/copper alloy but any lead free plumber solder will work;) I think electical solder might be too thin and staine glass may be to thick, plumber solder is a good size!

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  7. So I decided that I need to solder. No idea where that wild hare came from. Just got my Purple Cow iron in the mail yesterday. Went to YouTube and found a very short Jewelry making video. I learned a little but I was disappointed, I was probably looking for … Soldering For Dummies or at the very least NEWBIES! I noticed there was a video over on the right for crafters, reluctantly clicked it AND THERE YOU WERE! Thank god YouTube knows what I want & can find it better than I can! Perfect video! I’ve never soldered before! I need to see common mistakes along with the proper uses. I’ll probably watch this video a couple times before my first attempt. I’m not sure why but I’m having difficulty commenting on YouTube, I’m almost annoyed! LOL Glad I looked at that video’s notes & found your blog! Doctor Who … just how big of a fan are you? First Doctor? I grew up with the Tom Baker episodes on PBS WTTW in Chicago. Since then I’ve seen them all! More Doctor Who crafts please.

    Liked by 1 person

    • wow! I am honored that you took the effort to find my blog and comment:) I love Doctor who but started with the newer seasons with Christopher Eccleston. I remember when it was on as a kid, the music freaked me out, I would watch a bit and chicken out LOL! I must get back to them. My kids enjoy an episode now and then too! I have a Tardis Earring craft you might like here: https://thefrugalcrafter.wordpress.com/2013/11/19/lets-make-tardis-earrings-allons-y/ As for youtube commenting, I think there are some bugs in the system because I can’t reply to all comments either. Weird ha ha! Thanks for watching:)

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  8. Where do you buy a ‘third hand tool’? Craft or hardware store. Never
    Heard of one before. Are they for jewelry making? Thanks for any info.

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    • a harware store would have it (Harbor Freight has them for about $5) or Fire Mountain Gems has them for about $6

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  9. Hi! Can you tell me the make and wattage soldering iron you have? Thanks!

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  10. Just found your video on Pinterest…loved it! I will be giving soldering a whirl. Currently I hand wrap everything so this looks like a new challenge. Thank you!

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  11. Hi, I was wondering what brand of flux you’re using?

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  12. Hi just wondering is a 60 watt soldering iron okay or should the wattage be higher? Also what temperature do you recommend. ?
    Thanks
    Viola

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  13. So so helpful. Thank you. I now feel I can begin to make jewellry. Your video was very thorough.

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  14. Thanks so much for this post. I’ve been interested in soldering for a few weeks. Bought what I need for my project but have been afraid to give in a try. Thanks for this confidence building info!!

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  15. Thanks for sharing. This is very helpful for me. As a beginner now i’m also started my journey, Keep writing more useful resource. Also, Today i have seen another site. You can check this site. he also provide best value in soldering iron tips. Thanks

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  16. I thank you for doing this video. I’ve always wanted to learn to make beach jewelry. I picked up some tumbled broken shells that I think will look Amazing as jewelry. I’ll post pictures when complete.

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  17. Love your stuff and you’re so funny and down to earth! HELP with a project, Lindsay, I’ve got to make some Fairy Wings. I’ve got a soldering gun, wire, flux, etc for stained glass, but unsure about if this thick wire I bought will solder because it’s not going to be wrapped in the copper foil. Advice? Suggestion? I don’t want to use tape for the connections. Leah

    Liked by 1 person

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