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!

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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!

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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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WOYWW: Unstuck Beads and Soldering Savvy!

I had quite a fruitful day of creative play…well…I played anyway! 😀  I decided that I desperately needed to improve my (aka acquire)  soldering skills for some jewelry I wanted to make so I decided some full immersion soldering boot camp was in order.

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I wanted to make some sea-glass pendents, earrings and bracelets and I have a very elegant vision in mind of pastel shades of translucent sea glass rimmed with silver with dainty jump rings attached…however what I created was less than elegant due to my sloppy solder job.

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I used to be a cracker-jack soldered back in the day when I worked at Radio Shack but apparently that is a skill you lose if you don’t practice. Oh, and if my awesome job at Radio shack doesn’t make me quite nerdy enough check out the Doctor Who and Sherlock microscope slide pendants I am working on…

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I’m nerdy and I know it!

And in Other News….

I got glass beads off of my mandrels!!! Not the beads I made last Saturday, I had to take a hammer to those suckers but I know what I did wrong so here are my lampworking bead tips (OK, I’ve made 17 beads, 10 of which I had to smash, you might not want tips from the likes of me, don’t say I didn’t warn you)

  1. Wash new mandrels well with soap and water to remove any oil residue from the factory. Don’t skip this step, it’s apparently important. Dry.
  2. Dip in bead release and let dry overnight.
  3. When making a bead make sure the glass is gooey hot like thick honey, not pully like taffy, so that it flows on the mandrel rather than sticking and pulling at it. Honestly, this makes no sense until you make a bead. My glass was too cool and pulled off some bead release that wasn’t stuck on too well to begin with since I did not wash the mandrels properly…
  4. After the bead is cool (after 90 minutes in fiber blanket) soak the beads/mandrels in water for 15 minutes to several hours.
  5. Grab the bead with a towel and pull and twist while holding the mandrel with pliers. I found that wrapping the mandrel with a rubber sheet first was the only way to get a good grip on it. See photo

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All that you have left to do now is make some snazzy jewelry!

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So, do you want to see other crafters desk’s of awesomeness? Well, head over to the Stamping Ground for What’s on Your Workdesk Wednesday and you will get an eyeful! Thanks for stopping by and til next time happy crafting!

Lindsay’s got a bead torch! {what could possibly go wrong?}

Happy Saturday folks! I waited for my kids to go back to school before I tried out the new toy I got for Christmas: A Fireworks Beginner Bead Making Kit! I’m glad I did because once I fired that puppy up I didn’t stop until I had made beads on all of my available mandrels (metal sticks.) Look at what I made!

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The only trouble I had with the process was removing the beads from the mandrels. They are sitting in the freezer right now in hopes that they might loosen up a bit otherwise I have a snazzy new set of plant stakes! 😀 Or I have to go after them with the hammer and I really don’t want to do that. After making 2 beads, it was easy you see, I decided to make a video about it, it is not sped up anywhere so you can see the full process and how long they take. I explain the materials  how to light the torch and the supplies, have a look:

After I shot the video I decided to do some experimenting because I thought it would be swell to be able to use the major amount of scrap glass I have accumulated for my bead kiln (boy, I really like to melt things!) so I grabbed so longer scraps and started melting. It worked! I soon figured out that I could not mix my stained glass and Italian rods but I suspected that was the case as it is with fusing glass in my kiln. I did not try dichro glass because that would be asking for trouble in my novice hands. I found a great you tube channel by Kate Drew Wilkinson on using scrap glass and I really recommend checking it out. She is a classy lady with a soothing British accent, she is like the Bob Ross of beadmaking LOL!

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The bumpy turquoise brown bead and the funny orange cylinder were done with stained glass scraps. After watching some of Kate’s videos I can’t wait to try again because her designs were classy and gorgeous! I wonder how long my tank of gas will last? I am surprised at how loud the torch is, I don’t think I would try and use it if my kids were home and I was the only adult around because I would not want to get distracted and it is hard to hear over. I wonder if the big refillable tank kits are as loud because in watching other videos it did not seem so noisy, hence the close-captioning during the flame work (I know how you love my witty comments LOL}

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So, there you have it! It is fun to make lampwork beads, now I just need to figure out how to get those suckers off the mandrels. I’m not sure if I used too much bead release (because it wanted to flake off) of if I just did not clean my mandrels well enough before I coated them. Oh well, if I have to break them I can use them for fused glass elements or smash them into frit, no biggie-hey, I even sound like I know what I am talking about, nice! Thanks for stopping by and til next time happy crafting!

I can breathe!

Happy Sunday folks! I am up way too early today but I was happy to look at the clock at 6:20am and then take a huge breath through my nose! I have been stuffy for the past 2 days. I always get quite put-out whenever I get sick which luckily is not often. I feel that  with my superior vegan diet I should not get sick at all. I don’t suffer in silence either. I whine, complain, lay around on the couch and refuse to take any medicine that might help me decongest because it tastes “icky.” I act very much like a 5 year old…now fetch me my crayons will you?

I like to get craft fair stuff done on Sundays. I feel like I can get a lot done while the football game is on (Go Pats!) I put on Christmas music and craft up a storm. The kids float between the living room TV and my craft room making little crafts to sell as well. There is nothing like selling something you created no matter how old you are! I wanted to share my glass bead packaging for the craft fair. Since they are small and could easily get lost in transit I wanted packaging that would keep them safe, together and nicely displayed:

 

I slip the carded earrings into clear trading card bags I buy from uline.com. They happen to be FDA food safe too so I can also use the bags to package food items! What a find! I stamped an ATC frame from About art Accents (the set is 50% off right now and you can save an extra 10% with the coupon Lindsay10%) on cardstock and poked holes to attach the earrings and pendant. To get the ombre color gradation on the stamp I used sponge daubers to apply the ink. Easy peasy!

Well, I’m off to walk the dog in the lovely October rain and hope to avoid getting sick again. Nobody wants that ha ha 😛 Til next time happy crafting!

Jewelery Making Basics {Video}

You Tube viewer asked me if I would film a video of my bead stash and storage. I decided to add a brief overview of jewelery making tools and supplies so if you are just starting out (or need a refresher) you could learn a thing about the tools and supplies of jewelery making. Grab a ‘cuppa’ and have a watch 😀

If you are looking for the bead storage tower I have you can get it at JoAnn.com, it is on sale too!

 Here is a review of the tools you need to get started, sometimes you can find a kit with all the tools you need, also shop around because prices vary!

3 in one pliers with round nose ends ($4-$8).

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A bead board ($4-$10) or a towel with a measuring tape.

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Your choice of beads, stringing wire or thread, findings etc.

Not neccessary but I recommend flush cut pliers (I got a good pair for $4 at Wal-Mart), crimp pliers (there are about $16 so I used a 50% off coupon at ACmoore to buy mine).

You can store your beads on the packages they come in, fish & tackle boxes, tool boxes, butter tubs, test tubes, film canisters, Tupperware and other recycled containers. I must say I love the fish & tackle boxes the best! It is nice to have portable storage so you can lug your bead stash into the living room so you can bead while you watch TV and hang out with the family. I can load all of my boxes into a large plastic tote and haul it upstairs whenever I like, or I can gather all of the supplies I might need on my bead board (that is if I already have an idea what I want to make, in most cases I don’t and I just play with the beads until inspiration strikes!) and just bring that, that is why the little cubbies on the board are so handy.

I hope I inspired you to do some beading today! Thanks for stopping by and til next time happy crafting!

A giftie for my Sistie…er, Sister!

When my sister gave me the Fuseworks microwaveable bead kiln for my birthday I knew I wanted to make some beads for her to thank her:

Stamp: Stampin Up!, Paper: K& Co., Die Cuts: Creative Cuts & More, Punch: Martha Stewart

Stamp: Stampin Up!, Paper: K& Co., Die Cuts: Creative Cuts & More, Punch: Martha Stewart

To display and protect the beads in the mail I used a shaker kit from Creative Cuts and More. To keep the backs of the post style earrings from poking through the envelop when I mailed it I placed some plastic packaging behind the card and mailed it in a padded envelope, they arrived safe and sound 😉 To attach the beads to the metal bail and ear posts I used E6000 glue, it’s rugged so beware! Have good ventilation.

For the earrings I used black glass for the bottom later, then a bit of silver leafing, then transparent green on top. For the pendant I used black glass with a foil pattern and clear on top. The foil did no damage to my microwave in the kiln!

For the earrings I used black glass for the bottom layer, then a bit of silver leafing, then transparent green on top. For the pendant I used black glass with a foil pattern and clear on top. The foil did no damage to my microwave in the kiln!

That’s all for today, thanks for stopping by and till next time happy crafting!

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