Fresh Baked Designs

Adventures in jewelry making

Hot and Bothered January 16, 2013

Filed under: Archives — Fresh Baked Designs @ 12:22 pm

Love My Art Jewelry has proposed a year-long challenge that I’m going to try.

There are so many interesting jewelry challenges posted in the blog-o-sphere

and I have to be careful not to jump into each one that I’m drawn to

or I wouldn’t get anything else accomplished.

If you’ve never tried participating in one, consider this one.

I’ll tell you  3 reasons why I like this one so much.

                                      1.   Each challenge is accompanied by a video or tutorial to teach a new skill. Love this idea!

                                      2.   Each challenge is 8 weeks long. Plenty of time to work on perfecting the skill,

                                                        making jewelry for the reveal day…and getting other stuff in your life done too.

                                      3.   You can choose to do them all or just the ones that interest you.

The hosts of this as yet unnamed challenge did a great job designing these parameters.

So, here’s the first challenge that was posted this week.  Make ball head pins (click to the link).

 Your jewelry piece(s) must include handmade ball head pins.  Period.

And if you are not able to make your own head pins, you may use someone else’s…handmade, of course.

I’ve done some soldering but never made head pins, so this is perfect for me.

This is the “HOT” part of the post’s title.

And the video tutorial is great. I tried cheaper copper first, just in case I messed up.

This is the “BOTHERED”part of this post.

The copper just wouldn’t ball up no matter how long it got torched.

I know copper has a higher melting point than sterling,

so my little butane torch might not have the UMPH that is needed with copper.

And could be that I was using 18 gauge wire that requires even more fire power.

Anyway, I decided to damn the torpedoes and move straight to sterling silver.

 YEAH!  Practically instant success with both 18 and 20 gauge wire.

I need to do some more research on the copper, because I’d love to be able to make these too.

I can see where this could get addictive.


These two pair of earrings were made with extra long double ball head pins.

First I balled up one end. Then I slipped on the glass bead.

Holding the glass bead out of the way with locking tweezers, I balled up the other end.

I really liked the dark gray oxidation on the balled ends,

so I only pickled the middle portion of the wire to bring back the shiny silver.

pin wrap blue

pin wrap rust

1000th pair

cobalt twig wrap

orange wrap

gray twigs

                                                So, what do you think?   Wanna come and play with me on this one?


21 Responses to “Hot and Bothered”

  1. Coooool! I’ve made copper headpins. 18g really is harder, but can be done (I’ve got a small, hand-held torch, too). You just have to get it in the “sweet spot” of the flame, the hottest part. Once it starts glowing red it’s about to ball up (which is SO cool to watch). Once it balls, if you dump it immediately into the cold water, that pink tone will stay unless you pickle or sand/smooth it. Then it goes back to copper. For that, I’d suggest sanding off the fire scale (carefully) on the wire portion. (also, the wire gets reeeeeeally soft from the heat, you might want to *gently!* tap it a few times to work harden it before sanding off the scale).

    • Thanks for your hints and helps with this. So appreciate it. I did try some 20 g. copper wire and it worked like a charm. And yes, yes, love the reddish pink ball ends! Also, peeked at your blog and really loved your jewelry from the Earth as Art challenge, especially from the Namib Desert photos. Thanks for stopping by today.

  2. Donna Geurin Says:

    I am spoiled, my husband makes all my copper balled headpins for me with no problem. I am guessing 20 and 21 ga.

  3. Love this idea! Thanks for asking us to join in.

  4. Susan F. Says:

    Nice work! And, congratulations on making your 1000th pair of earrings! That’s quite an achievement. 🙂

  5. These are SO awesome!!!

  6. I love the simplicity and beauty in your earrings…… Great way to be creative with the balled head pins!


  7. I really like how you used the head pin- not only functionally, but beautifully too. Those earrings are just great! I especially love the last pair, I bet that took some patience 🙂 thanks for participating!

  8. Mary Harding Says:

    Your headpins earrings are super cool. The last pair is my fav. I love the way you clustered and folded over the headpins.

  9. Such an elegant way to use the head pins! Really love these.

  10. So glad you’ve joined us and dove into making some headpins! Give that regular old propane torch a try to make some copper ones! It’s not scary, I promise!

  11. Emily Says:

    I really love all of your colors, deep blues, warm oranges and the transparent earrings are so sweet. My favorite have to be the last pair because of the texture, the way I imagine them tinkling on my ear and just plain how unusual looking they are. Very nice designing!

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