Fresh Baked Designs

Adventures in jewelry making

Turning a Dud into Something February 9, 2013

Filed under: Archives — Fresh Baked Designs @ 3:55 pm

Being an optimist or just plain stubborn,

I keep trying to make copper ball head pins at home with my micro torch…

even though I keep reading that it doesn’t get hot enough.

So after torching a length of wire repeated times and getting dismal results,

I finally gave up, but kept looking at this wonderfully heat patinated copper wire.

So I decided to use it to loosely wrap a stamped and painted poly clay pendant I made.

Looking kinda neat.

Then I finished the necklace off with waxed Irish linen cord

and embellished with knots of my favorite seed beads and a few Howlite barrel beads.

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12 Responses to “Turning a Dud into Something”

  1. Diane (Dewdrop Designs) Says:

    I’m glad you posted this. I didn’t know a micro torch wouldn’t do it……and that is what I was planning on trying tomorrow! I’m SO bummed because I have several designs that I was planning on using them in, but so glad to read this so my day didn’t end in utter frustration. Thank you!

    • Hi, Diane. I’d encourage you to go ahead and give it try. Maybe if you have a smaller gauge wire, say 24?? And it may be that you torch gets hotter than mine.
      I’d be interested in what you find out if you’re game to give it a try.

  2. Very cool. You have a great eye for design!

  3. artsychicksw Says:

    Congrats to you for finding life out of something gone awry (I guess that’s how you spell it). I, too, save some of my bungles for later use. I think you’ve used the wire so well and the necklace is wonderful!

    • Yup, what’s that saying….out of the ashes…part of it for me is also being thrifty with the materials, too. Trying to ‘repurpose’ my mistakes helps with the cost of doing business.

      • artsychicksw Says:

        I agree…it’s that way for me, too. Supplies can be so expensive. I made a real mishap with wire once that entailed a LOT of wire. I go to it now and again for smaller pieces needed and it works out great.

  4. I love that necklace!
    You can definitely make balled copper headpins with a butane torch–even the micro torches (not the pencil ones). You might not be able to ball wire heavier than 18 gauge but it will work. Cut the wire long enough to make two headpins and hold it with the crosslock tweezers in the middle. That way the tweezers won’t be a heat sink quite as much due to the distance from the flame. Also, if it still isn’t melting the wire, give it more butane and make the flame bushier. Sometimes that is all it needs in order to get a hotter flame. Good luck and remember to have fun!

  5. Diane Says:

    I will try! You have both encouraged me. I will let you know. I hope I have time tomorrow…..but as we know, sometimes life gets in the way of studio time. Can’t wait to fire up the flame! Thank you both!

  6. I’m a new visitor to your blog (directed by the Love My Art Jewelry post) and I wanted to let you know what someone else shared with me about drawing a bead on copper. I was so frustrated because I just wasn’t able to do it either. I knew my butane microtorch wouldn’t do it. But neither would propane or MAPP with the Fireworks torch head. Turns out it most likely was the Fireworks torch head that was the issue because I bought a jumbo butane torch on the advice of Susan from Libellula Jewelry. I bought this one on her recommendation http://www.bedbathandbeyond.com/product.asp?SKU=13057451. My local store had to order it for me so with free shipping and a 20% off coupon is was just $24. So far I’ve only done three headpins as a test but it worked! So either that torch from BB&B should work or another jumbo torch should work. Other than the BB&B one, most jumbo (or max) torches run around $40-42 (Beaducation has a max torch for $42, Rio Grande has a large torch for $40). I think Susan said a bushier flame is the key. If you decide to try it, let me know how it works for you. Susan was a lifesaver for me because no one else mentioned the size of the flame. Everyone else just kept saying that propane or MAPP should work. Ha! Don’t even need those!

    • Hey,Cynthia! So grateful you stopped by the blog and took the time to respond. I’ll definitely be checking out your recommendation very soon.Thank you for passing along Susan’s advice. The jewelry blogging community is so supportive and we all get to advance our knowledge and skill set.


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