Fresh Baked Designs

Adventures in jewelry making

Hearts on Fire and a Surprise! February 13, 2013

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Week Five in jewelry class.

This week’s class gave me time and access to the rolling mill again,

dapping blocks using copper tubing and sheet material.

I wanted to see how thin the rolling mill would get the 1/4 inch copper tubing and maybe form a cuff.

I used to do some of this with my trusty old hammer and steel bench block.

Gave it up after a while because  it was so difficult to form the cuffs after being work-hardened.

This was before I knew anything about the advantages of annealing the metal.

The good news was that I was able to get the tubing very thin and after annealing the strip of copper,

it formed very easily around a bracelet mandrel.

Such a nifty tool, the mandrel. I used to use an old baseball bat and hammer.

I have the basic cuff and have some ideas for finishing the piece, which I’ll post when it’s finished.

copper cuff

Next, I wanted to try using some thin copper sheet to make some heart pendants.

Using the same techniques as with the aluminum sheet metal.

Cut out shapes from paper. Use rubber cement to glue the shape onto the sheet.

Cut out with heavy-duty kitchen shears (sometimes a free offer at Harbor Freight!)

copper sheet

File, file, file, sand, sand, sand until the desired shape is achieved and edges are smooth.

 Hammer for texture, punch a hole askew on top,

and use the dapping block to add the curved dimension.

Then, the fun part! Use the big girl torch to heat patina the hearts.

Hence the name…Hearts on Fire.

Hearts on Fire

They are about an inch and a half long and so full of color.

I love the hot bubbled effect on top of the oranges and reds.

Reminds me of liquid silver and gold poured on to the surface.

It saddens me to think that this may not last forever.

I’ve done so much reading about how to try to preserve this heat patina.

It seems that for every good review of a product, I read a negative one.

I have tried Renaissance Wax, not satisfactory.  Brush on varnish. Nope.

And a product called Super Surface Sealer. Nada. They each changed the colors in some way.

If you have real valid experience with a good solution to this preservation problem, I’d love to hear it.

Thanks for hanging in there with me on this long post. Hope it was worthwhile.

And…surprise! I have a Valentine’s Day giveaway for you.

Just leave a comment on this post by next Monday, February 18th.

 I will randomly select one commenter to receive one of these copper hearts…

And because I’ve had so much fun making ball head pins lately…

You’ll also receive a bundle of twenty sterling silver head pins.

Head Pin Bundle

Happy Hearts Day everyone! Thanks for your support in this jewelry making journey of mine.

I am so grateful.


62 Responses to “Hearts on Fire and a Surprise!”

  1. Lynn Carling Says:

    Lynda, Those hearts are wonderful and I would love to have one! And the bonus of the beautiful SS headpins. What a wonderful offer. Wish I had access to a rolling mill.

  2. Jamie Says:

    So pretty! How about adding a coat of clear nail polish to preserve the heat patina. I have used this on silver and gold tone fashion jewelry in the past to prevent it from tarnishing and have had good results.

  3. mtrudinger Says:

    The hearts are great! Sorry, though, I have no idea how to preserve the patina. Perhaps one of the sealers used for the patina products like Swellegant or Vintaj patinas would work.

  4. Juanita Says:

    It’s always so wonderful hearing about your adventures in jewelry making. I’d love to get my hands on your heart. All the best for the rest of the calss.

  5. look forward to reading about your new adventure in jewelry making. You are so creative and innovative Love it!

  6. Julie Shane Says:

    Hi Lynda,
    I saw your adorable hearts on Lima Beads. You said to come and visit so I did. I think the copper bracelet/cuff is awesome! PLEASE show us the finished project! 🙂
    Happy V-day! Julie

  7. cindy taylor Says:

    love the look of the hearts! great job… as usual. 😉

  8. Donna Turner Says:

    The hearts look fantastic! And I also want to see your muscles from all that work. I saw one heart on facebook or something, and I was happy to read about how you achieved that result. I hope you solve the patina issue. Sorry I’m no help there.

  9. Diane Says:

    oooh….I love the idea of the copper tubing. I too, would love to know about retaining the heat patina…..I will surely stay tuned!

  10. Lois D Says:

    Thanks for ‘bringing us along’ to your jewelry making classes and sharing what you’ve made. I always look forward to your posts and your new creations!

  11. Susie Wyatt Says:


    These are so great! I am jealous of your adventures with the Big Girl Torch!
    I love all of your designs!

  12. TNine Design Says:

    Sounds like a great time making those hearts. If you get any good advice on what would work well for a preserving solution please be sure to let us all know. Terri ~

  13. Belinda Says:

    Very nice hearts! copper is my favorite! Waiting to get my new ‘bead room’ set up to “get my torch on” 🙂 Great work

  14. sjmcclelland Says:

    Both the cuff and the hearts look great. Thanks for sharing your jewelry-making adventures.

  15. So gorgeous! I long to do some metalworking, but can’t do anything until we have more space and money for me to set up a little workshop. I look forward to seeing more amazing things! =^__^=

    • Boy, do I hear you on the space/money issue. Started out working on my kitchen counter (hence the name Fresh Baked). Hated getting into a project and having to clean everything up to make dinner! Hang in there.

  16. AnnaBanana Says:

    Beautiful work! It’s so fun to see someone else’s journey as I work on my own techniques. It’s fun that you have access to so many wonderful tools.

  17. Michelle Stacey Says:

    Oh I get so excited when you post something new to see what it is and wish I could take all the classes you are taking with you. It would be such fun. I love the idea of using an old baseball bat for a mandrel, awesome and I’m sure I have one around somewhere. Thanks!

  18. Laureen Says:

    Lynda, you always inspire me…. Thank you. I enjoy your creations and admire your dedication to your art and your fortitude to keep on learning……

  19. Christie M Says:

    These are so cool- what gauge of copper sheeting did you use?

    • Hi, Christie,
      This was actually from a long roll of thin copper sheet, maybe 3 inches wide(from the class’s supply closet). Thinner than 20 g., guessing maybe 24? Very easy to cut with the shears.

  20. This sounds like so much fun! Metal working is going on my “bucket list” – this will be a nice “post” retirement project 🙂 The hearts are AWESOME! And don’t forget to share the “finished” bracelet!

    • Will do on the bracelet, Caty Ann! And, yes, for sure,retirement has certainly given me the sustained time to put into this little. venture. Do keep the metal work on your list…it’s a blast!

  21. kathy kirsch Says:

    You are learning to make some great things..someday I hope to take similar classes and inspire others like you do!!

  22. Pam B. Says:

    Happy Valentines Day! Love your work!!

  23. Love hearing about your classes. Everything you’ve been picturing is great!

  24. Emily Says:

    I found you from a comment you left on my blog. Happy to add you to my Blogroll. I’ll be following your work! I’m working on a project for the Bead Soup swap and one of the pieces I’m doing has a metal background that I’ve given a heat patina, although mine is light. I can’t seem to get the deep colors you are. I either go to heavy with the flame and get carbon all over it or it’s pale with colors. Is it a distance thing or a timing thing for getting the deeper hues you have in those gorgeous hearts? I’m having the same quandry about preservation as well. I do know that there are matte metal sealants, Swellegant offers one and it does seem to work pretty well unless your metal is dirty then it won’t adhere at all. I’m not sure what it is since it’s very thin, not like varnish or anything. I haven’t tried it over a heat patina. I’ll let you know when mine comes out of the tumbler and I’ll try it.

    • Thanks for your input, Emily. We’ll have to keep in touch as we both persevere in this quest! A couple of tips for heat patina. Make sure the copper is very clean before you hit it with the flame. And just keep playing with the flame. It’s a little dance. Small bursts of heat and back off for a bit, because once you start to get colors on the copper they keep changing after the heat’s off the metal. I sometimes have a small spray bottle of water in the other hand to stop the color change. I’ve also found that if you ‘pass by’ the color you want, if you can get another go around at the colors. However, eventually, the metal will just all go gray. You can pickle the piece to clean it up and have another try at it though. Can’t wait to see your Bead Soup!

  25. Zan Says:

    Those hearts are gorgeous and the head pins are perfection! I really enjoy reading about your metal working journey and am very inspired to get working on metal.

    Thank you!!!

  26. Jacki Crawford (OKJacki) Says:

    Lynda, saw your post on LimaBeads Designs page. LOVE those hearts. So glad to find your blog/website. What fun!! Would love to create a piece with one of your beautiful hearts. And the headpins are awesome!! Will anxiously await your pick for these great gifts. (p.s. I’m wanting a ‘big girl torch’ also!! Have to drop that hint for Mother’s Day, I suppose! Have a blessed day!!

  27. Michelle Says:

    Beautiful hearts – thanks for shaing your process and adventure. A baseball bat! Great idea.

  28. Shirley Says:

    Love your copper hearts! We do something with the Metalcrafter section of the Toledo Gem and Rockhound Club where we heat the copper & immediately put the metal in very hot water (boiling). It makes it looks like the piece was enameled. Haven’t had any color changes with this method.

  29. Shelley Says:

    Thanks for sharing with us – the copper hearts are beautiful, so rich and warm looking. The just look like they would be warm to the touch – well done!!

    • Hi Shelley! Yes, this deep patina was a bit more than I usually can get. Not sure if it was because I was using copper sheet metal, or the bigger torch…either way, or both…It was pure magic!

  30. Michele D Says:

    Those hearts are so cute! I tried sealing my heat treated copper with the Vintaj metal sealant. It did change the colors slightly, but I didn’t put the sealant on until several days after I had made them. I’m going to try again and put the sealant on after they cool. I hate how the beautiful colors fade!

  31. I also use a baseball bat as a bracelet mandrel! It works very well for my etched copper bracelets. Also, I am not sure why this is but several of my pieces of heat patina treated copper have kept their bright pink hues for years with no special treatment whatsoever.

  32. Elaine Gill Says:

    Love the color of your hearts! I have often wondered how it would be to use copper tubing for things so when I’m trolling around the hardware store I’ll have to take another look! I haven’t tried anything with a torch (and probably shouldn’t either with so many other projects on the go). And I certainly had not thought about using kitchen shears to cut metal sheets….I’ve seen a lot about punches and such but never about shears.Thanks for the info!

    • You are most welcome, Elaine! This is what I love about all these on line jewelry blogs and community site. There is so much generosity in teaching and sharing what others learn. I have certainly benefited greatly! P.S. if you happen to have a Harbor Freight nearby, they often have great shears for a buck or sometimes free with a coupon.

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