Lately, I’ve really become interested in metal, especially copper and everything that can be done with it. I love to manipulate it, fold it, hammer it and poke holes in it. But, I particularly like to take a torch to it. Copper is a warm metal that can achieve gorgeous patinas and it’s also affordable; if you mess something up, it doesn't hit the wallet too bad.
Let’s Get Fired Up
|Mesa - Hammered Copper Cuff Bracelet - Willow Creek Jewelry|
Copper, like other metals, will harden when worked which leads to difficulty in manipulation. This is where the annealing process comes in handy. Annealing results in malleability and reduces the internal stress on the metal, allowing you to move and bend your piece without it becoming brittle.
|Hammered Copper Fold Formed Pendant - HGWjewelrydesigns|
• Cut your desired shape from copper sheet or you can wait until the end of the creative process and cut the shape from the completed sheet. To begin with you might want to try a 26g or24g thickness.
|Autumn Maple Leaf Copper Dish - Rough Magic Creations|
• After the metal reaches the correct temperature, remove the flame and turn off the torch. Using metal pliers or tongs, quench the metal in water. You can also quench directly into a pickle bath; always use caution when using a pickle bath as not to splash any chemical. If using a pickle bath, use only copper tongs as other metals will contaminate your pickle. The pickle cleans off the fire scale; however, some people prefer this rustic look and choose to leave it or maybe sand back a small portion. After a pickle bath you can also go back with your torch and create some beautiful flame patinas.
• Rinse and dry the annealed metal.
|Aspen - Fold Formed Copper Earrings - Willow Creek Jewelry|
|Mixed Metal Copper and Silver Earrings - Eleven13|
• Once you’re happy with your creation you can sand any sharp edges, work harden or toss it in your tumbler.
I find this process to be very relaxing and stress relieving. Sometimes, hours will pass without me realizing it. I hope you’ll give it a try and enjoy it as much as I do.
Thank you for reading and happy creating!
|Scroll - Hammered Copper Earrings - Willow Creek Jewelry|