Last month, our Art Elements team mate Sue provided us all with a gorgeous glass scarab cabochon to work with. I decided to have a go at something I’ve been wanting to try for a while and made a fine silver chain to hang it. I took pics as I went along, and I’d like to share them with you for today’s post.
I’ve had this silver wire sitting in my drawer for months and I thought it was time I finally got it out and had a go, the process is frustrating, but not impossible… All you’ll need is some fine silver wire, (it must be fine as this process won’t work with sterling), and a torch.
I started out by twisting the wire on to a mandrel to create loops.
The loops were separated with wire cutters. The wire is really soft at this point so it cuts easily and you don’t need to worry about neat ends as they will be smoothed out during the fusing.
Overlap the ends of the loops slightly and place your rings on a heat proof surface.
Now for the hard bit…. gently heat the ends circling the flame around the join and not focusing the heat on one part of the ring for too long. The ends will melt and fuse together (hopefully!!) Don’t look away even for a second as it happens really quickly and it’s only a moment between a lovely fused ring and a melted blob. As soon as the silver melts you need to remove the heat immediately.
Once you have a few made, you can start to create the links for your necklace. I took two skewers and stretched open the ring. At this point you will see how well your fusing worked as if the join isn’t right, the ring will break apart.
Start to rotate the skewers in opposite directions to create the twist in the links. Gently pull the skewers apart as you’re twisting to make sure they twist evenly.
Twisting the wire work hardens the previously very soft silver and your links are now strong enough to hold their shape for your chain.
The great thing about fine silver is that it doesn’t mark from the flame so there is very little cleaning to do. If you want a nice polished finish to your links, tumble them before turning them in to something. I liked the nice matt finish that comes from the fusing though, so I left mine as they were.
I joined my links with fine silver wire wrapped seed beads to add a bit of colour.
And here’s the finished necklace…
The links also make great dangles!