Creating a satin finish with a texturing wheel
by Kylie Jones
A texturing wheel is used in a rotary tool or flex shaft to create a satin finish. This satin finish might also be called a frosted, evenly scratched, or semi-matte finish. This finish still reflects light but in a very different way from a polished surface.
Why would you want to finish a piece of jewelry with a scratched surface? Even a highly polished surface has tiny, very uniform scratches. The trick for a uniform metal finish is that the surface reflects the light evenly and looks the same throughout. The frosted finish is uniform and reflects light back in a diffused way rather than reflecting light back as a mirror does. So this is desirable if you want an enduring even finish that doesn't require a lot of maintenance. Mirror finish surfaces show up imperfections like small scratches that are produced in everyday wear and tear and these need to be polished away. Many customers won't want to put a lot of time into caring for highly polished jewelry.
A frosted finish can also be used as a contrast in a design to create more interest. On round wire the frosted finish isn't as obvious as on a flat surface but you can see in the photos that it does still offer a point of difference that might be useful to enhance the interest in your designs.
Kylie Jones's Creating a satin finish with a texturing wheel - , Metalwork, Texturing, texturing wheel
Kylie Jones's Creating a satin finish with a texturing wheel - , Metalwork, Texturing, texturing wheel
If you photograph your designs a mirror finish may drive you crazy, particularly convex surfaces that can reflect objects from all angles. A satin finish is much easier to photograph as it doesn't reflect clearly defined objects and even the black from your camera is muted. You can see in the photo of the 3 rings that the left ring is reflecting the camera and surrounds, including me, but on the 2 frosted rings the finish is more dominant than the reflection.
The top wire has a frosted surface.

The difference with wire is not as obvious as flat metal but it still offers a point of difference in a design.

Kylie Jones's Creating a satin finish with a texturing wheel - , Metalwork, Texturing, texturing wheel
Kylie Jones's Creating a satin finish with a texturing wheel - , Metalwork, Texturing, texturing wheel
Kylie Jones's Creating a satin finish with a texturing wheel - , Metalwork, Texturing, texturing wheel
Kylie Jones's Creating a satin finish with a texturing wheel - , Metalwork, Texturing, texturing wheel
The texturing wheel is an easy tool to use. It comes already mounted on a mandrel so it is ready to go into your handpiece. These wheels are like a bushy scrubbing brush and they don't dig into the metal and create deep scratches so you don't need to be worried about gouging your designs. If you don't like the finish you can easily remove it by lightly sanding it back.

If you don't have a rotary tool or flex shaft you can get a frosted finish with sandpaper, polishing papers, or polishing pads. Polishing paper is a better choice than sandpaper for a more even surface.
You can vary the texture of the finish by changing the direction of the brush. Short strokes across the surface create a more frosted finish whereas long fluid strokes create a less obviously scratched or frosted surface.
Kylie Jones's Creating a satin finish with a texturing wheel - , Metalwork, Texturing, texturing wheel
Kylie Jones's Creating a satin finish with a texturing wheel - , Metalwork, Texturing, texturing wheel

Materials

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Tools

Eurotool Flex Shaft System 1/6 Horsepower with Reversible Motor
HDP-180.00
  • HDP-180.00
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $169.95
  • Gold Club Price: $127.46
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MINI TEXTURING BRUSH- FLEXIBLE- 1"
BRS-808.00
  • BRS-808.00
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $2.95
  • Gold Club Price: $2.21
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Mini-Texturing Wheels, Flexible Brushes, 3/4 Inch
BRS-806.00
  • BRS-806.00
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $2.97
  • Gold Club Price: $2.23
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  • Category: Metalwork
  • Technique(s): Texturing