Judy Larson's Copper Feather Earrings, Metalwork. Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder. Working with copper sheet is a good way to get experience without using expensive silver.

Copper Feather Earrings

by Judy Larson
  • Category: Metalwork
  • Technique(s): Butane Torch Techniques
  • Skill Level: Beginner
Working with copper sheet is a good way to get experience without using expensive silver. And this pattern is also a great exercise for learning to saw. No need to worry as much about mistakes when you're using copper.

Materials

22 Gauge 0.025 Dead Soft Copper Sheet Metal - 6x12 Inch
MET-705.22M
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $13.62
  • Gold Club Price: $10.22
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20 Gauge Round Half Hard Copper Wire
H11-20H
  • Lesson Quantity: 9.00 inches
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 1FT
  • Price: $0.50
  • Gold Club Price: $0.37
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Sterling Silver Earwires 21.5mm w/ 1.5mm Bead - Pack of 2
K19-49
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $2.34
  • Gold Club Price: $1.76
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Tools

Copper Solder Paste, 1/2 ozt, Soft
SOL-824.10
  • SOL-824.10
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $9.95
  • Gold Club Price: $7.46
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Basic Sawing Kit
G15-7
  • G15-7
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $34.95
  • Gold Club Price: $26.21
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Solderite Soldering Board 6 Inch by 12 Inch Soft
SOL-421.20
  • SOL-421.20
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $21.95
  • Gold Club Price: $16.46
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Blazer ES-1000 Angled Head Micro Torch, Black
TRCH-1002
  • TRCH-1002
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $74.95
  • Gold Club Price: $56.21
Out of Stock
6 Step Barrel Plier - Pack of 1
G2-503
  • G2-503
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $14.95
  • Gold Club Price: $11.21
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6.5 Inch Long Flat Nose Pliers - Pack of 1
G2-74
  • G2-74
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $9.87
  • Gold Club Price: $7.40
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5 1/2 Inch Nylon Flat Jaw Pliers with Replacement Jaws
G2-1
  • G2-1
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $9.97
  • Gold Club Price: $7.48
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Round Nose Wire Pliers
G2-507
  • G2-507
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $32.95
  • Gold Club Price: $24.71
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7 Piece Mini TruStrike Hammer Set with Stand
HAM-520.70
  • HAM-520.70
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $140.54
  • Gold Club Price: $105.40
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Steel and Rubber Bench Block 4x4 Inches
G17-44
  • G17-44
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $29.95
  • Gold Club Price: $22.46
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Steel Brush
BRS-967.00
  • BRS-967.00
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $8.25
  • Gold Club Price: $6.19
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Economy Needle File Set, 6 Piece Set
FIL-993.00
  • FIL-993.00
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $7.95
  • Gold Club Price: $5.96
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SANDING SPONGES ASST- 5PC- 1EA GRIT 100-400
ABR-600.90
  • ABR-600.90
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $9.95
  • Gold Club Price: $7.46
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Liver of Sulphur Gel, 1 Ounce Bottle
SOL-610.01
  • SOL-610.01
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $9.95
  • Gold Club Price: $7.46
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12 Piece Dapping Punch Set with Wooden Base
G17-6
  • G17-6
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $16.97
  • Gold Club Price: $12.73
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Instructions
Step 1
Read through the tutorial before starting the project. Follow all safety precautions pertaining to the tools and supplies being used and the area you are working in.

Enlarge or reduce the template to suit your needs.
Judy Larson's Copper Feather Earrings - , Metalwork, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, copper feather earrings
Step 2
Turn the templates into stickers or coat the back with stick glue or rubber cement to adhere to the sheet metal. If not adhering the templates to metal, cut them out to trace around them with an ultra fine point retractable Sharpie marker on the sheet metal.
Judy Larson's Copper Feather Earrings - , Metalwork, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, copper feather earrings
Step 3
Transfer the designs to sheet metal. I used 22 gauge sheet metal because I'm going to heavily texture the metal. If lighter weight earrings are desired, use 24 gauge sheet metal. The texturing will not be quite as deep.
Step 4
These designs are best cut out using a saw with a number 3/0 blade. The little "V's" on the sides of the feathers will be difficult to cut out with shears in 22 gauge sheet metal. Try using 24 gauge sheet metal and the feather template with the straight shaft instead if shears will be used.
Remove the paper templates. Use files and sanding pads to smooth around each piece, paying particular attention to any sharp edges.
Judy Larson's Copper Feather Earrings - , Metalwork, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, copper feather earrings
Judy Larson's Copper Feather Earrings - , Metalwork, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, copper feather earrings
Step 5
Transfer the lines from the templates to the metal feathers with an ultra fine point retractable Sharpie marker, creating mirror image pairs.
Judy Larson's Copper Feather Earrings - , Metalwork, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, copper feather earrings
Step 6
Texture each feather on either side of the center feather shaft line using the narrower side of the Mini TruStrike Sharp Designer Hammer. The tips of each feather can be textured or left smooth.
Judy Larson's Copper Feather Earrings - , Metalwork, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, copper feather earrings
Judy Larson's Copper Feather Earrings - , Metalwork, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, copper feather earrings
Step 7
Cut a 4½" (114mm) length of wire for each feather shaft. 18 gauge wire was used here, but 20 gauge works just as well.
Step 8
Curve the feather shaft wires to mimic the curve of the drawn line for each feather.
Judy Larson's Copper Feather Earrings - , Metalwork, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, copper feather earrings
Step 9
Place a small amount of paste solder along the drawn shaft line on each feather. Press the shaft wire into the solder, making sure the tip of the wire does not go past the end point of the drawn line. Note: If desired, the wire can be placed the full length of the feather. If this is done, the wire must be cut at least a half inch (12mm) longer.

Heat until the solder flows. Cool and then check to make sure the full length of the wire is adhered the feather. Place a bit more paste solder in those places where the wire is not adhered and re-solder. Use a solder pick to press the wire down into the molten solder where needed.
Pro Tip: Transferring the pieces to a bench block will help them to cool more quickly.
Judy Larson's Copper Feather Earrings - , Metalwork, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, copper feather earrings
Step 10
Pickle, rinse, and dry the feathers with the attached wires before going on to the next step.
Step 11
Whichever side of the feather the wire is bent toward for the start of a wire wrapped loop is the side on which the curled wire end will be placed after the loop is completed. Bend the wire of each earring in the direction desired, making sure the bent wires are mirror images in each pair.
Judy Larson's Copper Feather Earrings - , Metalwork, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, copper feather earrings
Step 12
Make a loop centered on top of the bend corner. Notice that the wire was looped in the front of the wire shaft on all the feathers.
Pro Tip: I have gotten in the habit of making the loop on most of my wire wrapped loops using the smallest step of a 6 step barrel pliers. It seems to have the right amount of space inside the loop for most jewelry applications I use it on.
Judy Larson's Copper Feather Earrings - , Metalwork, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, copper feather earrings
Step 13
Wrap the shank of the wire wrapped loop, ending the wire on top of the feather. The wire on each feather should be pointing in the same direction as it was in step 10.
Judy Larson's Copper Feather Earrings - , Metalwork, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, copper feather earrings
Step 14
Trim the wire tail to 11/16" (17mm) in length.
Judy Larson's Copper Feather Earrings - , Metalwork, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, copper feather earrings
Step 15
Curl the wire end using round and flat nose pliers. Use soft jaw pliers to press into place. There is no need to solder the curls into place EXCEPT if the earrings will be worn by someone with long hair. Hair can get caught under the curl. Use your own judgement. The same copper paste solder can be used to secure the curl in place. Pickle, rinse, and dry each piece again before continuing.
Judy Larson's Copper Feather Earrings - , Metalwork, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, copper feather earrings
Step 16
File and sand the wire shaft at the end of the feather. After it looks flat, use sanding sponges to round and soften the wire tip.
Judy Larson's Copper Feather Earrings - , Metalwork, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, copper feather earrings
Judy Larson's Copper Feather Earrings - , Metalwork, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, copper feather earrings
Step 17
Use a steel brush to bring up a shine on the front and back of each feather.
Judy Larson's Copper Feather Earrings - , Metalwork, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, copper feather earrings
Step 18
Place feather earrings on a bench block. Use a variety of sizes of dapping punches to stamp divots on each earring.
Judy Larson's Copper Feather Earrings - , Metalwork, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, copper feather earrings
Judy Larson's Copper Feather Earrings - , Metalwork, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, copper feather earrings
Step 19
Texture the edge of each feather with a Mini TruStrike Sharp Designer Hammer, creating a slightly ruffled edge.
Judy Larson's Copper Feather Earrings - , Metalwork, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, copper feather earrings
Step 20
Make random strikes the length of the feather shaft with a Mini TruStrike Sharp Designer Hammer.
Judy Larson's Copper Feather Earrings - , Metalwork, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, copper feather earrings
Judy Larson's Copper Feather Earrings - , Metalwork, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, copper feather earrings
Step 21
Feathers are usually quite flat, but these feathers will benefit from added dimension of some bends here and there using soft jaw tools. Because of all the texturing and manipulation of the metal, tumbling is not necessary but can be done if desired.
Judy Larson's Copper Feather Earrings - , Metalwork, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, copper feather earrings
Judy Larson's Copper Feather Earrings - , Metalwork, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, copper feather earrings
Step 22
Liver of sulfur patina adds a richness and depth to the feathers after buffing with steel wool.
Judy Larson's Copper Feather Earrings - , Metalwork, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, copper feather earrings
Step 23
Add ear wires.
Pro Tip: I like the look of niobium ear wires, a very hypo-allergenic metal, and make them to use on all my copper earrings.
Judy Larson's Copper Feather Earrings - , Metalwork, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, copper feather earrings