Judy Larson's Make a Soldered Paperclip Chain, Contemporary Wire Jewelry. Making Chain, Chain Making , Coiling, Coiling Wire, Wire Coiling, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder. Paper clip chains are a classic and wonderful additions to any jewelry wardrobe.
Make a Soldered Paperclip Chain
by Judy Larson
  • Category: Contemporary
  • Technique(s): Chain Making, Coiling, Butane Torch Techniques
  • Skill Level: Intermediate
Paper clip chains are a classic and wonderful additions to any jewelry wardrobe.
This sophisticated chain is so sleek that it will not compete with a focal but will enhance whatever it is paired with.
Because of its simplicity, this chain is also the perfect chain to pair with other chain styles for a layered look.
It is amazing how just a little bit of wire can make such a great impact!

Materials

Round wire of any gauge or metal
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
Silver Filled Lobster Clasp w/ Ring 14X5mm - Pack of 1
S3-12
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $2.70
  • Gold Club Price: $2.03
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Tools

Silver Solder Paste Medium SS70 - 1/4 T.O.
SOL-822.15
  • SOL-822.15
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $18.95
  • Gold Club Price: $14.21
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Cut Lube
BUR-180.00
  • BUR-180.00
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $9.95
  • Gold Club Price: $7.46
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4 Saw Frame with Tension Screw
SAW-334.00
  • SAW-334.00
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $21.97
  • Gold Club Price: $16.48
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Blazer GB4001 Stingray Torch, Black
TRCH-4001
  • TRCH-4001
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $49.95
  • Gold Club Price: $37.46
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Pickle Pot, 16 Ounces
CLN-584.00
  • CLN-584.00
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $31.95
  • Gold Club Price: $23.96
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NATURE'S TOUCH CITRIC PICKLE, 2LB PLASTIC JAR
CLN-163.00
  • CLN-163.00
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $16.95
  • Gold Club Price: $12.71
Out of Stock
Thumlers Tumbler Model MP-1 Rock Tumbler Kit
G34-101
  • G34-101
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $119.11
  • Gold Club Price: $89.33
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6-1/2 Inch Heavy Duty Flat Nose Pliers with Wide Jaws
G2-94
  • G2-94
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $7.97
  • Gold Club Price: $5.98
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Acculoop Precision Round Nose
PLR-741.00
  • PLR-741.00
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $18.97
  • Gold Club Price: $14.23
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Instructions
Step 1
BASIC INFORMATION
When working up a new chain link, it is a good idea to practice with copper because it is inexpensive and easy to work with. Working up a few short lengths of copper paper clip chain in different sizes to have on hand will give you a better idea what wire gauge and size chain might be best paired with a new jewelry design.

The metal content as well as the temper of the wire used will slightly change the finished length of a link. Therefore, for your personal reference, it is important to keep track of measurements, sizes, gauges, metals, etc., of the chains YOU make on the blank chart. The Paper Clip Chain Chart contains my reference numbers for dead soft copper wire. My measurements are not standard by any means. They are just what I use for my chains. Use the chart as a starting point for your paper clip chains. Adjust the measurements to make chains that will work best with your vision for a piece of jewelry.
Read through the tutorial before starting the project. Follow all safety precautions pertaining to the tools and supplies being used and the space you are working in.

PART ONE-SOLDERED RINGS

For your practice chains, make approximately 3" long coils of each gauge wire desired. The chains in the first photo, from left to right, are made with 22 gauge, 20 gauge, 18 gauge, and 16 gauge copper shaped jump rings. The second photo shows the wire gauges with the corresponding mandrel sizes. If mandrels are not available or a coil cannot be made, lengths of wire needed for each ring are also included. After those rings are soldered, they can be formed into a round shape on a Round Bezel Mandrel or on one of the conical jaws of Acculoop Precision Round Nose Pliers.

Make the appropriate size coils and cut the jump rings. Since these are just practice chains, the cuts did not need to be precise and perfect. A Lindstrom multi-purpose shear was used to cut through the length of each coil to make the jump rings. The advantage of using the Lindstrom shear is, unlike a flush cutter, the tool does not need to be flipped and all the rings are exactly the same size. Even though the ring ends are not perfectly flush cut, they match up well and can be soldered together.
Judy Larson's Make a Soldered Paperclip Chain - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Making Chain, Chain Making , Coiling, Coiling Wire, Wire Coiling, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, soldered paperclip chain
Judy Larson's Make a Soldered Paperclip Chain - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Making Chain, Chain Making , Coiling, Coiling Wire, Wire Coiling, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, soldered paperclip chain
Judy Larson's Make a Soldered Paperclip Chain - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Making Chain, Chain Making , Coiling, Coiling Wire, Wire Coiling, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, soldered paperclip chain
Judy Larson's Make a Soldered Paperclip Chain - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Making Chain, Chain Making , Coiling, Coiling Wire, Wire Coiling, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, soldered paperclip chain
Judy Larson's Make a Soldered Paperclip Chain - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Making Chain, Chain Making , Coiling, Coiling Wire, Wire Coiling, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, soldered paperclip chain
Step 2
Close half the rings and open the other half.
Judy Larson's Make a Soldered Paperclip Chain - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Making Chain, Chain Making , Coiling, Coiling Wire, Wire Coiling, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, soldered paperclip chain
Step 3
Place a small amount of paste solder for copper under a jump ring seam on a soldering surface. Heat until the solder flows. Because these rings were meant as practice for size and shape, I was not careful with the amount of solder I used. Half of what is seen here would be more than enough, especially if the joins will be cleaned, which at this point I deemed not necessary for my project-see Step 8. Repeat the process with all the closed rings.

A butane torch head on a butane canister works well with the 16 and 18 gauge rings. A micro torch will work with the 20 and 22 gauge rings.
Judy Larson's Make a Soldered Paperclip Chain - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Making Chain, Chain Making , Coiling, Coiling Wire, Wire Coiling, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, soldered paperclip chain
Step 4
Connect two closed rings with an open ring. Close the open ring. Place the rings on a soldering surface. Make sure the soldered joins of the two closed rings are facing away from the new connecting ring. Place a small amount of past solder under the join of the new ring. Heat until the solder flows on the new join. If the heat is concentrated more on the new join than the two closed rings, the solder on the closed rings should not flow again. Repeat the process until all the closed rings are connected in sets of three.
Judy Larson's Make a Soldered Paperclip Chain - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Making Chain, Chain Making , Coiling, Coiling Wire, Wire Coiling, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, soldered paperclip chain
Step 5
Connect two sets of three rings with an open ring. Close the ring. Place the rings on a soldering surface, keeping the soldered sections on the closest closed rings facing away from the new ring. As before, if the heat is concentrated more on the new join than the two closed rings closest to it, the solder on those rings should not flow again. Heat until the solder flows on the new join. Repeat the process with all the remaining sets of three rings, making sets of 7 connected rings.
Judy Larson's Make a Soldered Paperclip Chain - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Making Chain, Chain Making , Coiling, Coiling Wire, Wire Coiling, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, soldered paperclip chain
Step 6
Connect two sets of 7 rings with an open ring. Solder that ring closed in the same manner as before.
Judy Larson's Make a Soldered Paperclip Chain - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Making Chain, Chain Making , Coiling, Coiling Wire, Wire Coiling, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, soldered paperclip chain
Step 7
Pickle, rinse, and dry the chains. The photo gives an idea of how many rings will make what length chain if the rings are not shaped for a paper clip chain.
Judy Larson's Make a Soldered Paperclip Chain - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Making Chain, Chain Making , Coiling, Coiling Wire, Wire Coiling, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, soldered paperclip chain
Step 8
If making the chain to wear, this would be the time to clean all the solder joins. Since I like to hide my joins at the ends of oval links where they will be hidden by other links covering them, I stretch them out by placing the tips of round nose pliers on the join. Paste solder is very stiff so when stretching a link into an oval, the end of the oval had an angle to it which could not be fixed. If the overflow solder had been cleaned off, there would have been no problem. Since I wanted these chains for visual comparison use only, I decided not to go through the trouble of cleaning the joins and switched to keeping the joins on the side of each link, where they would show. Again, this was not a problem as these short practice chains were not meant to be used in jewelry.
Judy Larson's Make a Soldered Paperclip Chain - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Making Chain, Chain Making , Coiling, Coiling Wire, Wire Coiling, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, soldered paperclip chain
Judy Larson's Make a Soldered Paperclip Chain - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Making Chain, Chain Making , Coiling, Coiling Wire, Wire Coiling, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, soldered paperclip chain
Step 9
Since the sides of each oval need to be flattened anyway, I personally found it was easier to make the flat-sided links using just flat nose pliers. This is more difficult to do with higher end pliers because the jaws are so smooth and the rings easily slip. Using inexpensive craft store flat nose pliers work best as their jaws are usually are not as smooth and can grip the rings more easily. First squeeze one end slightly, turn the jump ring around and squeeze the other end. Repeat this process until an oval shape is achieved.
Judy Larson's Make a Soldered Paperclip Chain - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Making Chain, Chain Making , Coiling, Coiling Wire, Wire Coiling, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, soldered paperclip chain
Judy Larson's Make a Soldered Paperclip Chain - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Making Chain, Chain Making , Coiling, Coiling Wire, Wire Coiling, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, soldered paperclip chain
Judy Larson's Make a Soldered Paperclip Chain - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Making Chain, Chain Making , Coiling, Coiling Wire, Wire Coiling, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, soldered paperclip chain
Step 10
When forming each link, make sure that the following links can move freely. If the link is compressed too much, the link next to it may not be able to move easily. Using a digital caliper can help when forming the first few links. After that, it is easy to obtain similar sizes/shapes. Remember, these are hand-made chains so slight differences in link size are to be expected, but these differences are not noticeable in this style of chain.
Judy Larson's Make a Soldered Paperclip Chain - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Making Chain, Chain Making , Coiling, Coiling Wire, Wire Coiling, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, soldered paperclip chain
Judy Larson's Make a Soldered Paperclip Chain - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Making Chain, Chain Making , Coiling, Coiling Wire, Wire Coiling, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, soldered paperclip chain
Step 11
It is time to tumble the chains. Lengths of chain can become knotted together during tumbling. to make this less likely to happen, connect the ends of each chain before tumbling for an hour or so.
Judy Larson's Make a Soldered Paperclip Chain - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Making Chain, Chain Making , Coiling, Coiling Wire, Wire Coiling, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, soldered paperclip chain
Step 12
Since they were not cleaned, soldered seams are visible on the side of each link. Even if they had been cleaned, there would still be a faint line. That is why it helps to position the seam at the end of each link.
Judy Larson's Make a Soldered Paperclip Chain - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Making Chain, Chain Making , Coiling, Coiling Wire, Wire Coiling, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, soldered paperclip chain
Step 13
Any clasp would work with a paper clip chain. Since these chains are so simple and sleek, a decorative clasp makes a perfect focal on them. An oval lobster claw clasp is in keeping with the shape of the chain.
Judy Larson's Make a Soldered Paperclip Chain - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Making Chain, Chain Making , Coiling, Coiling Wire, Wire Coiling, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, soldered paperclip chain