Judy Larson's Negative Space Earrings, Metalwork. Cutting, Cutting Tool, Cutters, Dapping, Dapping Jewelry, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder. I like to cram as many different pieces as possible together onto a piece of metal to conserve as much of it as possible.
Negative Space Earrings
by Judy Larson
  • Category: Metalwork
  • Technique(s): Cutting, Dapping, Butane Torch Techniques
  • Skill Level: Intermediate
I like to cram as many different pieces as possible together onto a piece of metal to conserve as much of it as possible. I broke with my usual way of doing things and cut out just two pair of Tropical Leaf Earrings. I could not throw the leftover pieces into the scrap box so left them on my work surface. It took me several months to see what others probably saw immediately...the negative space scrap would work for earrings, too!

Materials

Negative space sheet from Tropical Leaf Earrings
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
26 Gauge Dead Soft Argentium Silver Sheet - 6 Inches
H19-26SM6
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 1 Inch
  • Price: $21.38
  • Gold Club Price: $16.04
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7 Piece Mini TruStrike Hammer Set with Stand
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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2.5mm 22 gauge sterling jump rings
  • Lesson Quantity: 2.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 2.00 each
22 Gauge Round Half Hard Argentium .930 Silver Wire
H19-22H
  • Lesson Quantity: 3.00 inches
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 1FT
  • Price: $1.24
  • Gold Club Price: $0.93
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Post earring findings
  • Lesson Quantity: 2.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 2.00 each
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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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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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5/0 saw blades
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
Euro Corner Punch Plier 1.50mm
PLR-133.80
  • PLR-133.80
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $22.95
  • Gold Club Price: $17.21
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Premium Steel Bench Block 2 1/2 X 2 1/2
G17-9
  • G17-9
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $15.97
  • Gold Club Price: $11.98
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5/8 Inch Double Rubber/Nylon Head Hammer - Pack of 1
G3-26
  • G3-26
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $4.97
  • Gold Club Price: $3.73
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Blazer Big Buddy Turbo Torch, Black
TRCH-8010
  • TRCH-8010
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $40.00
  • Gold Club Price: $30.00
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Magnesia Soldering Block
SOL-455.00
  • SOL-455.00
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $7.95
  • Gold Club Price: $5.96
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Chain Nose Wire Plier
G2-508
  • G2-508
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $32.95
  • Gold Club Price: $24.71
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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
GROBET FILE - BARRETTE CUT 4, 6"
FIL-31.031
  • FIL-31.031
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $35.10
  • Gold Club Price: $26.33
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WET/DRY PAPER 9 X 11 ASST- 20PC- 2EA GRIT 180-3000
ABR-500.90
  • ABR-500.90
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $24.95
  • Gold Club Price: $18.71
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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 space you are working in. These earrings can be made with any negative space frame.

After carefully cutting a shape from sheet metal, you may find that you like the negative space left behind. If I had been thinking ahead to these earrings, I would have cut the Tropical Leaf earrings out differently. I would have started at the center top as that area will be filed down in Step 10. The saw cut would not be nearly as noticeable there.

In Step 5, a jump ring is placed in the rounded-out area at the top of the negative space leaf frame. Use a round file to adjust the curve to fit the size jump ring that will be used.
Judy Larson's Negative Space Earrings - , Metalwork, Cutting, Cutting Tool, Cutters, Dapping, Dapping Jewelry, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, negative space earrings
Judy Larson's Negative Space Earrings - , Metalwork, Cutting, Cutting Tool, Cutters, Dapping, Dapping Jewelry, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, negative space earrings
Step 2
Using the negative space piece as a guide, cut a piece of 26 gauge sheet the same size or a bit larger. Adding texture to this sheet adds visual interest to the finished earrings. Use a rolling mill texture sheet to add texture or lightly texture the sheet with a Mini TruStrike Designer/Texture Hammer. The texture should not be too deep or the negative space frame may not adhere well to the textured backing during soldering.
Judy Larson's Negative Space Earrings - , Metalwork, Cutting, Cutting Tool, Cutters, Dapping, Dapping Jewelry, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, negative space earrings
Step 3
To solder together properly, it is important that both pieces are flat. They may need to be annealed. After annealing, push the saw cuts on the negative space frame together. Flatten the piece on a bench block, re-aligning the saw cuts as necessary. Flatten the textured backing.
Step 4
Spread an even layer of medium paste solder over the back of the negative space frame in the areas where it will be attached to the textured backing. Place extra paste solder on the saw cuts in the frame.
Judy Larson's Negative Space Earrings - , Metalwork, Cutting, Cutting Tool, Cutters, Dapping, Dapping Jewelry, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, negative space earrings
Step 5
Position the frame solder side down on the textured backing. Press it into place. Place medium paste solder on the back of jump rings that fit the curve at the top of the frame. Press them into place.
Judy Larson's Negative Space Earrings - , Metalwork, Cutting, Cutting Tool, Cutters, Dapping, Dapping Jewelry, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, negative space earrings
Step 6
The length of the wire cut for the midrib of the leaf depends upon the size of the leaf and personal choice. Flush cut both ends of the wire. Curve the wire to the curve of the leaf. Put medium paste solder on the back of the wire. Press the wire into place, making sure that one wire end pushes against the jump ring.
Judy Larson's Negative Space Earrings - , Metalwork, Cutting, Cutting Tool, Cutters, Dapping, Dapping Jewelry, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, negative space earrings
Step 7
Place the piece on a soldering surface. Gradually heat the piece around the outside and down the center between the two frames. Concentrate more on the double layers of metal rather than the backing. Heat until the solder flows. Allow to cool naturally. Check to make sure the solder flowed under the inner frame sections of the leaf.
Note: The two saw cuts in the frame did not solder together, even though they were pushed together as tightly as possible before placing on the backing. As the metal "relaxed" when being heated, it went back to the original shape with a slight opening in the saw cuts. This is why the Tropical Leaves earring shapes should have been cut starting at the top.
Step 8
Pickle, rinse, and dry the piece.
Judy Larson's Negative Space Earrings - , Metalwork, Cutting, Cutting Tool, Cutters, Dapping, Dapping Jewelry, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, negative space earrings
Step 9
Cut around each leaf leaving a 1/16" frame. The width of the frame here was determined by the distance between the two frames. These earrings can be cut with shears, but it will be difficult because the two layers of metal soldered together are quite thick.
Pro Tip: It may be easier to follow a line drawn with an ultra fine point retractable Sharpie marker.
Judy Larson's Negative Space Earrings - , Metalwork, Cutting, Cutting Tool, Cutters, Dapping, Dapping Jewelry, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, negative space earrings
Judy Larson's Negative Space Earrings - , Metalwork, Cutting, Cutting Tool, Cutters, Dapping, Dapping Jewelry, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, negative space earrings
Judy Larson's Negative Space Earrings - , Metalwork, Cutting, Cutting Tool, Cutters, Dapping, Dapping Jewelry, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, negative space earrings
Step 10
Use files and sanding sponges to refine the outer edge of each earring. File away most of the frame above the jump rings to make it easier for them to attach to the selected earring findings.
Judy Larson's Negative Space Earrings - , Metalwork, Cutting, Cutting Tool, Cutters, Dapping, Dapping Jewelry, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, negative space earrings
Judy Larson's Negative Space Earrings - , Metalwork, Cutting, Cutting Tool, Cutters, Dapping, Dapping Jewelry, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, negative space earrings
Step 11
Tumbling the pieces for several hours will polish them.
Step 12
The earrings are pretty the way they are, but adding patina will bring out the texture of the backing as well as the design shape of the negative space frame.
Step 13
Remove patina from the high points of each piece using 0000 steel wool.
Step 14
Many earring shapes can benefit from a bit of shaping. A subtle curve can make all the difference in how an earring hangs and frames the face.
Judy Larson's Negative Space Earrings - , Metalwork, Cutting, Cutting Tool, Cutters, Dapping, Dapping Jewelry, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, negative space earrings
Judy Larson's Negative Space Earrings - , Metalwork, Cutting, Cutting Tool, Cutters, Dapping, Dapping Jewelry, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, negative space earrings
Step 15
Using steel wool to remove excess patina leaves a satin finish. If more of a shine is desired, tumble the pieces again for 20 to 30 minutes.
Step 16
Attach the finished leaves to earring findings.
Judy Larson's Negative Space Earrings - , Metalwork, Cutting, Cutting Tool, Cutters, Dapping, Dapping Jewelry, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, negative space earrings