Making Tiny Dapped Metal Leaves
by Judy Larson
After a few rough sketches scaled to size, the parts for a 2¼" finished length cross I was making were assembled in two different iterations. I could not figure out why I didn't like them because I still liked the sketches.

When I can't tell why I don't like a design or can't decide on the direction to go, I send a progress photo to three close friends to ask for thoughts and advice. Thank heavens they are not shy about letting me know what they think. At the very least, I always take bits and pieces of their advice and it makes all the difference in the piece I am working on. Since the cross was meant for a woman, this design, more on the masculine side, was a thumbs down.
Instructions
Sometimes one of them will see something the rest of us don't. That was the case with the cross. As soon as the reply "I see serpents" came, I saw them, too, and knew the leaves had to go. There is nothing wrong with the leaves. After all, I used two sizes of them all over my Woodland Fairy Christmas Ornaments where they do not give off that vibe. They just were not going to work with this piece. Since this design was also not feminine enough, a change in course was needed.

Side note: I have since thrown the original "serpent" sketch away so I don't forget and make the same mistake twice.
Judy Larson's Making Tiny Dapped Metal Leaves - , General Education, Cutting, Cutting Tool, Cutters, Dapping, Dapping Jewelry, making tiny dapped leaves
Judy Larson's Making Tiny Dapped Metal Leaves - , General Education, Cutting, Cutting Tool, Cutters, Dapping, Dapping Jewelry, making tiny dapped leaves
Out came all my leaf stamps and I could see again why I would NOT be using the long, skinny leaf stamps. If the stem was left on the small leaf, it would appear narrow, too. The mini leaf stamps are so small I would never consider cutting them out. Since the design idea changed to include vines and more leaves, and a flower bud, the leaves needed to be small but three-dimensional. Hmm.....maybe if the stem was left off the stamped small leaf it might work.
Judy Larson's Making Tiny Dapped Metal Leaves - , General Education, Cutting, Cutting Tool, Cutters, Dapping, Dapping Jewelry, leaf stamps
Judy Larson's Making Tiny Dapped Metal Leaves - , General Education, Cutting, Cutting Tool, Cutters, Dapping, Dapping Jewelry, leaf stamps
My box of larger 24 gauge scrap Argentium silver pieces comes in handy for many things, usually leaves. These leaves are so tiny that many more would be needed than those shown here.
Judy Larson's Making Tiny Dapped Metal Leaves - , General Education, Cutting, Cutting Tool, Cutters, Dapping, Dapping Jewelry, scrap sheet
Because of their narrow jaws, I found that only French shears and Lindstrom shears would work for me to cut around these tiny leaves. The jaws of the regular shears on the right may not seem much thicker, but it makes a huge difference cutting small pieces when flat nose pliers are used to hold the piece while cutting the second side. I chose Lindstrom shears because the thick handle grip is easier on my hands.
Judy Larson's Making Tiny Dapped Metal Leaves - , General Education, Cutting, Cutting Tool, Cutters, Dapping, Dapping Jewelry, shears
Tips for cutting:

If the leaves are stamped close together as those in the above photo, cut the leaves apart before cutting the shapes out.

Cut the leaf stem off. The stem makes a stamped image look like a leaf but is not needed when using the leaf in a three-dimensional design.

It is hard to trim the metal from the entire side of a leaf in one cut. Trim metal from the side of the leaf a bit at a time.

The metal may be able to be held by hand when cutting the first side of the leaf, but not the second side. Grasp the cut edge of the leaf with the tips of flat nose pliers, shifting when cutting the metal away in bits. Do not worry if the pliers make impressions on the leaf. It will be dapped which will soften or remove those impressions entirely.
Judy Larson's Making Tiny Dapped Metal Leaves - , General Education, Cutting, Cutting Tool, Cutters, Dapping, Dapping Jewelry, cutting metal
Judy Larson's Making Tiny Dapped Metal Leaves - , General Education, Cutting, Cutting Tool, Cutters, Dapping, Dapping Jewelry, cutting metal
Judy Larson's Making Tiny Dapped Metal Leaves - , General Education, Cutting, Cutting Tool, Cutters, Dapping, Dapping Jewelry, cutting metal
Slightly shaping the leaves makes them easier to use as well as making them look a bit more realistic. The easiest way to put the cut leaf stamped side down in the chosen well of a metal dapping block is to place it face down on the table of the block and slide it over into the well with a finger.

Do NOT use a hammer on the dapping punch to shape the leaf as the leaf design impression could be destroyed. Smash the punch by hand into the dapping well onto the leaf once or twice. The leaf will be shaped, smoothed, and then ready to be used.
Judy Larson's Making Tiny Dapped Metal Leaves - , General Education, Cutting, Cutting Tool, Cutters, Dapping, Dapping Jewelry, dapping metal
Judy Larson's Making Tiny Dapped Metal Leaves - , General Education, Cutting, Cutting Tool, Cutters, Dapping, Dapping Jewelry, dapping metal
Judy Larson's Making Tiny Dapped Metal Leaves - , General Education, Cutting, Cutting Tool, Cutters, Dapping, Dapping Jewelry, dapping metal
Because the design was changed to use vines for a more feminine feel, the slight curve in the leaves made them easier to set on the wire vines to solder in place. Flat leaves would be noticeably flat whereas the shaped leaves fit into and flow with the design much better. It really is amazing how much just a little dimension can add to the finished look.
Judy Larson's Making Tiny Dapped Metal Leaves - , General Education, Cutting, Cutting Tool, Cutters, Dapping, Dapping Jewelry, stone and metal cross pendant

Materials

No materials listed

Tools

1 1/2 Inch Steel Dapping Block
G17-3
  • G17-3
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $16.57
  • Gold Club Price: $12.43
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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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Xuron Sheer - Non Serrated
SHR-691.81
  • SHR-691.81
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $24.95
  • Gold Club Price: $18.71
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  • Category: General Education
  • Technique(s): Cutting, Dapping