Storing Your Metal
by Judy Larson
There are many ways to store sheet metal and wire. Find one that works for you where your metals will not get dinged, scratched, or bent and can stay relatively tarnish free.
Instructions
Since I am a hobby jeweler, I do not purchase a lot of metal sheet. However, I do have at least one or two 6"x 6" sheets of a variety of sizes that I use often. A 6"x 6" sheet fits in many sandwich bags and each gauge gets its' own bag. To keep the cut metal sheets from possibly scratching a pristine one, put a piece of thick acid free mixed media paper or thick scrapbook paper between them in the bag. A strip of anti-tarnish paper is slipped into the bag as well. The bags of sheet metal can still get jostled around in storage and scratched or dented, so maybe my storage solution can work for you. Each bag is labeled with the type of metal and gauge it contains. Inside the bag, every piece of metal, no matter the size, is labeled with the gauge. After using a piece of sheet and before all the unused pieces are put back in the bag, they are labeled with the gauge, a good habit to get into. There is no guesswork needed when an orphan piece is found, because it was already labeled. Smaller pieces are put in a separate labeled bag inside the larger bag.
Judy Larson's Storing Your Metal - , Store Wire Jewelry, , storing your metal
Cut a piece of cardboard to fit around the stack of bags, overlapping the ends at least an inch. Notice the cardboard cells are oriented crosswise, making the cardboard easier to fold around the metal stack. Cut a 17½" to 18" piece of ¾" wide elastic. Fold ½" of elastic down at one end of the strip. Place a 2" to 2½" piece of ¾" wide hook tape over the folded end, leaving a tab to make the closure easier to open. Sew around the hook tape, securing it to the elastic. Cut a 4 ¼" to 4 ½" piece of ¾" wide loop tape. Place the tape on the opposite end and opposite side of the elastic. Sew around the loop tape, securing it to the elastic. The elastic can hold a cardboard cover around 6"x12" sheet metal, too. There was no need for sides on this cover because the bags remain secure inside the cardboard wrap where I store them.
Judy Larson's Storing Your Metal - , Store Wire Jewelry, , storing your metal
Judy Larson's Storing Your Metal - , Store Wire Jewelry, , storing your metal
Many people store their wire and sheet metal in expandable files, and those are great. Years ago I was lucky enough to stumble onto an antique spool cabinet. Each drawer holds a different sheet metal and wire. The magazine holders below the cabinet, three of them found at a craft store and finished at home, could store large coils of wire in larger closeable bags. Mine hold spiral bound books of all my designs with notes, the tutorials I have written, and the classes I have taught. You could use them for your idea files. To the right of the drawers and shelves, long sections of copper pipe, bagged 6"x12" copper sheet and bagged extra large coils of heavy copper wire are contained in a scrapbook paper holder. Plastic storage boxes on the bottom shelf hold projects ready to start, separated again into closeable bags with anti-tarnish strips (because they may be there a while because I am easily distracted-lol). The whole cabinet-shelf combo takes up a very small amount of room. It is only 23" wide, 43" tall, and 14" deep.

Not everyone stumbles upon things that could work for storage. A small shelving unit from a big box store can work well for you. Find see through storage boxes that will work for you to separate your metals in a way that works for you. Keeping supplies in these boxes can help retard tarnishing of your metals. Save those little silica packets and throw them in the boxes to help absorb moisture. Remember to label everything. Being organized does not mean we will be less messy. But it does make it easier to put things away at the end of one project before beginning the next.
Judy Larson's Storing Your Metal - , Store Wire Jewelry, , storing your metal

Materials

20 Gauge Dead Soft Argentium Silver Sheet - 6 Inches
H19-20SM6
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 1 Inch
  • Price: $52.37
  • Gold Club Price: $39.28
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22 Gauge Dead Soft Fine Silver Sheet - 6 Inches
H9-22SM6
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 1 Inch
  • Price: $40.99
  • Gold Club Price: $30.74
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22 Gauge Dead Soft Sterling Silver Sheet - 6 Inches
H8-22SM6
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 1 Inch
  • Price: $37.42
  • Gold Club Price: $28.07
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Tools

French Shears - Straight Shear with Spring
SHR-530.01
  • SHR-530.01
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $25.97
  • Gold Club Price: $19.48
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  • Category: Storage
  • Technique(s): Storage