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Juli grew up a shy, middle child and is a woman of few words whose jewelry speaks volumes about herself, her feelings and her perspective on the world.  A modern alchemist of design, she melds industrial imagery and organic aesthetics together to create new and unique designs.  Juli's love for asymmetrical design was immediately made apparent in her very first bead craft:  a pair of mismatched earrings created when she was sixteen.  She developed her eclectic style by reading about and experimenting with every style and technique she could get her hands on, from stitched bead jewelry to riveted metals and from wire wrapping to precious metal clays.  No matter what Juli creates, her sense of humor & fun, love of the craft and sense of style come through.  Juli would probably blog more often if her rather large tabby cat, Rocky, didn't insinuate himself between her hands and the keyboard.  However, she does regularly update her facebook fan page for Juli's Jewels.  Juli is always paying-it-forward, not only on a personal level, but through her company with "just because" giveaways.  Juli's Jewels ArtFire artisan shop is jam packed with earrings, pendants, necklaces, anklets and more that are ready to ship and she loves to make custom orders for people too!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Little Box Pendant.

So today I am trying something different. I saw an article in the newest issue (Winter '10) of Belle Armoire Jewelry that intrigued me. It was "Vintage Lace Assemblages" by Sheri Replogle. So the style of the pieces that she made were totally not my style, but I liked the little box she made to create her assemblages in. She made a little box out of sheet copper and then soldered over it. Okay, so I thought I would give it a try. That is when I realized I lost my magazine...since when has not having the directions to something stopped me. So here we go...

Warning: you must have soldering skills to create this project.

What you need -

Sheet copper
Flux (and flux brush)
Pewter solder
Jump ring(s)
Something to cut the sheet copper (I used jewelers metal shears, but you could use a saw instead)
Copper foil tape
Soldering iron (with stand and a really wet sponge)
Soldering tile (the hot metal you are working on sits on this)
Locking hemostats or tweezers or something to hold the hot metal that isn't your bare fingers (no burns please)
A bench block and chasing hammer to flatten the jump ring a little

Okay, ready? Plug in your soldering iron, so that it will be hot when you are ready for it.

Carefully take the copper sheet out of it's package (you might want to wear gloves for this, as the metal edges can be very sharp).

Take the ruler and mark out the size you want the box to be plus 1/2 an inch for box sides. Carefully cut out the overall square for the box. Cut a notch 1/4 inch from each edge on the top and bottom of the square.

Score along the 1/4 inch lines on all four sides of the square and gently (with flat nose pliers if you have them) bend up the two short sides of the square. Then, bend up the long sides and wrap the long ends around the short sides.

Take the copper foil tape and wrap it over the edges of the box, including the overlapping pieces (this will help seal it). Burnish the tape down (I used a bone folder for this, but you can even use just your finger nails).

Turn your box upside down and place it on you soldering tile. Use your flux brush and liberally brush flux all over the back of your box. The flux cleans the metal and helps the solder flow.

Now for the fun part, soldering! Holding the soldering iron in your dominant hand and the solder in the other hand, melt some solder off the roll and onto your box. Start with a tinning layer (you know how to solder, so you know what this means) all around the box on the outside, and then flip the box over and do the same on the inside. Okay, so you can flip the box back over and build up the solder to the level that you prefer now. I like mine a little on the thick side.

When you have the solder on the box to your liking, get the jump ring settled into the locking hemostats (or hold it with the tweezers, if that's what you have) and brush it with flux. Brush the box with a bit more flux where you want to place the jump ring. Hold the jump ring in place and add a bit of solder to the tip of your soldering iron and flow it over the jump ring, securing it to the back of the box.

Clean the finished box with a damp cloth.
Voila! You can put anything you want into your new little box. I will probably make a little collage in mine an then seal it with resin. I'll let you know.


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