Saturday, 11 February 2012

Step by step - making a word necklace

Recently an old friend came into see me at the shop, and was surprised to see me drawing some of the names that had been ordered as necklaces. She had assumed that that part of the 'job' was done on the computer. I was taken aback as I thought that she would somehow know that I did the whole things myself from start to finish, but then again, why should she! So below is a short step by step sequence to show how I go about making the necklaces - from pencil to tracing paper, to silver and finally to the finished piece.

This is the initial roughs and you can see I've tried two different styles of 'H' to see how best to connect it to the letter 'e'. These roughs are about 10cm wide - almost double the final necklace size.
I've settled on the H and e style and have worked up the thickness of the letters, and drawn in the circles above the first and last letters where the chain will connect.

Then I trace over the pencil on to tracing paper with a very thin and scratchy pen, so that I have a single, clear outline.
Here I have reduced the word on the photocopier to about 60% of it's original size, and traced over it again. It's at this point that I reconsider all the areas that connect letters to each other as these are the weak points. I might thicken up these parts. 

With double-sided tape, I attach the traced name to the sheet silver, which I have previously put through my rolling mill to get the texture and pattern on the silver. Then I drill holes in the small parts that need piercing out - the centre of the e's and a. I also drill holes in the connector circles.

You can see here that I've put the blade of my saw through a hole so that I can cut out the centre of the letter.












A view of more of the saw through the silver (and a little of my messy desk!). This is  rather a large saw for such a  fiddly job, and I'm not entirely sure why I had chosen this one!
Once the centres are cut out, I go around the outside, again being careful of the areas where letters connect, and sometimes increasing these parts further. Then I remove the tracing paper and clean off any sticky residue. I often rub the surfaces to get rid of any really sharp edges.

I file all the edges inside and out, mainly using watchmakers files, or escapement files to give them their proper title, and attach the chain using oval jump rings. I add a clasp and ring to the end of the chains, and solder all the open jump rings. Then it's into the pickle to clean off the blackening that occurs when you solder, and then into the polisher. Ta-dah!

1 comment:

Dottie Designs said...

Thanks for sharing! That's brilliant!

Dottie x