My Sterling Rain ChainsA few weeks ago, I created a pair of copper rain chain dangle earrings as a prototype. I have been wearing them quite a bit recently and decided they are enough fun that I should make a pair in sterling silver. Yesterday, I deserted the vegetable garden and sat down at my bench.
Take 2: Doing It Right This Time
When I made the copper prototype, I punched out the tiny discs first, then drilled them. Difficult to say the least.
What follows is a better planned way to create these fun for summer earrings. First, I drew the ten circles I need on 28 gauge sterling sheet. I used a felt pen for that and to mark near the center of each circle. The center marks are not exact because I like the way they do not hang perfectly straight. In this photo, I am using my Dremel drill press (great tool) to quickly drill all ten center holes. Compared to holding each tiny circle with pliers to drill, this was a snap!
Next Steps: Punching . . .
Have I mentioned that I love good tools? With so many jewelry tasks, there are various ways to do the job. Long ago, I cut out discs by hand. A good way to practice sawing, but awfully slow. As for trying to hand cut ten one centimeter circles, it's a sure way to go crazy! With my disc cutter and a brass hammer, it took only a few moments and my sanity is intact.
. . . and DappingOnce I had all the predrilled circles on the bench, I used
This is another of the super useful tools my husband gave me some years ago. He drilled a piece of handrail wood to hold each of the steel dapping punches, too, so they are easy to pick out. As with the disc cutter, I use a brass hammer for striking because I don't want to damage these terrific tools.
Obviously, if it's a chain, it has links. To link the discs up, I used two centimeter lengths of sterling wire. I went with 18 gauge this time, as it was the finest in my stash. Bending it into loops proved a bit of a chore so, for future earrings, I will order some 22 gauge round wire.
Mini-assembly line: I measured and pencil marked two centimeters from the edge of my bench pin to speed cutting.
And Assembling the Dangles
Suddenly, my bench was cluttered with tools: mini anvil, wire cutters and several pliers. It takes quite an array to thread these beauties together!