Okay, on to today's post. I made something really fun that I think you'll like! I know the title of my post has you curious.....but stay with me and wait to see the finished product at the end!
I'm creating a soldered piece today! I know, I know.....you're scared right? First off, you've never soldered before and you're scared of the soldering gun! And secondly, I know what you're thinking.....grrrrreat.......Mish is going to show us some more stuff that will empty out pocket books! Welll, yes I am.....because it's soooo much fun! I am not an expert by any means, but who cares. It's fun and I guarantee you that with a little practice, you can do it too!
I'm not going to give step by step instructions for how to solder. Ellen has a great tutorial on her blog HERE so no need for me to repeat the basic soldering instructions. I just want to show you some of the cool tools. Everything I've used on my project can be found under the soldering section of Ellen's store HERE.
First, I stamped and colored a new Karen Lockhart beach chair image with Copic markers. The colors are show below.
Then I cut my image down to a 2" square. I used the actual Memory Glass pieces and just placed a piece over my image. This allows me to see exactly what part of my image I want to cut. I love Tim Holtz's new teflon craft scissors for this type of cutting. Sharp and a comfy grip. I also selected a piece of K and Company patterned paper for the back of my soldered piece. The back of your piece should always be just as decorative as the front. You can use snippets of patterned paper, old sheet music, vintage wall paper,etc.
Now that I have my two pieces under glass, I'm ready to assemble my piece for soldering. Below, my photo shows lots of soldering tools. There's the soldering gun in it's stand, some clamps, a little bottle of flux, copper tape, solder, the 2 x 2 Memory glass, and a bone folder. All of these items except for the glass and the bone folder come in a great starter kit by Simply Swank(isn't that name a hoot, I love it.....and those two girls at Simply Swank are CUTIE PIES if I do say so myself!) I'm sure they'll be at CHA again so be sure to stop by their booth....GORGEOUS soldered pieces! Okay now...first thing you do is make sure your glass pieces are clean on both sides. You can use glass cleaner and a lint free cloth to do this. Then it's time to add the Copper Foil Tape. This is actual copper tape with a sticky side. Usually it comes in straight lines but today I'm using a fun Wavy Copper Tape to resemble waves at the beach. COOOOOOL! The copper tape is what the solder sticks to....the silver stuff you see when you look at the finished piece. All you have to do is peel off the backing and center your glass *sandwich* on the tape. I start at one corner and just rotate my piece til all four sides are covered. It's easiest for me if I keep turn the square *sandwich* on my work surface. By the way, I use one of those silicone work mats when soldering....it's heat proof and wipes clean.
Once you've got the Copper Tape wrapped around your piece, you'll need to snip off the end and then fold the edges down on both sides. For my piece today, I will have the wavy edges on the front and a straight edge on the back. I carefully use my bone folder to burnish down on the edges......or flatten the edges and smooth them all out. Be careful or you can break the glass. We don't want that.
Next you're ready to solder. See Ellen's blog for soldering tutorials. In a nutshell, you add the liquid flux to all the exposed Copper Tape. This is what the solder sticks to. The solder is the silver stuff that looks like a long thick piece of wire. As you touch your heat gun to the flux and solder at the same time, the solder melts onto the flux. It's SOOO cool to see, but a little scary that first time. It's okay to be scared, I was too!!! You must use clamps to hold your piece or you will burn yourself. The clamps pictured below come with the starter kit. The little locking pliers are great for gripping the scrolls or jump rings that you attach to hang the soldered piece. The locking pliers and scrolls/jump rings are sold separately at Ellen's store. Once you have your piece all soldered....and you want to say a million bad words because you can't get the flippin' scroll piece soldered on.......(need help with that part!).........your finished piece will be dirty. You can purchase the Super Shiny Solder Polish to clean it up. Just apply with a brush and wipe clean with a cloth or paper towel. Now, here's what you've been waiting for.....the finished soldered piece. Isn't it pretty! There's such a homemade feel to soldered pieces that I just love. I particularly think they go well with all the vintage stuff I like. I'm hoping to make labels for all my wire baskets in my craft room. Actually I think every single item in my home needs a soldered label. Adding that to my list! And here's the final use for my soldered piece......a new fangled BIKINI DRYER!!!!!!!!!! I took a vintage hanger that I acquired at an antique store and tied the soldered piece to the hanger part. The old clothespins can be used to hang my bikinis to dry.
Pause. Pause. Okay, now that you are done laughing at the thought of my butt fitting into THAT cute bikini in the photo, I will tell the truth. You will never see me in a bikini. However, my cute little reds love their bikinis and have LOTS of them. Usually, they end up on the shower floor and I find them all dried stiff about a week later. But now the girls have a special place to dry their bikinis. What do you think? Should I get a patent? Snort!
Seriously though, I hope you will try the soldering if you think it's something you would enjoy. It's a little intimidating but so much fun once you get the hang of it. Ask me questions, I'll try to post an edited Q & A post at the top of this one.
Check out some of Debbie Olson's bee-u-tee-ful pieces HERE.