It has been a while since I have done a tutorial. Recently I have become obsessed with making hollow forms. I love how they give dimension to the jewelry piece. I have struggled with making them so I thought I would share what I have learned along the way. Please keep in mind that I am not an expert, and nothing is written in stone. The techniques I use or how I do things is just what works best for me. Also please take all safety measure while working in your studio.
For sometime I have wanted to make a bracelet with all hollow forms. I have put it on the back burner for a while because making one hollow form is one thing, several is something else. I also had to overcome my fear of making "hinges". The big question was how would these hollow forms be attached??? There are so many different kind of hinges, which one to use???? So here is the journey/tutorial of the hollow form bracelet. I hope you will enjoy it and maybe learn something new.
For starters the one thing you need the most is PATIENCE, especially with the hinges, but I will get to those. Lets start with the hollow forms.
For my hollow forms I did not want a square with perfect corners at 90 degree angles. I wanted a softer look. With a strip of 22 gauge sheet I use my pliers to make the corners. If you are looking for perfect corners, determine the measurements for your square and make two "L" shape strips, score the corners and solder for a sharper edge corner. I took the easy route and after I got the square shape that I wanted I hard soldered it. I sanded the edges and then soldered on one backing and pierced the holes. I was told that all hollow forms must have a hole or it could explode while soldering. Of course secretly I want to try soldering one with no hole to see if this is true but I am too afraid. I tried to turn the holes into a decorative part of the hollow form. If you don't like many holes, one little hole is sufficient on the bottom side. In the end I easy soldered on the other side of the hollow form.
In the past I would have a hard time getting the solder to flow and I would end up overheating the piece and then it would crack. Now I am using 22 gauge silver sheet for the sides and 20 gauge for the top and bottom of the hollow form. I think I was using a thicker gauge before. Also not only did the solder not flow, the previous solder joints would come apart because I was overheating. Now I started coating the previous solder joints with white out so they will not flow. It works like magic!!!
Once all the hollow forms are made, I used my benchmate to hold them while sanding. I wanted a smooth roundish edge. I used both hand files and my flex shaft for sanding.
Now lets move onto the hinges..........
First I solder on the tubes on all the hollow forms. I soldered all the tubes on the right side of the hollow form and the jump rings on the left side of the hollow forms. I used pencil lead to hold the tube in place. And of course I applied white out on the edges of the hollow form to prevent the previous solder joints to flow.
For the jump rings, first I hard soldered the jump rings and them sanded a flat edge. I used the pencil lead to hold everything together. This is where you need a big load a patience. I balled up the solder and place it on the jump rings.This is what worked best for me, solder chips would just fall off. I will admit a few times I had to step away out of frustration, but when I came back everything came together. Remember to apply white out to the previous solder joints, especially the tube which is very close to the jump rings that are being soldered.
After all the tubes and jump rings were soldered, pickled and cleaned, it was time for the wire rivet.
First I put the wire in my vise and used a rivet hammer to mushroom out one end of the wire.
You need a resist to mushroom out the other end so I used one of the punches from this
stone setting system. I put it in the vise and the wire rivet sat perfectly in it so I could mushroom out the other side. That pretty much sums up how I made the bracelet, hope you liked the tutorial and that it helped you in some way, Here are other ways I have used hollow forms in my jewelry,