Jan 27, 2012

Brass Box Earrings

The first pair of earrings I made with patterned sheet brass were pretty lame (see them here), but I've kept at it and am starting to get somewhere - just in time for me to lose interest in the materials.  That's how it goes.  I may come back to this at a later date, but I've got a thousand other ideas I'd like to start exploring. 

Follow the See More link to see exactly how I made the earrings above.  
I didn't put the patterns on the brass.  I bought it like this years ago, when I thought I'd make myself a super cool metro card holder.  Which I never got around to.  

I started by drawing the shapes in my notebook.

I copied the shapes onto tracing paper.

I stuck that on double stick tape.

Then adhered it to the brass and cut with tin snips.

I cut over 40 of these.  Not fun.

I removed the tracing paper and tape.

I annealed the pieces to oxidize and soften the metal.

The tin snips leave a rough edge that has to be filed off each piece.

I drilled a hole in each one.

I sanded each piece.  

Some of the pieces need ear wires soldered to them, so I put them into a liquid cleaner/flux that helps solder flow.

I melted a chip of silver solder on the brass piece.

And torched again to add the silver ear wire.  

These sharp ends have to be filed and sanded smooth so they don't tear up an ear hole.  

Each piece was polished while still flat.  

Then I bent each one around a mandrel.  Just a little.  

The brass pieces ready to assemble into earrings. 

The pieces are connected with silver jump rings.

The ear wires are shaped by bending around a crochet needle.  Like I really need to be crocheting. 

Four separate dangling pieces of brass form a box like shape, and a fifth hides the earring wire.  These were inspired by my obsession with the costumes in Downton Abbey.  

Not done yet.  

The pearl won't really show, but it's an important part of the design.  It keeps the four walls of the brass box shape properly spaced apart from each other.  

Still not done.

I wanted the silver parts to be oxidized, so I put the earrings in a sulphur solution.  

I'll give them a final light polishing.

I made a simpler version of the box earrings, in two lengths, at the same time.  

I constantly question what I'm doing while I spend hours and hours making things.  I try to ignore that voice.  I don't expect anyone to buy these earrings, but I learned a lot from the process and got it out of my system.  And I really like them.

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