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Texturing Metal with Candie Cooper

Candie Cooper demonstrates metal texturing in this easy introduction to metalsmithing skills in the jewelry studio. Learn how easy it is to get started.

Candie Cooper explores metal texturing in this how-to guide on getting started with metalsmithing hammers and skills.

It's Candie from CandieCooper.com and an honor to be writing a post here on the Halstead blog. This tutorial is going to take you through two of my favorite processes in metalworking: texture and oxidizing metal with liver of sulfur. The reason I love it is because I can get the rustic, free spirit looks that I want.

Halstead has made it really easy to make custom metal elements for your designs when you combine a texturing hammer with multi-texture faces and stamping blanks.

Materials:

  • Finger rings
  • Metal stamping blanks
  • Texture hammer
  • Steel block
  • Containers (not to be used for food ever again)
  • Liver of Sulphur gel
  • Steel tweezers
  • Pumice powder
  • Brass brush
  • Dish soap

Process Steps

Changing faces on a texturing hammer

1. To get started, choose the texture face and twist onto the hammer.

Note: If you have a texturing hammer, this is a great project to use it on. If you don't you can use punches, stamps and an array of hammers to create wonderful textures. 

2. Lay your blank onto a steel block and get going! Texture the blank with the hammer until you are satisfied with the look. You can leave it like this and let the pieces oxidize naturally or highlight the texture with the help of the liver of sulfur patina.
 
First, make sure your pieces are free of grease, fingerprints, and so on. These things act as a resist to the patina. Clean the metal with alcohol or a degreaser if you're not sure.
Texturing a washer blank
Dipping metal in Liver of Sulfur
3. Mix the liver of sulfur gel according to the manufacturer's packaging. Use tweezers to drop the textured blanks into the pieces. You can soak or dip the pieces one at a time or all together.
 
Rinse the pieces when you want the color process to stop. The thing you want to watch out for is not over-soaking the metal in LOS because the layer of oxidation builds up too thick and flakes off. If this happens, don't worry, brush it with a brass brush or pumice to remove all oxidation and start again.
 
You can leave the color in place and simply skip to burnishing the piece with a brass brush and dish soap.

4. But, to really highlight the texture in these pieces, I start removing the oxidation with pumice powder which is simply a very fine abrasive.

To do this, dip your thumb in water, then into the pumice powder. Rub over the textured piece with the powder to remove the oxidation from the high points.
Checking blanks soaking in Liver of Sulfur
Burnishing a metal blank using a brass brush
5. Rinse the piece when you're happy and then burnish it with the brass brush and dish soap. The brass brush will add shine while the dish soap lubricates.
 
Apply this same technique to any sterling or copper findings and wire.

 


Watch the Video!

About Halstead

Halstead is one of North America's leading distributors of quality jewelry supplies. Halstead specializes in wholesale findings, chain, and metals for jewelry artists.

Got questions? Email our studio coordinator Erica Stice at studio@halsteadbead.com. We’d love to hear from you. Sorry, studio support is not available by phone. Emails only, please.


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Glossary of Hammers used in Jewelry Making

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5 Tips for Making Hand Stamped Jewelry

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