With just a few practice pieces of solder wire, you'll discover how easily you can create beautiful handmade ornaments. For all the projects shown here, start with these basic materials, then let your hands and imagination do the rest.
What You Need:
For all ornaments
- 1-pound roll of stained-glass, lead-free solder (pewter finish)
- Small bottle of flux for soldering
- Clear acrylic gloss spray
- Soldering iron with small needle point (optional)
- Round-nose pliers (for sharp curls and twists)
- Side-cutting pliers (for cutting flat edges)
- Tack hammer
For glittered ornaments
For beaded ornaments
Instructions:To make the glittered ornaments spray with adhesive, then immediately sprinkle with a cosmetic glitter dust.
Glittering Ornaments Note: The snowflake and candle designs are created in sections and soldered together (the solder locations look like silver dots). The reindeer is soldered at the base of the antlers, and the tree requires no soldering. 1. Download the free pattern for this project. Downloading requires Adobe Acrobat software.)
2. Cut and bend the wire into the needed shapes following the pattern and using the pliers, then solder together (see Bending and Soldering Techniques). 3. Lay the ornament onto a paper towel and spray with adhesive spray, then move it to a clean piece of paper and sprinkle with glitter. 4. Allow 24 hours to dry; then apply two coats of clear acrylic gloss spray.
Beaded Ornaments Note: Three of the ornaments are made from one continuous piece of wire, and one is made from three separate pieces of wire, curled on the ends, and soldered in the middle (wire and beads were wrapped around the soldering later). 1. Download the free pattern for this project. Downloading requires Adobe Acrobat software.)
2. Using the pliers, cut and bend the wire into the needed shapes following the pattern, then solder together if required (see Bending and Soldering Techniques). You will need to lift the piece to create a three-dimensional section. Note: The ornaments with three-dimensional sections were formed around household objects, for example, a wooden spoon, a bottle, or a cone fashioned from heavy cardboard. 3. If desired, hammer select areas on a hard surface with a tack hammer to add texture. 4. To attach beads, use silver or colored wire and work from the center of the pattern outward or from the top downward, depending on the ornament. To curl the wire, wrap it around a bamboo skewer. Use a small amount of extra-strong adhesive to secure the wire and beads. To create dangling beads, use a head pin strung with beads and wire it on using the pliers. 5. When finished, apply two coats of clear acrylic gloss spray.
Use pliers, your hands, and any other tools to bend the wire into any imaginable shape. Wrap, wind, twist, turn, hammer, and experiment to refine your own techniques.
Before soldering your ornaments, practice first for best results. Lay two pieces of scrap solder closely together with no gaps. Apply flux to the top side of the joint. Holding a third piece of solder about an inch above the joint, heat it with the soldering iron until it forms a hot molten bead. Let the bead drop carefully onto the joint, where it will melt the two pieces together. Quickly take away the iron. To remove excess flux, wash ornaments in warm water and mild kitchen detergent.