Welcome to "In Touch" - the place where we try and share as much educational information as possible regarding the products we carry in our store. "Simple Dreams" will also continue to be published, but we wanted to put together a special place for you, our customers, to be able to come to and easily find information that directly correlates with the newsletter we will be sending out. Everyone does have access to this blog as well, but you will be the first to receive this information. This will allow us to share more information than we can now fit into a newsletter. Our desire is to allow you to choose - read instructions in their entirety here or just skip over the details and enjoy a quick review of what we have going on by reading the newsletter. We will do our best to keep this section of our blog well organized so that you can easily find the educational information you are looking for.
I am SO very excited to finally be sharing a vision with you that has been in the making for at least half a year - LOL! One of my favorite aspects of crafting includes the use of glass. I think it all probably started with the fact that I LOVE Dale Chihuly glass and living here in Seattle we are surrounded by many of his beautiful pieces of art. My love then proceeded to grow when I came across an article a number of years ago in a magazine. It showed an absolutely stunning piece of artwork that had been created using glass, stamping, paper collage and other mixed media items. I can no longer remember where that article was written, but it left a huge impression on me.
Back in October 2004 I was invited to be a guest artist for the Splitcoast Dirty Dozen gallery. It was at that time that I shared my first soldered, stamped glass piece, a magnetic tile. My soldering abilities have come a long way since then - LOL - as you can see the edges do not have nearly enough solder on them, but I wanted to share this with you being we all need to start some place. As with any craft it just takes a little practice to get it right.
I hope to share the love of glasswork, stamping and soldering with you. I hope to be able to walk you through the basic steps involved in soldering right here on my blogs. For those who want a much more thorough education in the art of soldering I have now added two different forms of educational material to my store as well. The first is a DVD created by Lisa Bluhm and Melissa Wood, the owners of the business that produce the soldering kits for us. They have been sharing this information with the crafting world for at least the last six years, probably longer. I met them at a Creating Keepsakes Convention here in Bellevue a number of years ago and was immediately enamoured with this art form. Lisa has also written a book that gives amazing detail regarding the entire soldering process. Along with the basics she has shared many unique projects to get your creativity stimulated.
The first step to soldering is preparation. I prefer to have my work space cleared and prepared before starting the soldering process.
Pictured Above: Glass Kitchen Trivet, Non-Stick Craft Mat, Soldering Iron, Iron Stand, Yellow Sponge, (Stapler - to keep Iron Stand from scooting to the right if I happen to have the cord extended too far Ü), Clamps (small and large), Locking Hemostat Pliers, Copper Foil, Lead-Free Solder, Liquid Flux
Please note: I forgot one of the very most important elements in the preparation stage - PROTECTIVE EYE GLASSES. Please be certain to add this to your must do list!
I like to work on a large glass trivet that I have in my kitchen. This is then covered with a Non-Stick Craft Sheet. We will have a special heat proof soldering mat that will protect your work surface while creating your soldered art in stock soon - they are currently on backorder. It is heat proof up to 500 degrees and solder, adhesive and paint will not stick to it, but the above system has worked well for me over the years. Another alternative is to get a large tile from your local home improvement store and back it with felt. This will help protect your work surface as well.
The next important element is to dampen the little yellow sponge that is included in your kit. As you solder it is vital to clean the tip of the soldering iron constantly. Residue has a tendency to build up on the tip and will cause you to have pits and unevenness in your soldered piece - so with each additional layer of solder I use I clean my tip on this dampened yellow sponge. Please be cautious and never pick up this little yellow sponge and touch it to the tip of your soldering iron - it gets REALLY HOT! Hmmm - how do you think I know that?!? Leave the sponge sitting in it's little place on your iron stand!!!
The other piece of equipment pictured above that is not included in the kit is the locking hemostat pliers. I feel that these are essential to hold your jump ring in place with your hands being a safe distance from the tip of the soldering iron. I highly recommend that you purchase these at the same time as the kit.
Today I hope to share with you the step by step process I used in creating my Inchie Bookworm Marker.
To create the Inchie "innards" I am going to link you back to my ABC's of Inchies post being it would be redundant to repeat that information here. I will begin with the first step that shows you the beginning steps to the soldering process.
Begin by attaching two bookworm basics to each side of a 1" square of black cardstock. Be certain to use as little adhesive as possible being the heat from soldering will cause your adhesive to run. Sandwich this piece between two pieces of 1" square glass. Currently we only have the frosted glass in stock, but we are hoping for a shipment of clear soon. Starting at the bottom center of your piece begin wrapping Copper Foil around your square. This is important being you are going to need to overlap your foil on the bottom edge to be certain that the solder adheres properly.
Wrap your piece entirely - finishing on the bottom edge as shown.
Snip the foil squarely with the finished edge.
Fold down edges as you would when wrapping a package. I typically do the vertical edges first, tapering the corners as shown. The horizontal edges will then fold down smoothly once all the vertical sides and corners are taken care of.
Next burnish the foil in place using a teflon bone folder. You could use your fingernail or some other smooth device to complete this step as well, but I find that I get a beautiful, smooth finish when I burnish with my teflon folder.
Using an Xacto knife you will next remove the excess foil from your image face. It is MUCH easier to trim away the excess than to wrap your project with a smaller piece of foil. As you can see in the photo above I make my cut all the way around the piece and then I use the knife tip to lift the excess foil to remove it.
You can see the finished taped piece above. Once I have removed the excess I do reburnish the piece once again.
Clamp your piece along the foiled edge and set it on your work surface with the bottom even to your work surface. This will keep your project hands free - this is a very important element being your piece will get VERY HOT while working on it.
Begin by applying a very small amount of flux to the copper foil on one side of your project. Do not cover the entire foil area at this time being the flux will evaporate and you will just have to redo it. Liquid flux is SO easy to use - it's purpose is to allow the solder to flow smoothly on to your project. If you did not apply flux your solder would have a tendency to "mound" up. The flux also helps with resistance to the oils from your hands and other residues that attached to the foil during preparation of your project.
I prefer to sit my solder on edge as shown. This allows me to place the hot tip of my soldering iron to the solid solder and melt a little piece which will adhere to the bottom side of the tip of my iron. Each time I talk about touching the tip to my project below I will have loaded the bottom side of my chisel tip with a slight amount of solder.
The next step is to "tin" your copper foil. Move the tip of your soldering iron along the top surface of your project. Allow the bottom of the tip to touch down to the foil to attach the liquid solder. I prefer to move the iron evenly across the top edge, moving from left to right. I am right-handed and so if you are left-handed you will set your work up opposite to what I do. Allow the solder to solidify - it only takes seconds. I also let it cool slightly before flipping to the next side.
As I work I use both clips. I rotate my piece clipping the second clip to the next side and remove the first clip. This allows me to keep my hands off of my hot piece of work.
Once you have "tinned" all foil surfaces you can continue to add solder to your project. Reapply the liquid flux each time before you apply the solder. Typically I will apply three, sometimes four layers of solder.
Once you have your project completely soldered it is time to add your jump ring. This is the one time I do not apply flux before adding solder to my project because I would like my solder to remain in one spot rather than flowing across the top of my piece. As you can see in the photo above there is a slight "mound" of solder. Touch your iron to the center top of your project and leave a drop of solder behind.
To steady my project I now apply both clamps to my project as shown above. Apply flux to the jump ring. Holding your jump ring in your locking hemostat pliers brace your hand on the table and hold the jump ring to the top of the mound of solder. From the back side of your project touch the tip of your hot iron to this mound. It will liquify - as soon as it does pull your hot iron away and your jump ring will settle into the puddle of solder. This solder will then solidify when you remove your iron. This is a split second move. It takes some time to heat the mound of solder, but when it liquifies it happens fast.
As you can see in this photo the mound can sometimes be one-sided.
If this happens I then reapply some flux and lightly touch the tip of my soldering iron to the side that needs to be melted and allow the solder to even out. As you can see I am still holding the jump ring in place being that each time you melt the solder your jump ring will loosen.
At this point I take a damp soft cloth (an old diaper is my tool of choice, but an old t-shirt works great too) and "polish" up the piece. Next I use a buffer/sander to remove any little bumps or pits and to really polish it up.
To complete the bookmark I ran a piece of ribbon through the jump ring and knotted it. Next I threaded a silver bead on to the ribbon strands and then knotted the long tails. The bead slides up and down the ribbon and adjusts your book ribbon to accomodate the size of different books.