Saturday, October 20, 2012

Riveted Spider Pendant and Charms Tutorial Part One

One of my artistic passions is riveting. I love riveting, riveting is therapy for me. It is one of those things that I can do for hours on end and still not get enough of.  The great thing about riveting is that you can take metals you normally wouldn’t want to solder and join them together with rivets.  I am excited to share this technique with you.

In this week’s tutorial you will learn how to texture, punch holes, rivet, and use metal alphabet and design stamps.  I have included a complete materials list so you can stock up and and be ready for next week when we will dive into learning how to use metal alphabet and design stamps, and rivet with charms to create the wonderful and creepy Spider Pendant and charms.

You will need to have the following supplies to complete this project:

Bench block and pad, I use a 2.5 x 2.5 bench block, the pad is optional but it helps cut down on the noise made when using the block (an old cut up computer mouse pad works as well)
Chasing Hammer
Rubber Mallet or Rawhide Hammer
Metal shears
Short stubby utility hammer or 1lb or 2lb brass mallet
Chain and round nose pliers
Flush cutters
80 grit nail file,  metal file, or fine grit (330 or 600 grit) sandpaper
Pro-polish pads
Ultra-fine sharpie
Drafting or graphing ruler
Double sided screw punch
1.8mm or 1.5mm metal punch
Alcohol wipes (used for getting finger prints and sharpie markers of the metal)

Optional Supplies:
Texture Hammer (s)
Riveting hammer
metal alphabet and design stamps
Liver of sulfur

Alpha Stamps Products used:
Remember the fun of this project is to mix up metals, go wild and have fun mixing things up!  
1 Inch Square Stamping Blanks - Copper and Brass, (8) total for charms and pendant
1/4 Inch Rivets - Copper and Brass (18)
2-Hole Metal Punch (I refer to it as a double sided screw punch)
3mm Alphabet Metal Punch Set (I used a 2mm set of my own, so if you use this one your spacing may be a little bit different than mine)
Antique Bronze Spider Charm Set (3 individual charms from a set)
Metal Patinas Weathered Copper (but you could use any of the Vintaj paints)
4mm Rondelles - Copper (14)
8mm Copper Rondelles - Flower (1)
6mm Metal Rondelles - Black Oxide (4)

Alpha Stamps Products not used, but would be fun to try out:
5x3 mm chain (or another chain of your choice, I used a rollo chain from the stash)
3mm Antique Brass Ball Chain Necklaces (or another ball chain of your choice)

*A note on hammers, if you use pre-made rivets, you can use a chasing hammer, however a riveting hammer is highly recommended. It has a sharp head on one end that is really helpful in spreading out the back of your rivets and creating a solid join.

Lets Get Started!  

Step One: Texture  
To texture the metal blanks you will need a bench block and pad.  Set your blank in the middle of your bench block (which should be sitting on a pad), holding a corner of the blank down with a finger carefully strike the blank with the hammer.  You want to hit the blank with enough force to create the texture with some depth,  but not so much that you punch a hole in the metal (unless you are using very fine gauge sheet metal 26g or smaller this will be really hard to do).  Repeat this process until your entire blank is filled with texture or you have achieved the amount of texture you want. I like to work in batches so I will do all my texturing at once.  I usually end up texturing more pieces than I need so I just add the extras to the stash for later use.  If you don’t care to invest in texture hammers you can always use the rounded end of a chasing hammer or small ball peen hammer to create texture.  For this project I used a texture hammer with 9 interchangeable faces and the rounded end of a chasing hammer.  It’s fun to mix up textures, try using different textures on one piece and see how it turns out.  It is also fun to give your piece a ¼ turn every now and then and change up the direction of the texture.   The photo below is a sample of using multiple textures and directions.

photo a

Creating texture will sometimes warp your blanks.  You will need to flatten your blank back out by striking (or whacking) it with a plastic mallet or rawhide hammer.  You do not want to use your chasing hammer or utility hammer as this will not completely flatten the blank, and will distort your texture.

Step Two: Edge and file
Using the rounded end of a chasing hammer, create a textured border around all your square blanks. This helps smooth out any rough edges and gives a finished look to your piece. To create the border hold your blank down with your finger about ¼ inch away from the edge and gently tap with your chasing hammer, being careful not to hit your finger. This process does not take much pressure and your finger acts as a guide for your hammer.
Edging your squares will cause the corners to become sharp. Using metal shears snip off the sharp corners usually about 1/8 to 1/16 of an inch.  You really only want to snip off the teeny tiny sharp piece from each corner. 

before snipping
after snipping

After snipping the corners use the 180 grit nail file or other filing method of your choice and gently round the corners. Since you are making a pendant you don’t want anything sharp poking you or catching on your clothing.  The photo below shows the rounded edges.  You just really need to make sure there are no sharp points and that the edges just slightly rounded, as in the photo below.
photo B

Step 3: Clean, antique, and polish
Before you can antique the textured pieces you will need to clean them.  Wipe them down with an alcohol wipe to get as many of the fingerprints off as you can before antiquing them in the liver of sulfur solution. Some alternatives to liver of sulfur might black acrylic paint that you can paint on and wipe off before it dries leaving the paint in the texture or try out some of the different Metal Vintaj paints.  I tried using some black gilders paste but found that even after setting for 24 hours, some still wiped off, and this could stain your clothing.  If you want to try the liver of sulfur, check out Teri Calia’s great tutorial on using liver of sulphur.

 After your pieces are antiqued with liver of sulfur you will need to polish them up. I use pro-polish pads that I can buy at my local bead store. 
before polishing
after polishing

Step 4:  Punching holes
For the purposes of this tutorial I am only going to talk about using ready made copper and brass rivets.  They come in ¼ and ½ inch lengths.  When riveting there are a couple of very important things to remember.  You will be limited by the length of the rivet and the reach of you metal punch.  When riveting I like to combine shapes and metals.  Please note these pieces are for my demo/examples and may be textured or not.  This step is to get you familiar with using a screw punch, as it can be a little finicky and tricky.  PUNCH HOLES AFTER TEXTURING.  IF YOU PUNCH HOLES BEFORE THEY WILL WARP WHEN TEXTURING.

First you will need to punch a hole in the round blank.  To do this I used the small punch of the two screw punch.  The small punch is perfect for making rivet holes for the ready made rivets, the small hole measures 2.3mm or 3/32”.  Slip the disc into the punch so you are centered in the middle of the disk or there about.  The great thing about riveting is you don’t have to be perfect.  It’s fun to have things be a little off, shows it was hand made.  You may need to experiment with this for a bit, it can be a little difficult to use at first, but I love this punch (you will see why in next week’s tutorial).  I like to hold the object being punched in my left hand between my thumb and forefinger, while steadying the punch with my right.  Using my index finger I turn the punch until it meets the metal and is clamped in place.  

I will then change my hand position and grip it with my left hand and crank the screw until the hole is punched.  


Be careful not to screw the punch all the way down as it will mar the metal.  Punch out a couple more practice holes leaving some room between them.  

good punch on the left, bad punch on the right
Now you will need to mark your holes on a square blank.  Lay the round blank on top of a square blank and using an ultra-fine sharpie mark the holes to be punched. (refer to photo B) Line the marks up in the screw punch and punch the holes out one at a time.

You can also use metal hole punch pliers.  You may find that your piece will stick to the punch and you will need to carefully remove it from the punch.  I recommend using chain nose pliers and carefully working it off.  Try not to bend the blank, but if you do bend or warp it a little, just whack it with a plastic or rawhide mallet to flatten it again.

Step 5: Riveting
You are now ready to rivet make your first rivet.  Line up the holes in the two blanks and insert a rivet into one the holes.  You want the head of the rivet to be on the front or on the top of your blanks. (Remember nail head on textured side).  Flip your pieces over making sure the rivet doesn’t come out of the hole.  See how much excess material is left over?  You will need to use flush cutters and trim some of this excess away.  The tricky part here is how much.  You really don’t need a lot of material to create a solid join.  You want your pieces to be tight and not loose.  The back of your rivet needs to cover all of the hole and have enough to go a little beyond but stay flat and not bulge from the back or your piece.  Ideally you want about 1 mm to 1.5 mm of rivet on the backside.  If you don’t have enough on the back you run the risk of your rivet popping and your piece falling apart (think Titanic hitting the iceberg, not good).

Correct hand position for hold riveting hammer
Place the piece to be riveted face down on the bench block and pad.  Using the sharp end of a riveting hammer or the rounded end of a chasing hammer very gently begin to tap the back of the rivet, spreading out the end of the rivet making sure your hole is completely covered and the rivet is completely flush with the metal (you may need to give your piece a ¼ turn during the process to evenly spread the rivet).  Riveting is all about small gentle movements.  There is no need to apply a lot of force when riveting.  Next smooth out the rivet with the rounded end of the riveting hammer (you can skip this if you used a chasing hammer).  Run your finger over the rivet, it should be smooth to the touch. Congratulations, you have made your first rivet.

The rivet is still way too long.  You need about half this amount

Good rivet on the left.  Too short of a rivet in the center.  Too long of a rivet on the right.  You may notice that one of my holes isn't lined up just right.  You can line the hole up in the double sided screw punch and re-punch the hole.
Now lets play with adding a 6mm metal rondelle to your rivet.  Feed a metal rondelle on a rivet, again making sure the head is on the textured side.  Insert  the rivet into a hole on your blank.  Flip it over and trim the rivet, making sure you have about 1 mm to 1.5 mm of material on the back. Place your piece face down on the bench block and follow the previous steps.  You have now riveted a dimensional object to your piece. (refer back to photo A)
Step 6:  Using metal alphabet and design stamps
Another fun technique is using metal alphabet and design stamps in your project. For this you will want to place your bench block directly on your table.  Do not put it on a pad as this causes your bench block to be unstable and you run the risk of not getting clean punches (in my photo you will see I have a piece of suede on the table, it is thin and doesn’t affect stamping the image).  You will also need a utility hammer or a 1 or 2 lb brass mallet.  I use a short stubby utility hammer as it fits comfortably in my hand and allows me more control over where I hit.  The trade off is I have to hit the stamps more times in order for my letter and designs to come out.  With a brass mallet you only need to strike the stamp once.  

The trick to getting clean punches is to hold the metal punch as steady as possible and not move it.  Hold the stamp between your thumb and fingers, using your pinky to stabilize the stamp.  Hold the stamp straight up and down with the image facing the right direction.
Holding the metal design stamp

With your utility hammer or brass mallet strike the punch hard.  Depending on the gauge of the metal blank or sheet you are using, you may need to hit the punch more than once.  I found two or three times worked the best on the 1x1 square blanks and rounds.  If you find you are not getting a nice clear punch, you can sometimes “rock” the stamp.  Ever so slightly, making sure the stamp does not come up off the metal, tilt the stamp away from you and strike it. Then tilt it towards you and strike it.  Just keep in mind you don’t want to hit the metal stamp hard enough to punch a hole in your metal.  A note about the gauges used in the project.  The metal blanks are 24g and it may take some force to get the image to punch correctly.  The 26g metal sheet is much softer and one hit with my short stubby hammer was usually enough to get the image to punch correctly. *some alphabet and design stamps have the image engraved on the shank of the stamp.  If you have the image facing you, the stamped image will be facing the “right way” or face up.  Don't forget to antique your blanks after using the design and alphabet punches!

Correctly punched design stamp images
Metal alphabet stamps take some getting used to.  It can sometimes be difficult to line them up so your letters are straight, not all alphabet sets are designed the same.  For my main project I wasn’t so concerned with making sure the letters lined up,  just that the words fit in the spaces.  I do recommend cutting some strips of copper sheet and practice using the alphabet stamps.  If you want your words lined up,  you can draw a line on your metal with a pencil or sharpie to help you line them up.  

my letters don't line up, but that's okay

Next week we will dive into the actual project, where you learn how to punch and rivet a charm, some more metal alphabet punch techniques, and assemble all the bits and pieces.  To get ready for next week, you can texture all your blanks.  I have include the total numbers you will need to complete the pendant and all the charms.

Ooooo Creep Creepy Spider

A little Mischief and Mayhem for you

A simpler spider charm pendant

No comments:

Post a Comment