Basic Soldering

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Create one-of-a-kind pendants, links, or ornaments using the basic soldering technique. Learn to encase an image between two pieces of glass and use solder to hold them together. Then add a jump ring to make it into a pendant.
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Step 1

Choose the glass size and shape that will fit the image. Lay the glass over the image. Use the glass as a guide to cut the image to the correct size.

Step 2

There will be a front and a back to the piece. So, place two images back to back between two pieces of the same size glass. Make sure the glass is clean of any dirt or finger prints.

Step 3

Begin covering the edges of the layered glass with copper tape. Peel the copper away from the paper to expose the adhesive. Choose a side and start in the middle of that side.

Step 4

Rotate the glass, covering each side. Keep the glass centered on the copper tape.

Step 5

Continue covering the edge of the glass. Slightly overlap beginning piece of copper tape.

Step 6

Cut the tape. Then begin folding down the edges of the copper tape around the glass. Start by folding down the left and the right edges like you were wrapping a present.

Step 7

Smooth the copper down onto the glass. A fold at the top and the bottom of the glass will be left.

Step 8

Then, like wrapping a gift, fold down the top and bottom edges. Repeat for the back of the piece.

Step 9

Smooth the copper down against the glass. Use a hard, smooth tool (the end of a pen or marker or a burnishing tool) to smooth out any creases or bubbles.

Step 10

If the copper tape is covering too much of the image, you can carefully trim some of the tape away. The solder will only go where the copper tape is.

Step 11

Do not trim away too much of the tape.

Step 12

The image is now ready to be soldered.

Step 13

Put your piece into a clamp to help steady it when you are soldering. This will also help free up your second hand. Do not place the clamp directly on the glass as it may break. Always work on a heat resistant surface.

Step 14

Before you begin using the soldering iron, it should be "seasoned". Unroll a small piece of solder. Use the spool as a "handle". Touch the end of the lead free solder to the tip of the hot iron. The solder will melt onto the tip.

Step 15

Wipe the tip of the soldering iron on a damp sponge, wiping the solder off. Repeat for the other side of the tip.

Step 16

Before applying solder to the copper, brush a layer of flux over one edge of the piece. Flux will help the solder flow smoothly. Always apply a layer of flux before adding solder.

Step 17

Hovering slightly above the copper, place the end of the lead free solder against the tip of the iron. The solder will begin to melt.

Step 18

Pull the solder away from the tip of the iron. The hot solder should be between the copper and the tip of the iron.

Step 19

Guide the hot solder across the copper. The iron tip should never make direct contact with the copper.

Step 20

Continue pulling the solder across the edge of the copper.

Step 21

A thin coat of solder has now been applied to the copper. This step is also called tinning.

Step 22

Add more solder to the edge of the piece to build it up and create a rounded edge. Before adding more solder, always brush on a layer of flux.

Step 23

If you have not applied flux, the solder may not flow well and mounds of solder may occur.

Step 24

If a mound of solder occurs, simply apply a layer of flux.

Step 25

Touch the tip of the soldering iron to the mound of solder.

Step 26

Continue pulling the melted solder along the edge of the piece. Repeat steps 16 - 22 for each side of the piece. Rotate and reposition the piece in the clamps. Remember that the glass and solder will be very warm.

Step 27

To add a jump ring to make the piece into a pendant, melt a small mound of solder to center of one edge of the peice. Do not apply flux before adding the solder.

Step 28

Carefully pull up and off with the tip of the iron.

Step 29

Hold a jump ring with a pair of old chain nose pliers or a hemostat clamp. Brush the edge of the jump ring with a layer of flux.

Step 30

Rest the jump ring on top of the mound of solder. Carefully come in from the front of the mound with the tip of the soldering iron.

Step 31

As the mound of solder melts the jump ring will sink down into it. This will happen fast. Quickly pull the soldering iron away.

Step 32

The jump ring should be well anchored into the solder.

Step 33

If the jump ring is not centered or in the correct place, gently melt the solder again and lift the jump ring out. Repeat steps 28 - 33 to reattach the jump ring.

Step 34

The piece may have a few bumps that you want to smooth out.

Step 35

Use a file to carefully smooth out some of the bumps in the solder.

Step 36

Clean up the soldered piece with a damp paper towel. Wipe off any excess flux.

Step 37

Polish the solder by applying a small amount of Super Shiny Solder Polish with a cotton swab.

Step 38

Use a dry paper towel or cloth to rub the polish on the solder.

Step 39

Congratulations you now have a beautiful soldered pendant.

Step 40 - Round Alternative

Using round glass can be a little bit tricky. Cover the edges of the layered glass with copper tape. Peel the copper away from the paper to expose the adhesive. Start on one side of the layered glass then roll the glass over the copper tape.

Step 41

Continue covering the edge of the glass. Slightly overlap beginning piece of copper tape.

Step 42

Cut the copper tape. Then rotate the glass as you begin "crimping" the edge of the copper tape. Continue rotating, bringing the edges in more and more.

Step 43

Then press the copper tape against the glass working from the outside edge in. Once the tape is smooth against the glass, use a hard, smooth tool (the end of a pen or marker or a burnishing tool) to smooth out any creases or bubbles.

Step 44

Clamp the piece on the copper, make sure that the piece is stable on sitting upright on the work surface. Apply a layer of flux to a small area of the copper tape.

Step 45

Add solder as shown in steps 17 - 22.

Step 46

Rotate the piece slightly and reposition the clamp.

Step 47

Apply a layer of flux to a small area of the copper tape.

Step 48

Continue adding solder repeating steps 45 - 48 until each side is covered.

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