Jul 312008
 

When I started thinking about Red Hot, the OT theme for July, I of course began with the obvious. Red beads, red stones, red wire.

Then my little brain started going in another direction…after all, I’ve been playing with fire a lot lately, and what’s hotter than burning things?

The materials for this project are pretty simple…all you need is some 14g fine silver wire and a small butane torch (available at any hardware store, or even some of the “big box” discounters like Wal-Mart.)

Because you are working with super hot temps, you MUST follow some simple safety rules. Keep in mind:
Have water handy “just in case”
Use a fire-proof surface designed for withstanding high temps.
Use adequate eye protection – that flame gets bright!
Ditto ventilation – you don’t want to become overcome by fumes.
And if you have long hair, tie it back. Ixnay on the long sleeves (it’s SUMMER, for crying out loud, you’d best not be wearing long sleeves anyway!)

Here we go. Have fun playing with fire…..

Fine Silver Toe Ring

Materials and what else to have on hand:
14g fine silver
Butane torch
Heat-resistant pliers
Fire-proof surface
Small container of clean water
Ring mandrel or dowel large enough to make a ring that will fit on your toe
Cutting pliers
Hammer
Tumbler or burnisher

Determine the your toe size. You can use a small piece of tape, wire or string to wind around your toe. Find the right size on your ring mandrel (mine was around a size 4) or a dowel that will be big enough. Wind the 14g wire around the mandrel or dowel, ensuring the ends will meet. I made several rings, so I wound the wire around the mandrel 4 times.

Cut the rings using a flush cutter. If the ends aren’t perfectly flush, that’s okay…you’ll be melting them, so the neat join you need to solder isn’t necessary.

Clean the rings, and slightly separate the ends. If your circle gets distorted a little, it’s perfectly fine. The key is that you don’t want to fuse the ends together, so they can’t be touching.

Set the rings on the fire-proof surface, and start up your torch. Work on only one ring at a time. You’ll want the entire ring hot, but only the ends need to heat enough to melt and ball up. Keep your torch moving slightly over the surface, focusing the tip of the blue part of the flame on the ring ends.

Soon you’ll see the wire start to turn a dull white, then it will begin to glow red (RED HOT, get it?!). Very soon after this (don’t look away or blink!) the ends will start to turn a shimmering silver and ball up. One end may do this before the other, don’t worry…you can move to the other side after you’ve finished one.

Watch the ball carefully – don’t let it get too big! When it’s about the size of a BB, pull away the flame. Heat the other side of the ring opening if it didn’t melt and ball up.

Once both sides of the opening are balled, turn off the torch, and pick up the ring using a heat-resistant pliers or tweezers. Drop the ring in the water, and let it cool.

If the ring was distorted, you can put it back on the mandrel and carefully hammer back into a circle.

The silver is likely a dull white-ish color at this point, so burnish using a brass brush or burnishing stick. Better yet, drop the ring in a tumbler with some stainless steel shot, water and Dawn dishwashing detergent and tumble at least 6 hours. The silver will anneal while you are working with the torch, causing it to become really soft. Tumbling will harden it, and it’s less likely to lose it’s shape.

There you have it! A Red Hot toe ring that will look stylish and fun all summer long!

Now it’s time to check out what the other Ornament Thursday gals have been up to:

Art Bead Scene ABS Editor Cindy Gimbrone Goes Red Hot Crazy!
Cindy Gimbrone aka Lampwork Diva Trendy, Popular and Red Hot!
Katie’s Beading Blog Check out Katie’s Red Hot faux coral necklace! It’s a punch of color with a summery feel.
Savvy Crafter Hotsie Totsie Plexi-glass Flower pendant over on Candie’s blog!
Strands of Beads The heat is rising, and Melissa is making a Red Hot Firecracker necklace!
Too Red Hot Our own Michelle Zimmerman has been hard at work this month sculpting a devil of a project for your enjoyment.
That’s it for this month’s exciting Ornament Thursday…next month’s theme is Acadamia – publish date of August 28. 

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  4 Responses to “Ornament Thursday’s RED HOT!!!!!”

  1. Love the project…Silver fusing is so on my “List”…way ahead of most everything else I’d love to do. Thanks for the great project!

  2. Thanks for the great pictures! I’ve got the Silver Fusing book and that’s my next project. Whoo Hoo! You make it look so fun, I can’t wait!

    Happy Ornament Thursday!
    Cindy

  3. Great tutorial with really clear photos. Like Cindy, I have the silver fusing book and have it on my list of things to do! Thank you!

  4. I want to see that red hot ring on your toe!

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