Updated: Aug 30, 2020
You've seen the background patterns on the website and you are wondering how you can use them in your designs? Here is a tutorial and a few photos for that spark of inspiration for your next piece.
To create your own heart bracelet, you will need one of Metal Maven's pattern pressings. The one below is a good pattern to use for this project. We also have many other all-over background patterns to choose from on our website.
Pancake Die now available
Sandra Sirles has just release a set of pancake dies that are heart shaped that can be used with with any of Metal Maven's background pressings. This will reduce your production time when making this heart. You can now use a hydraulic press to punch out the heart shape using one of three heart shaped pancake dies.
Find the heart shaped dies at:
Click here to find the heart shaped pancake die
Making the Heart
First, I sawed out a 2" wide heart shape from the pressing and then curved it on a bracelet mandrel.
If you don't have a bracelet mandrel, I can recommend the Cast-Iron Stepped Oval Bracelet Mandrel with Tang from Rio Grande. This is the one that I use. (Rio has not paid me or compensated me in any way for recommending their products.)
You can find the Mandrel here:
After shaping the heart on the mandrel, I used a #5 Half-Round Hand File to smooth the edges.
Making the Bracelet
To make the bracelet, I shaped a piece of 12-gauge Dead Soft Sterling Silver wire on the bracelet mandrel and sized it to a little bit larger than my wrist so that it would hang a little lower on my wrist and rest on the top of my hand. This is my personal preference for wearing a bracelet. For your piece, size it to your own, or your customer's preference.
I shaped one end of the wire into a loop and at the other end of the wire I formed it into a hook using round nose pliers. I then used a flat needle file to smooth the end of the hook to a blunt point.
Assembling the Bracelet
I drilled two holes, one on either side of the heart piece, to accommodate my jeweler's saw blade and sawed out an oval hole large enough for the hook side of my wire. Next, I sawed out a circular hole out on the other side just large enough for the loop side of the wire to fit. I used a round needle file to smooth the inside edges of the holes.
I made sure the loop on the wire was large enough to allow the heart to swing open and close easily, and the hook end was the proper size to pass through the oval hole.
Before adding the wire, I tumbled the heart piece for several hours in a rotary tumbler with stainless steel shot, water, and a drop of Dawn dish-washing liquid, followed by a quick hand polish with a Sunshine polishing cloth. If you do not have a tumbler, you can always polish the piece by hand.
The last step was to add the wire to the heart using my flat nose urethane lined parallel pliers to avoid marring the wire when closing the loop. I used a Sunshine polishing cloth to shine up the wire and the heart.
If you don't have a pair of flat nose urethane lined parallel pliers, you can put duct tape on the jaws of a pair of Channellock pliers and use them to close the loop.
Tools and supplies you will need for this project:
Allover sterling silver pattern pressing from Metal Maven
12-gauge Sterling Silver wire
Jeweler's saw and saw blades
Oval bracelet mandrel
#5 Half-Round Hand File
Round Nose Pliers
Flat needle file
Round needle file
Drill press or some device to make a hole
Rotary tumbler with stainless steel shot
Dawn Dish-washing liquid
Flat nose urethane lined parallel pliers
Sunshine polishing cloth
The allover background patterns also work great for pins, earrings, pendants, and hair clasps. They also work beautifully as backplates for impression die pressings or other types of components that can be soldered onto the backplate or cold connected with rivets!
Links for Recommended Tools and Supplies from Rio Grande Jewelers Supply.