Monday, July 4, 2011

How to make a Sterling Silver Filigree Ring

(1) 4" 16g Sterling Silver Wires
(2) 4" 18g. Sterling Silver Wires

Easy Silver Solder
Borax mixed with Denatured Alcohol
Liver of Sulfur

Micro Torch
Soldering Charcoal Block
Pliers: Round-nose, flat-nose and a flush cutter
Metal Ring Mandrel
Rubber hammer 
400 grit sand paper
Set of metal files

First thing I did was size my finger. I used a ribbon to measure the finger where I want my ring to fit. Then I take the ribbon and measure it with a ruler. For this sample, I used my right middle finger, so my measurements are 8.5 size ring, and the ruler measures 2.5". I take my pencil and draw a 2.5" line to make my sketch.
This is what I want my ring to look like.

After I've sketched my design, I take my 16g wire and curl the ends with my round nose pliers. I make sure that the length is the same as my sketch below.

I do the same for the other (2) 18g. wires, making sure they match the length of my sketches.

Once I have all 3 wires done, I prepare them for soldering. First I make sure that they fit together nice and snug. Then I dip them in my jar of borax and denatured alcohol. They will turn white like the picture below.

Now it's time to put the silver solder on the edges that touch. Sometimes, it's a challenge to put the solder on these wires because they like stick. I use a silver wire to put the solder on, most times it doesn't like to stay put. Now once you have your solder in place, it's time to fire it up!  

Now that I have my wires soldered together, I take a hammer and hammer them just lightly, so that they lay flat on the surface. Sometimes during soldering they tend to move a bit. Hammering them will put them back in their place. I hammer my end curls flat (that's the 18g. wires on the sides) for some depth and design. Then I take my soldered wires and put them on a metal ring mandrel, looking for size 8.5. I take my rubber hammer and hammer them into shape.


After my ring has taken it's form, I take my metal file and file away any scratches. Then I use my sandpaper and file it down smooth. Once I have it filed and smooth to my desire, I then dip it into a jar of liver of sulfur to give it it's antique look.  

Finally, after about 15 minutes, I take it out of it's stinky pool and wash it in the sink. Your ring will look black, and that's okay because that's what it's supposed to look like. I take my steel wool to rub off the blackness. You won't be able to get into the corners and nooks, but that's what will give it it's antique look. Rub off as much as you like. I like to take it all off, most of it, until it's silver again.  

And.. tadah! You are finished!