September 22nd marks the Autumn Equinox, signifying the beginning of Autumn. If, like me, you love the warm Autumn colours as the leaves start to change, you may feel inspired to make my simple but elegant leaf pendant, which incorporates a lovely copper glitter effect using low temperature enamel. I’ll talk you through how to make a necklace pendant suitable for the new season and everything you’ll need for the job, below.
Tools needed for making an autumn leaf pendant necklace
You will need:
Silver sheet, 0.8mm (CSA 080)
Round silver wire, 1.5mm (HAS 150)
Hard silver solder (CTD 500)
Flux (997 6418)
Piercing saw (999 734)
Files (999 3801)
Buffsticks (973 0901)
Half round pliers (999 699)
Nylon mallet (997 3102)
Small round mandrel (997 3619)
Hand tools for polishing or a barrel polishing machine
Efcolor Enamel Glitter Copper (861 354)
How to make a leaf pendant necklace: step-by-step
- Draw out your leaf shape and transfer to the metal sheet, either drawing directly onto the plastic film freehand using a pencil or scriber if confident or by using a paper template if less so
- Carefully saw pierce out the design.
- Refine the edges using files to create a smooth and continuous curve (see picture below)
- Cut a length of 1.5mm round wire, approximately 80mm, and hammer or file a taper to one end so it sits nicely onto the edge of the leaf blank.
- Solder the wire to the leaf blank using small pieces of hard solder. Ensure the flux is only painted directly underneath the wire to avoid flooding the piece unnecessarily.
- Once soldered together, heat the opposite end of the wire until it forms a ball. You may need to apply additional flux and/or degrease to achieve this successfully.
- Pickle to clean.
- Gently start to bend the wire into a curve. Start by using your hands for the area closest to the leaf and then move onto the half round pliers, finishing off with the mandrel and nylon mallet to achieve the tight loop at the opposite end. Anneal as required to keep the wire malleable.
- Once you are happy with the shape, clean and buff to a fine finish using buff sticks to remove any marks to achieve a uniform result.
- Polish to a mirror finish using hand tools or a barrel polishing machine.
- Time to apply the glitter….
How to use Efcolor Glitter on your leaf pendant
Efcolor glitter is a low temperature enamel powder which can be used on silver and copper as well as other materials, such as glass, wood, porcelain and stone. It is fired in a conventional oven at 150°C (Gas mark 2) and takes between 3-5mins to work. I did numerous tests using this product before applying it to my finished piece and I would suggest you do the same if you are not familiar with it.
The glitter is suspended in a neutral, clear powder which fires clear, but can leave a dull bloom across the metal if it is not contained. I found my results were best with a clear, defined edge using a template but also using a clean paintbrush to sweep away any excess, ensuring the metal is completely clean. To get a good, solid glitter finish, it is best to apply two thinner layers of powder, firing in-between each. Don’t be tempted to put too much on in one go as it will become lumpy.
- Apply a paper template with a clear line cut where you want the glitter to stop and start. Cover up the entire pendant leaving only the area you require the glitter exposed.
- Gently shake an even layer of glitter powder onto the exposed area and remove the template. Brush away any unwanted and excess product using a clean, dry paintbrush.
- Place onto a baking tray, on a piece of greaseproof paper, and bake at 150°C for 3-5mins only. Repeat as necessary to achieve an even layer of glitter.
I chose to add just a simple line of glitter to the edge of my leaf pendant design but there are many alternative ways in which to make the pendant your own. You might prefer to leave the pendant plain or maybe add some patination or engraving if that is more your style – there really are no rules as long as you enjoy the process.
Now you know how to make a metal pendant in an autumn leaf style, why not give it a go yourself?
Just make sure you have all the jewellery tools you need from Cooksongold before you get started
Written by Joanna Varney
Joanna has worked in and around the jewellery industry for well over 20 years. She has designed and created her own pieces as a designer maker, as well as working in jewellery retail on a much larger scale, producing designs and NPD for some of the UK’s largest high street retailers