Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Super easy and super quick - simple studs using snaptite settings!

We made these Earrings (and wore then straight away), using:

SF159 5mm Sterling silver Snaptite Earstuds
C54 Pusher (also known as a prong pusher)
5mm Faceted stone (pick your favourite!)
C49 Silver cleaning cloth

Optional: Anvil and bench pin C79

Start by placing your chosen faceted stone face down on a flat strong surface so the point is facing you. 

Hold the snaptite setting by the wire on the back and gently push the setting down over your stone. 

It should make a tiny click (or snap) sound. You don't have to press hard as the little claws will gently move over the stone and the pre-notched claws are ready to hold the stone in place. 

To make sure your stone is extra secure you need to use your pusher tool to gently push the claws onto the stone.

A bench peg is the perfect surface to do this on.

Use your thumb to hold the wire of the earring against the end of your bench peg, with the back of the earring resting on the top of the peg (this enables you to push the claws onto the stone without bending your earring backing).  

Starting with the first claw and focusing on one at a time, use your forefinger to gently push the stone downwards so that a little gap opens between the stone and the claw holding the stone. With your other hand, rest the corner of the tip of your pusher on the bench peg, just behind your setting, and gently roll the tip of the pusher onto the claw so that it lightly but firmly pushes the claw onto the stone (being careful not to touch the stone with the pusher). 

Repeat on each claw and you're done!  

Professional looking earrings in under two minutes! If you haven't tried these before they are brilliant, great for beginners or an excellent time saver for even the more experienced in jewellery making.

Tip: polish afterwards using the polishing cloth for a shiny professional finish 

Or if you would like to try a bit of soldering, you could try the 8mm version:

You may already have some of these items in your tool kit already, but here's what you need:

W48 8mm Blue Topaz faceted stones x 2 (Or choose any 8mm Faceted stone, click here for a yummy selection)
S86 8mm Sterling silver snaptite setting x 2
SF62 2.5mm Sterling silver Earstud with flat plate (pair)
C54 Pusher tool 

For soldering:

C181 torch
C14 block
C165 pickle
C83 plastic tweezers
C103 reverse action tweezers
A30 solder paste - easy    
A29 Solder paste needle
C195 scratch brush
C173 Polishing papers
C49 Silver cleaning cloth

(or if you prefer the traditional soldering process A80 solder strip + C93 + C118 Borax dish and cone + C119 Flux brush)

Before we set our stones we need prepare our workspace and solder the flat plates to the backs of our snaptite settings. 

I used the solder paste, as I find it easier to work with. Prepare your workspace by making sure you have your reverse action tweezers to hand and a bowl of water ready to quench your piece.

Mix up your pickle solution in a suitable container (glass or plastic). 

Tip: (I prefer to mix up a small batch at a time using a glass container and a teaspoon of pickle crystals - exact measurements and full instructions are included with the item...Also it's important to remember to only use plastic tweezers when retrieving your piece from the pickle! As metal tweezers can react with the solution and copper plate your silver! Remember to pour your water into your container first and then add your teaspoon of pickle.)

First you get your scratch brush and rub the surface of the flat plate and the back of your snaptite setting, to
remove all grease and invisible 'dirt' that could stop your solder from flowing. Place your snaptite setting onto your heat block with the claws downward and your nice scratched clean surface upwards. 

Apply a small blob of solder paste to your flat plate earring backing and press down onto your snaptite setting. 

Now you are ready to solder. (Make sure you tie back long hair, wear a breathing mask and/or make sure you are in a well ventilated area).

Light your torch and carefully circle your piece with the flame making sure you lower the flame so that the blue tip (inside the flame) is closest to your work. Pass your flame near to the solder but not so it's blasting the flame straight onto the solder. 

Tip: I like to sneak the flame near the piece and wait for the steam (which is your flux premixed into the paste) to burn off. Then I like to walk the flame over the work (like walking through a waterfall). I do this a couple of times and keep a keen eye on the solder and as soon as it flows take the flame away and switch off.

Obviously your piece is now hot, so you need to use your reverse action tweezers to pick it up and pop it into the water to quench the metal.

Next you need remove all the black marks on your silver by placing your setting in to the pickle solution you made earlier. Leave the pickle to do it's thing and go and have a nice cup of tea. When you come back if your piece has turned a nice frosty white-ish colour, it's ready to take out. Using your plastic tweezers, lift out your piece and rinse under running water. Dry off with a tissue. 

Polish up using your polishing papers to bring your silver up to a nice shine (use each colour in sequence, each one is a different grade). 

Now pop your stones in and push the claws over using the same method described above and finish by buffing up with your silver polishing cloth for that high shine!

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