Welcome to the world of handheld torches, butane and propane! This Soldered Pendant tutorial is only the beginning, my friends. You see, I just signed on as a “Torchbearer” – a brand ambassador for Bernzomatic!
Bernzomatic is a company that specializes in torches big and small. At first, when they asked me, I thought – “I do glitter, can I do fire, too?” Um, YES. I’m always game to learn something new – especially something as exciting as this. Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought I’d be using torches. I’m going for it! Every month I’ll have a new tutorial using a different type of torch. And don’t worry, their team of experts are there to guide me along to make sure I do everything correctly and safely so I can pass it all along to you!
I decided to start small and work my way up. This month is a jewelry project and next month I’m going to take on a food project. And there are other Torchbearers too – AZ DIY Guy, My Fix It Up Life, Ryan McCann Art and more! To see what the other Torchbearers are making and doing, follow the hashtag #FindYourFire or #Bernzomatic on social media.
Let’s get going and make some pendants! I made a video tutorial, but I’m also including pictures here too!
The first thing I did was find some 1″ glass tiles. I bought these on Etsy. I designed some affirmational sayings and printed them to size. I have the free printables at the end of this post in case you want to use them! Then sandwich the images, right side out, between the tiles.
Then roll it into the copper foil, and burnish the edges. Solder is not a gap filler, it will only go where the tape is, so any gaps will be seen. After that, brush on a coat of flux. I used water-based flux and lead-free solder.
This is the torch I used – the Bernzomatic ST500: 3 in 1 Micro Torch. It’s really cool because it’s a small torch that you can use on small projects and even food! Then, you add one of the attachments and it turns into a mini heat gun. Add the last attachment and you have a solder iron. I like the idea of having one tool that serves multiple purposes, it saves space and I don’t have to buy all three!
Next, let’s talk butane. The ST500 doesn’t come with the butane, you can buy a can for $4.99 wherever the torches are sold (home improvement stores). To fuel up, read the package directions, but basically – in a well-venilated area, with the torch off, and the safety lock on, turn it upside down, align the nozzle of the butane and press. You’ll hear a hissing of the butane going into the tool, and when it sputters (about 5-10 seconds), that means it’s full. You’re ready to go!
Put on your safety goggles and gloves! Don’t work anywhere that is super cluttered. Don’t multi-task. Focus on enjoying the process of creativity and learning a new skill.
As far as work surface, I used an extra shelf from my kiln to work on. You can use a floor tile or something similar. Small clamps are crucial for this project, I bought mine at the dollar store! The clamps hold your piece in place while you solder!
Another thing about the solder iron – it has a little exhaust hole at the top, you can see when it’s hot because it will glow orange. Make sure to keep that hole away from your face’s direction – and away from what you are working on, since heat comes out. I kept it facing up. To ignite, you click the safety button, use your thumb to pull back the lever, then switch the button to “continuous” – when you are done soldering a portion, simply, click the off button. Don’t touch it, it’ll be hot! There is also a switch on the bottom for flame level. You can read the package directions for all the fine details, I read them three times!
Here’s all my pieces ready to go, I was so nervous! And for nothing, it was a cinch to use! Before you solder though, you have to apply a coat of flux to the copper tape surface. You can also buy the flux where you buy the torch, solder wire and butane (hardware or home improvement stores).
Here’s my finished pieces. I definitely got better by the fourth one. I used split rings because I was all out of jump rings! To apply the jump ring, it’s a little tricky at first. I wrapped the bottom of the ring with copper foil, then coated with flux. Next, I built up a little pile of solder at the top of the pendant, then used the bent pliers to hold the ring and set it in place. Then I dragged the solder all around it to secure. I plan to practice more on this part – maybe watch some YouTube videos for advanced tips!
Even though they looked nice, I wanted to add something else…when in doubt, add sparkle, right?
I used Aleene’s The Ultimate to affix the crystal chain around each pendant. Wow, what a difference, it really brought these to life! The white paper, silver solder and clear crystals are subdued sparkle, if there is such a thing!
From the Bernzomatic site:
“Find Your Fire. There’s a fire in each of us. Waiting to ignite. We believe in carrying the torch ignited by our founder in 1876—whose quality craftsmanship and progressive mindset are what blazed the trail that got us here today. We believe in awakening the innovators in all of us—inspiring a culture of creators who can break boundaries, mark new territory and go where no flame has burned before. We believe in empowering those who’ve found their flame and dare to follow it. Because the ones who do are the catalysts of bold transformations that redefine the limits of what we can achieve. We believe in our fire and in your fire. It’s time to ignite.”
Thanks so much for checking out my project!
My question to all of you – what torch projects should I do? Leave a comment with ideas, I’m open to try them!
Here is the printable, size down to fit your project.
This post is part of a sponsored campaign with Bernzomatic. All ideas, opinions, and the excitement to work with this new art genre are 100% my own.
Love & light,