Scraphappy – February 2020

Time for another Scraphappy post. This is something run by Kate and Gun, that I join in with intermittently – I love to read the other bloggers’ posts about how they use their leftovers (aka scrap) every month, but only occasionally do I get organised enough to create a post myself.

The last few months have been busy for me, with creating and gently launching my new website (I’m running this in parallel with my Etsy shop) in addition to Christmas orders, restocking and new designs. These studs are a popular old faithful that I’ve reserved just for when I’ve had my work in bricks and mortar stores, and taken to fairs since I started. Now I’m no longer putting my work into physical shops, I needn’t keep a range especially for them, so I listed these studs this week, sharing them on my Facebook page. They sold instantly. (Yay! HappyDance!)

So, that gave me the excuse to make some more today, just in time for this month’s Scraphappy post.

Apologies for the photos – it’s a very grey day here in Devon, with the tail end of StormCiara blowing hail against our windows. Few of these photos are the standard I’d have liked, but if I spent all day trying to get better ones, I’d never have got these studs completed!

First, take some offcuts of silver. I sort all mine into various levels of scrap. Usually any failed projects are in yet another pot (to ensure all my scrap has no solder on it) but the setting you can see here, might, at some point find another stone it might fit!


The boxes here have my offcuts of sheet (top) and trimmings of wire (below)

For this project, I weigh out exact 1gram* amounts of silver, and then use my biggest blow torch to melt them all into one ball of silver. I use a charcoal brick to help amplify the heat and make a mini kiln with fire bricks, before quenching in tap water, and then dropping in my pickle (a warm solution of citric acid)

*There’s just under 250g of offcuts in those two little tubs, so I’m always keen to use some up!

Silver Scrap – Sheet / Wire


Melted pebbles


This is the sort of item I like to make in small batches, so I can select pairs that match as closely as possible. As you can see – despite weighing precisely – these aren’t all identical. I then pair them up on my mini steel block (I use doubled over masking tape whenever hammering anything small, to save it from pinging across the room / taking out my specs / bouncing into my top as it ricochets away) and bash them with a planishing hammer. You’ll notice this is also on a sandbag, in an attempt to keep the racket to a minimum for my poor neighbours.









Stamping tools




Once they are ‘bashered’, (technical term coined by #MrG) they get pickled and then I file and sand them to the finish I like. Of course, now they are fully work hardened so if I try and stamp a pattern into them it’s not going to take as well as it could, so I now anneal them -marking a line on them with a black Sharpie, which helps me spot the optimum temperature.


Pickle again, and then back to the steel block for the stamping  of the designs. I don’t use a posh jewellery hammer for this – but an old one I picked up at a market stall in my student days.





Solder set up

Finally, I solder on the earposts. I could make my own, but I prefer to buy these in from my bullion dealer, as they have tiny flat heads, and are pre-grooved. I’ve found that makes the final studs sturdier. In this photo, you can see a completed stud on the left, two with dayglow flux to the right, and one with solder already on the head , in some reverse action pliers. All they need now, is the earposts checking, pickling, a tumble in Betty, and patination (if I choose to apply it)



So, here’s a photo of one of each,  post-patination, in one of my prosecco corks (oh, the ordeal of having to ensure I have sufficient prosecco corks !)


There’ll be more photos, taken in better light, with my camera, rather than my phone on my website – here .

Do take a look at everyone else’s Scraphappy posts – there’s always something interesting I learn, every month. Especially as everyone else so far works in a different medium from me 😉

Here are the links for everyone who joins ScrapHappy from time to time. Kate always welcomes new joiners* – so if you think this might motivate you to use some of your waste, then do as I did, and ask if you can join in. (Everyone in the group is really generous with their thoughts. It’s a lovely, safe space )

I find that knowing there’s a monthly possible blog to write, keeps me thinking of new ways to use my offcuts, left over gems, orphan earrings, broken pendants etc.

Here’s what Kate always says:

ScrapHappy is open to anyone using up scraps of anything – no new materials. It can be a quilt block, pincushion, bag or hat, socks or a sculpture. Anything made of genuine scraps is eligible. If your scrap collection is out of control and you’d like to turn them into something beautiful or useful instead of leaving them to collect dust in the cupboard, why not join us on the 15th of each month? Email Kate at the address on [her] Contact Me page. You can also contact Gun via her blog to join. We welcome new members. You don’t have to worry about making a long term commitment or even join in every month, just let either of [them] know a day or so in advance if you’re new and you’ll have something to show, so [they] can add your link.

Kate Gun, TittiHeléneEvaSue, Nanette, Lynn, Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy, Debbierose, Tracy, Jill, Claire, Jan,
Moira, SandraLindaChrisNancyAlysKerryClaireJean,
Joanne, Jon, HayleyME!!Gwen, Connie, Bekki, PaulineSue L
and Sunny

About DawnGillDesigns

Finally able to make stuff and get paid for it!!! How cool is this?!
This entry was posted in processes, ScrapHappy, silver, Tech Tip, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

23 Responses to Scraphappy – February 2020

  1. katechiconi says:

    That video clip is great! I love how the melted silver runs like mercury – I was worried that the pebble would still be so hot that it would melt the plastic mesh on the sieve. Such cute little studs, and I just about managed to follow along with the technical terms: planishing, patination, dayglow flux, pickled, annealed… It has something in common with ferrous metalworking, which I’m a bit more familiar with! Thanks also for encouraging people to join us if they want to make use of their scraps; the more the merrier, and the less waste of valuable resources the happier our world.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you!! I have to hold the silver in the water for a second when it’s that large, otherwise it sticks to the nylon – but that sieve is invaluable for small pieces. I know nothing about any other metal working – did a tiny bot of steel work back in the 1980s in CDT OLevel / A Level classes, but I’e forgotten it all!
      I sent 2 of my dresses (I’ve only owned 4 in the past 30 years) off to someone for repurposing into Christmas stockings and handy ‘inside handbag’ bags, and I’m trying to encourage her to join in – she’s amazingly inventive and upcycles everything and anything. From vinyl street banners, to wetsuits, to food tins – everything she makes is incredibly polished and professional. I’m very excited about getting my finished pieces back. I’ll share when I do.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. acflory says:

    I love these step-by-step posts of yours, Dawn. They make my fingers itch to do something beautiful, or at least make the attempt! Bravo on your sales too.:)

    Liked by 1 person

  3. tialys says:

    I’m always fascinated to watch people making things that I’ve never made myself – it’s like alchemy. For the same reason, I’m enjoying ‘the Great Pottery Throwdown’ on T.V.. at the moment.
    Those little studs are gorgeous, I’m not surprised they sold so quickly.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. wonderful post, love the video and all the technical terms (the “pickle” made me smile). It is great to learn more about the process that creates the silver earrings I wear almost every day. The finished studs are great.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. dvberkom says:

    Very cool, Dawn! Love the video.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Susan Nixon says:

    I always like reading your posts, because you are talking about a world I know nothing about, and it’s very close to magic. =)

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Fascinating! Just hopped to your website – beautiful pieces. What a talented lady you are!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. teamwilsun says:

    Thank you for sharing your process — I know nothing about silverwork and this was fascinating!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, that’s kind -thank you. I always want to know *everything* about everything, so if someone orders a bespoke piece, they usually get a blow by blow account messaged. It’s something most people comment on, and are pleased to receive, so I figure share here too!


  9. Pingback: ScrapHappy May 2021 | DawnGillDesigns

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