ScrapHappy Reticulation July 2022

I’ve failed to document our scrappy makes recently, which is rubbish, but I did revisit reticulation this month, and reuse the smaller pieces of that…

Reticulation* is where a sheet of sterling silver is heated to annealing temperature, quenched, pickled and repeated, a dozen times which results in the copper element of the alloy** has been depleted from the surface, effectively creating a layer of pure silver. The final torching that’s then applied is to melt that delicate layer of fine silver, without melting the rest of the sheet.

It’s a delicate balancing act, and if done well results in a fabulous texture of silver, that’s unique to that piece. It’s also something I love but find quite challenging to do – just like making toasted cheese – if the grill pan is too high, or left a fraction too long the toasted cheese isn’t bubbly and browned, but burnt and the smoke alarm’s howling!

I’ve learned that I should use a tip #20 to do the basic depletion annealing (the initial 12 heats) and then I have found it better to drop to a tip 21 or 22 for the final textural melt. If I get that just right, I can make the delicate top layer of silver flow a little on the surface.

As shown in this photo of me soldering a ring, the heat Smelty-Melty produces is intense in both temperature and scale, so the margin for error when using her is less than when using a standard handheld butane torch (such as a Dremel 2200)

I’ve made a number of bangles and necklaces using this technique, and then, because I did melt some holes into the lengths of the silver, making them unsuitable for a bangle or a cuff, I made myself some earrings from those shorter pieces for our recent holiday.

There’s then much careful sawing, filing and sanding followed by cunning use of dressmaker pins to support the tiny 3mm jumprings I solder to the backs of the sawn shapes to use to connect the pieces together

Here’s what I made all those pieces into (with the original pair on the left). Because I’ve been asked on every occasion of wearing If I have put them into either Etsy or my website, I made a range, and yes, now they are in my shop 😉

*Not the same retic you chaps in Australia have at all!!

**copper represents 7.5% of sterling silver, and is added to fine silver to add strength making it more durable than fine silver. It’s the copper element that oxidises)

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. Regular contributors will receive an email reminder three days before the event.

Here are the links for everyone who joins ScrapHappy from time to time (they may not post every time, but their blogs are still worth looking at).

KateGun, EvaSue, Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy,  Tracy, Jill,
Jan, Moira, Sandra, Chris, Alys,
Claire, Jean, Jon, Dawn (me), Jule, Gwen,
Bekki, Sunny, Kjerstin, Sue L, Vera,
Nanette, Ann, Dawn 2, Bear, Carol,
Preeti, Edith, Debbierose and Viv

About DawnGillDesigns

Finally able to make stuff and get paid for it!!! How cool is this?! Find me and my shinies on and as @DawnGillDesigns on social media
This entry was posted in #SmeltyMelty, Aquaflame,, processes, ScrapHappy, silver, Tech Tip, tutorial, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

17 Responses to ScrapHappy Reticulation July 2022

  1. katechiconi says:

    I love this texture, as if a rock had suddenly transformed into molten silver!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Going Batty in Wales says:

    They are gorgeous!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Because I’m a textile person, I thought from your title that you were going to talk about net-making with wire or something…hm, interesting! That’s an excellent use of scraps, I am impressed, and they are so pretty, and now I’ll know what to call it (and think of perfect cheese-on-toast) when I see that texture in jewellery, and be even more impressed!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. thanks for the explanations and pictures, it is very interesting to know the work that goes into different techniques and use of materials – so we have a little understanding of how the things we love are made. The earrings are wonderful.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. claire93 says:

    oh my! very pretty!


  6. acflory says:

    I swear, sometimes these posts read as if they’re about alchemy! The effect looks great. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I’m not surprised people comment on the earrings, they are absolutely stunning. And how clever to have one of the three squares at an angle. You lost me with all the technical details – I’m a bit thick, sorry! – but it sounds mighty proficient to me 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  8. rutigt says:

    Beautiful ear rings!

    Liked by 1 person

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