ScrapHappy March 2023

This is a bit of a cheat, as it’s not all scraps, but it is another way I use up some of the silver that I can’t easily smelt in an open crucible. I do have to buy the copper sheet, but the pieces I buy are usually sold as offcuts, and have already been recycled from old copper waste

I fuse it to copper for rings. Initially I made some of these back after my first fair in 2018 when I was asked to make some copper spinner rings for fellow stall holders who live with arthritis*. Since then, I’ve taken them along to the fairs I do and they’ve been surprisingly popular. As you know, I collect all the dust that results from sawing and filing my makes in the apron that hangs below my bench, and eventually that all goes away to my bullion dealer for refining, but the lemel there includes the excess solder filed away from joins.

When I’m doing a lot of sawing or filing of ‘clean’ silver I like to sweep it into a little pot, to reserve it for this process. The pot I’m using here is an old deodorant cap 😉 I always run a super strong magnet over the collected dust to remove any residual steel that’s transferred from my tools, and then I apply the clean dust and tiny bits of silver wire / sheet to super clean and lightly sanded copper sheet, just as I would dust icing sugar over a cake – very generously!

I also add a mixture of borax and gum traganth (I picked that up from my favourite baking supply shop in Exeter, BAKE). The gum traganth acts as a natural adhesive and the borax is a flux, both of which help the bonding process. You can just see in the photo above how I stand some kiln bricks on their edges to create a little cave around the piece. Put on my PPE, light #SmeltyMelty with the fattest of her tips and heat the copper from below.

The silver will melt and fuse to the top surface of the copper. I then have to quench and pickle it, and occasionally repeat the process with a little more silver. Once I’ve done that I like to run the strip of silvery copper through Morris-The-Mill, between some cards (I repurpose the parts of birthday and Christmas cards that I can’t reuse as notes for this) and usually include something to add texture.

The advantage of this part of the process is that it both smooths the surface quickly and also means any bits that haven’t fused tend to chip off, enabling me to decide if I should add more.

I then cut, file, solder and finish the copper as I would silver, to make the pieces.

Here you can see a wrap style ring that I’ll be able to adjust to fit as there’s no soldering and a selection of copper / silver spinner rings. These are all reserved for a customer to try in the next couple of weeks, and then I’ll put the ones that don’t fit / she doesn’t choose on my website and take them with me to my next fair – my first really big one which is Stitching4All at Westpoint on 30th, 31st March and 1st April. I’m quite nervous about it, but also starting to get excited. I’m sharing a pitch with my chum Kosy Kitchen Fibres, so if it’s quiet, we will have fun together, and if it’s busy we’ll be able to cover each other for comfort breaks and answer questions from the visitors. Well. That’s the plan anyway!

*It’s a very old folk remedy, wearing a copper cuff to ease the discomfort of arthritis, and the feedback I’ve had from people is that it’s really very effective. Information here

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.

Here are the links for everyone who joins ScrapHappy on occasion.

KateGun, EvaSue, Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy,  Tracy, 
JanMoira, SandraChrisAlys,
ClaireJeanJon, DawnJuleGwen,
Sunny, Kjerstin, Sue LVera, Edith
NanetteAnn, Dawn 2, Carol, Preeti, DebbieroseNóilinViv, Karrin, Amo and Alissa   


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,, Arthritis, folk remedy, processes, ScrapHappy, silver, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

25 Responses to ScrapHappy March 2023

  1. Going Batty in Wales says:

    Those rings look gorgeous and a very good way to use up otherwise wasted scrap. Good luck with the fair!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. katechiconi says:

    Those rings are fabulous! I love the colour of copper and would wear it all the time if I didn’t have skin chemistry that turned it green in two days 😕 Good luck at the Fair!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Such shiny things to come put of all that flaming and squishing and polishing… your scrappy magic is wonderful!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Dawn, those rings are gorgeous! I love the interplay of the silver and copper, especially in the ones with the little dots between the bands.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. you you really use the smallest of scraps and the rings are beautiful, I’m not surprised that they are popular at the fairs.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. claire93 says:

    all beautiful ^^


  7. acflory says:

    I knew that silver could by ‘plated’ to another metal but I would have thought copper would have a lower melting point than silver??? Or am I confusing bendy-ness with melting point? Anyway, a fascinating posts as always. Good luck with your fair. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Susan Nixon says:

    I’m always so interested in reading about your processes, and I appreciate that you explain them so well. I have tried bracelets, and they did seem to help, but I think if you were here, I’d try one of your pretty rings, too, as the fingers could use a little help. =) Good luck with your new fair. I’m sure you don’t need luck when you have so much skill. =)

    Liked by 1 person

  9. rutigt says:

    Your rings are so beautiful!


  10. dvberkom says:

    I love that you recycle-upcycle so much in your work. It inspires me to do the same! Crossing fingers you have a fabulous time at the fair ❤

    Liked by 1 person

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