You can use decorative soldering techniques on a range of craft projects, from jewelery making to stained glass items. Decorative soldering effects can add a professional touch to a finished piece although some of the more advanced processes require practice. When using a soldering iron, it is easier to work from right to left if you are right-handed and left to right if you are left-handed.
Create a seam as you would normally. Add a layer of flux to the seam and switch the head of the solder to the smallest one you have (preferably 3/16 inch or 1/8 inch). Tap the seam lightly with the tip of the solder but don't just stick to one area; move up and down the seam. For smaller dots, make sure you tap quickly and try turning down the heat on the soldering iron.
Decrease the temperature of the soldering iron until you can hold a solder ball on the tip for at least five seconds. Add a layer of flux to the seam. Once you have a solder ball on the tip of your iron, lower it carefully onto the surface of the seam. As soon as it touches the seam, lift the iron quickly off the ball and it should stay in place. Try and use the same amount of solder for each ball, otherwise they will be different sizes. For smaller solder balls, try using a smaller tip.
Beads or pearls require a similar technique to solder balls. Once you have lowered the ball onto the seam, leave the iron's tip on the ball for a second longer so the ball starts to spread and elongate.
Tree Bark Effect
Use the soldering iron to create a smooth, high seam. Add a layer of flux to the seam and then re-heat a small section of the seam using the soldering iron. Take the damp side of the flux brush and press it downwards into the seam. Do not make a stroke motion, use it to make an impression in the solder.
Use the soldering iron to create a smooth, high seam and add a layer of flux to the seam. Turn the soldering iron onto a high heat. Using the flat part of the iron, wipe it sideways across the seam using a quick motion. Repeat this as frequently as you want down the seam, leaving at least a 1/2-inch gap between each wipe.
Wet a sponge and remove excess water so it is damp. Create a high seam using the soldering iron then add a layer of flux to the seam. Reheat a small section using the iron and push the damp sponge downwards onto the part of the seam you want to decorate.
If you want to add jewels or other embellishments to your seams, you can do this using the solder itself. Turn the iron down to its lowest setting. Add a thin layer of flux to the seam, but not to the jewel or embellishment itself. Place the jewel onto the seam and, using the smallest part of the soldering iron, carefully draw a small line of solder upwards around the jewel. Repeat this process three more times so all four sides of the jewel are held in place.
- Photo Credit David Chapman / Design Pics/Valueline/Getty Images
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