Fusing Silver and Reticulation on Copper | Jewelry Tips with Nancy

Fusing Silver and Reticulation on Copper | Jewelry Tips with Nancy

Hi! This is Nancy L.T. Hamilton and I have
an exciting treat for you today! I may not tell it to you. Anyway, I have a guest artist
and a crazy friend of mine named Sugar who is going to be showing us something that she
is going to tell you about. So, welcome back! I hope you all had a great New Year! And one
little, self shameless self promotion here: um, I was working with Craftsy recently and
um, my video will be released this winter so, look for it. Okay?>>Sugar: Hi, I’m her
crazy friend Sugar and today I’m going to show you about fusing metals together. I’m
not a big fan of solder so, I’ve developed a fusing method that uses no solder for both
sterling and copper.>>Nancy: She’s good! >>Sugar: So, to start off, I choose my metal usually I work with copper or sterling
for the back plate. And then, you can take whatever size you want of that. And then,
I use scrap metal, usually sterling silver like this and we can re-use it in this technique.
And then, not only can you reuse your scrap but, you don’t have to use solder.>>Nancy:
[clapping].>>Sugar: So, in order to do this I prep my silver. Sometimes, I like to use
the balls. So, I’ll ball this up ahead of time. I use squiggles a lot. I’m known for
squiggles. So, here’s some squiggles. Um, and then, later on we’ll get into just using
plain scrap without doing anything to it. So, I’ve already prepared these balls and
I’m doing this on the sterling silver. You can use flux and you’re supposed to use flux
but, being a short person I take short cuts. And that is one of my short cuts because you
don’t actually need the flux. So, I take these pieces and put them on top of the copper however
it is that I want them to melt. Um, I call myself, my art Rorschach art because everybody
see something a little different in it. And, once I do this you can see what you see in
it! I’m going to start up the torch. Now, you wanna heat the whole base of the metal.
You don’t want to just get those little pieces ’cause you want it all to melt at the same
time. So, I’m just heating it all up. [torch sounds] Now, you’re starting to see it melt
a little bit and that’s when you really want to start watching it. [torch sounds] So, you
can see when it flows together and fuses together. And it’s starting –
you can see it now – it’s sort of, there we
go and …That’s pretty much it. That’s sterling on sterling. Now, this copper, I placed those…the
silver’s going to melt faster than the copper. So, I’m going to heat up this back silver…copper
plate. A lot of times, I’ll even heat up the copper before I throw the scrap metal on and
I’ll show you that in the next demo. [torch sounds] So, once again, you watch for that
silver to…fuse on to the other, the base metal and you can see it…when it does. And
there you go. And that’s, it’s as easy as that! It is all fused together now without
solder. So, the next one I’m gonna show you – it’s a form of reticulation. It’s basically
what we did before but, it’s taking it to a higher melting point. So, you get a melted,
reticulated look – it’s not an actual reticulation but, it’s pretty much the same thing. So,
I wind up going through scraps and then pulling out some pieces. I’ll cut them up with tin
snips into little pieces and it doesn’t really matter for this what form they’re in because
I’m gonna take them and melt them down so much that you won’t even see the shape that
I’m doing. So, for this reticulated one, I will come in and I will heat up my copper,
for just a little bit before I put the sterling pieces on it. Just…to give it a hot base
to go. And then I’ll just throw little pieces – it doesn’t really matter what they look
like – I just throw them on there because I’m gonna pretty much melt them and reticulate
it on to this. Once it’s melted, the silver is going to follow the flame. [torch sounds]
And, I’ll show you what I mean by that. I’m going to melt it all down here. Now, if you
see, I can bring it all around this piece. Because, it will follow the flame. Now, the
more I do this, we’re gonna get deep valleys and crevices and it will look like a beautiful
piece of reticulation. So, I never know what type of design I’m gonna get. I’ll quench
this after doing that. See how hot that was? So, I would clean it with this steel wool
and then afterwards you get lots of definition and texture on the piece. Because I used the
copper, I like, after that, I like to color it so, I would put it back on the charcoal.
Get my torch out again. Now, with coloring, I’m not trying to do any, I’m not trying to
melt it, I’m not trying to get it that hot. I’m gonna hit it and take it away and watch
it, slowly, change colors. So, I just, I play with it, ’cause once you take the torch off,
as it cools down, it changes colors itself. See, now you’re getting, where the copper
is, you get pretty colors. And then what I would do, once I colored the piece – oh, there
we go – see how that’s changing colors? And then, I would turn it off and I would wait
until it finished coloring itself, as it cools down. And then, I might come back through
with the steel wool and shine up some of the silver – just to give it different layers
of color and texture and some shiny, some not. And then I would, finish the edges or
decide what I’m going to make with this piece ’cause basically, I have now made a piece
of sheet metal that I can use in my jewelry. And that is how I fuse metal together!>>Nancy:
[clapping]>>Sugar: So, after this I would finish edges and I would decide what I’m doing
with it. This is going to turn into a pendant for Lisa. You can’t see her because she’s
behind the camera. But, we’re gonna turn this into a pendant so, I would do the edges and
do something fancy – it will turn into something. Here is a great example of fusing. This bracelet
was all fused. The only solder was in this particular bezel setting. But, besides that,
I did all of that, without any solder. And that’s all sterling silver. That’s: sterling
on sterling. So, these are the things that you can do without solder. ‘Cause, once again,
I don’t like solder! Well Nancy, it’s been so much fun being able to play in your studio.
I want to do it more often!>>Nancy: Five bucks an hour. [Laughter] Sugar, [Mawah – kissing
sound] I love my Sugar. Thank you so much for coming and sharing your fabulous skills
with us. You made a beautiful piece and Lisa scored because, I think she’s getting that
necklace.>>Sugar: She is!>>Nancy: Stay tuned for the next one. Don’t forget to subscribe
and keep watching because we’re always going to do fun, fun stuff! It’s weird over here!
[high voice]>>Sugar: I’ll probably be back!>>Nancy: AH, ahhhh! [laughter and yelling]
Gimme five! Good work. [silence, then laughter]>>Sugar: Oh shit, I had it exactly how I was
going to turn it back on but you just talked it out of me.>>Nancy: I’m sorry.>>Sugar:
It just disappeared.>>Nancy: It’s not my fault you’re senile>>Sugar: Okay, alright,
I’ll think of something quick. [laughter]>>Nancy: Don’t ever come back. [laughter]
>>Sugar: Okay, give me another…>>Nancy: That would work well Suge, thanks. [Nancy
fake sobbing]>>Sugar: Ahhhh!>>Sugar: Hi! I’m her fre…ahhhah dadada… [laughter]
>>Nancy: Say hi to pappa.>>Sugar: unintelligible sounds. Sorry! [Laughter}>>Nancy: Cut, cut,


  1. best friend goals right there! Hilarious and well done. Fun techniques too. I just began experimenting with reticulation. Its a bit scary to take a pristine sheet and take to torch to it not knowing what will turn out. I like the idea of playing around with scrap!

  2. Hi Nancy-
    I am with Sugar, that I hate solder… I actually work in my home doing this so I only have butane torches (I figure it isn't really safe to have the propane or acetylene torches in next to my bedroom), so can I do these techniques with these smaller torches? Thanks again, love your videos!

  3. very wise make learning fun and the best way for remembering — but i also like to take notes and thank you for the informative silver smithing videos i really enjoy them.

  4. Hi Nancy and Sugar thanks so much for the amazing info. I was wondering do you need to clean the base metals first? Thanks so much again always love your work!!

  5. I stumbled across your web site while looking for answers to my acetylene tank questions – all set there now. Love this! Seriously informative, refreshingly artistic and delightfully humorous. So glad to have found you on the web and I look forward to learning from your fun and educational videos.

  6. Thank you (and Sugar) for sharing this! Just began melting scrap a few days ago to see what would happen. Great tips! Also started enjoying your new prong setting class today—–fabulous. Although, I'm wondering if they asked you to "tone it down a little", or something Thank goodness your great personality still shines through – love it!

  7. Love, love, LOVE this video!!! As a self proclaimed (and loosely termed) perfectionist, I often get stuck and want to hang myself from a tree of fine details. (If you only knew the number of unfinished projects on my workbench, Oy…). Sugar, this looks like a fun, creative exercise in happy accidents, and the outcome is gorgeous! You both rock; thanks so much for sharing! Nancy, will you guys do more? See you in Craftsy!

  8. I enjoyed and learned so much from this video. It gave me the courage to forge ahead and try it. One question does Sugar flux any of the SS, especially on the fused SS to SS and her bracelet? Thanks

  9. I'm such a fan. I watch these videos, I've taken the Craftsy class which was excellent. Your jewelry is magnificent, your teaching skills are excellent, and your humor is out of the ball park….always enjoy learning from you. Thank you!

  10. Awesome video! Can't wait to try it! Question: Can you fuse copper to copper? I've tried and I can't get it to work.

  11. Love what you are doing. I have avoided going further with my jewelry making skills simply because I am afraid of soldiering

  12. very impressive and enjoyable lesson.Delighted to see due consideration given to safety issues.Actually did not believe the standard of your videos could get any higher.I was wrong.Again! And I am delighted about that also.Wont go quite so far as to say your videos changed my life but it is perfectly true and accurate to say they have made a significant change in my life and for the better !Many thanks for sharing and do please continue with the excellent work and the humour.(No that is not a mis-spelling where I come from).

  13. Omg you are funny Nancy…..
    Thank you for all you informative videos. You videos are my "go to" videos for jewelry making… Thank you again!!!

  14. Hi Nancy is it possible to fuse nickelsilver? I realize there's safety hazards involved, I probably would attempt this outside with a fan to draw the fumes away from me. I just wanted to know if it's possible to fuse nickelsilver the way you can fuse silver…. Thank you so much!
    PS I love your videos!!

  15. Hi Nancy & Sugar!!! Quick question..where in the world do I find copper and silver scrap pieces? I've looked at lowes for copper but they don't sell it here. HELP😩

  16. I'm wondering have you ever hammered on the metal when it becomes semi-molten? I guess that would be forge welding, with non-ferrous metals. I don't think I've used two hyphens in a sentence before. P.S. Candy is dandy wink

  17. Nancy! You are amazing believe me. Happy person, joyful, salute pretty lady. GOD bless you. I subscribed. Try one video with Tin and Gold (and pretty sugar ofcourse) please.

  18. Great video. Question for Sugar: On the last cuff displayed- did you solder the bezel before or after the reticulation and does it mater?

  19. just subscribe! Thank you ladies for such a great video! I think creative women are the sexiest! Thanks again and take care

  20. Loved "Sugar's" bracelet & the tutorial, it was nice to see you having fun with each other at the same time too. Might have to try that technique soon.

  21. That is so cool – fusing sterling to copper – can't wait to try some.  You all are a wealth of information and entertainment.  Thanks so much. Also thanks for the warnings too.


  23. Hi ladies, you are both fabulous! Thank you for this top video. I was wondering if this can be done with gold onto sterling. And if so, will any gold do it? Thanks again!

  24. Question for Sugar: how do you go about setting the final product without affecting the colouring? I just made a piece I really love and would look great with a simple bail and nothing else, but to attach it I would have to reheat the piece and change the colours….

  25. I am just starting to fuse silver and would love to try this. However I only have a butane mini torch. What gauge copper sheet would I use for this? What gauge argentium sheet?

  26. I swear you are soooo hilariously cool!!!!!!!!!!! You should totally have your own show and please…please run for president!

  27. I have a question: been trying to fuse small shapes on a 6" copper strip, for a bracelet, and for some reason it was melting at first on the first inch, passed that now no matter what I do noting fuses on the rest of the piece. So |I tried the same thing with a piece of silver/ 6", also tried to reticulate it. The ends worked, but nothing is happening in the center. The piece now is powder white, which I suppose means mostly fine silver is on top, more copper in the center? I that why it doesn't work?

  28. Such a wonderful lesson. I have a fear too much flame because I am known for melting too often…silver that is. Thanks Nancy for having Sugar teach us a lesson on fusing. I will give it a try.

  29. I wondered if Sugar could comment on whether she needed to pickle the items after they were fused, since heating sterling usually blackens the piece. Many thanks to you both for a wonderful learning experience.


  31. Question for our most beloved and delicious Nancy and Sugar: is this technique possible with the Smith little torch, using oxygen/propane? Thank you, thank you, hugs’n’kisses to you for sharing the knowledge!

  32. This is really really cool and I was just wondering about this. I have a brass kiseru pipe that I’d like to do this with. I think I want to do thin copper maybe silver idk, flowers on it how ever since it’s round I’m not to sure about it sticking I’m going to consult a friend first that has a work shop.

  33. This is the first time I am commenting I think, but OMG YOU ARE BOTH SO ADORABLE! I mean I love your attitude in every video, and it is always very informative and easy to understand, but the but now there is two of you! I just love your energy! <3

  34. Love the technique of creating the faux reticulated silver look on copper. Can't wait to try it tomorrow! I think I'm ready to throw out all my solder after seeing this technique, lol. Thanks so much Sugar and Nancy!

  35. Hello Nancy. I love your videos we have two things in common Cats and jewellery. Please could you tel me if your using bare copper and pure silver for the fusing. Thank you so so much for your funny and very informative videos. 🤗💕🥰

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