Art Jewelry – How to Solder a Funky-Cool Rustic Pendant

Rustic jewelry - Soldered Rubber Stamped metal pendant
Rustic Jewelry

“Art jewelry” is an apt term for this necklace since it is made to display your art. The pendant is designed as a housing for your artwork, rubber stamped art, vintage postcards, photographs – whatever you want to display in the holder.

I’m using a purchased dog tag for my base, but you may want to cut out your own shape. Thrift store or throw-away cookie tins work great for this project.

punching a hole in a metal pendant

Step 1. Punch a hole into your base pendant shape.

setting and eyelet in a metal pendant

Step 2. Set an eyelet into the hole for a more finished look. In this case, I am punching a hole and setting an eyelet into a dog tag.

torching metal

Step 3. Hold the metal with a pair of pliers so you don’t burn your fingers. Use a paint stripper, a VERY hot heat gun, a torch or a gas flame to heat the metal until it becomes mottled and develops color variations that please you.

filinf cup metal

Step 4. Use tin snips to cut a rectangle that is large enough to extend past your base shape by about 1/2″. In this case I am cutting it to 1- 1/2″ x 1- 1/2″ to extend past the edges of my dog tag. The metal edges from the cookie tins are very sharp so I recommend filling them down a bit before moving on to the next step.

heating metal to change texture

Step 5. Hold this piece of scrap metal with your pliers (or something so that you don’t burn your fingers) and burn the painted design off. Again, you can use a paint stripper, a very hot heat gun, a torch or a gas flame (such as the stove)  to do this step.

Rubber Stamped metal pendant

Step 6. Use a piece of plastic for your display window. I use plastic that is thin enough so that I can cut it with my scissors or tin snips. This piece still has the blue protective film on it. You can find thin plastic at hobby stores or plastics stores. You can find a lot of sources online as well.

Rubber Stamped metal pendant

Step 7. Use an awl to score the metal in preparation for folding .

Rubber Stamped metal pendant

Step 8. Use scissors or tin snips to cut away the corners of the metal.

Rubber Stamped metal pendant

Step 9. Grab your pliers and bend the edges inward on three sides. this will be the actual art frame.

solder metal

Step 10. Sand the area where you will solder the frame onto the base shape. Clean with alcohol and let dry. You want to be sure that you have no finger oils on the metal where you want the solder to stick.

Rubber Stamped metal pendant

Step 11. Cut short lengths of solder. Lay them out on the area that you want to fuse together.  (Get solder at any hardware store. It comes in a spool and looks like regular wire except it is for soldering.).

Rubber Stamped metal pendant

Step 10. Carefully clamp the frame to your base piece of metal being sure not to disturb the little lengths of solder that is sandwiched between the two pieces of metal.

Step 11. Hold the piece over an open flame and the solder will melt joining the pendant to the art frame. I hold it over my gas stove. But, if you have a soldering iron, you can touch the hot tip to the frame and the solder will melt that way as well. It melts pretty fast over an open flame. With the iron, you will have to hold it for a minute or so.

punced metal

Step 12. After the two pieces were joined, I used an awl and a hammer to punch a little texture onto the frame.

Rubber Stamped metal pendant

Step 12. Get your photo or art together. Here, I have used a rubber stamp with permanent black ink. Then I painted over it with water color crayons.

Rubber Stamped metal pendant

Step 13. Cut your art to fit inside your pendant frame.

Rubber Stamped metal pendant

Step 14. Slide the art and piece of plastic into the frame and use pliers to further tighten the fold down to the plastic.