Halloween is nearly here and I felt like getting into the spooky spirit (excuse the pun) with today’s design.
I doodled some ghost designs, you know the ones that look like a draped sheet with big eyes. I first thought about making earrings – just cutting the design out of sheet silver and adding red crystals for eyes; but,as well as not being inspired by the idea, I don’t actually have enough scrap silver sheet to do it.
This then forced the idea to evolve into a wire project. I decided to make the outline in 0.8mm round silver wire and solder two ovals for eyes. Looking at the design made me think that something was missing – it also looked a bit unsupported (the wire form would not be rigid enough to withstand wear and tear). Thinking about ghosts, and the ghost stereotype in particular, I decided my ghost would be the type to jump out and shout “Boo!”, so why not add the word to the design?
Well, down to the actual making of the project. First, I shaped wire into the individual letters of the word “Boo”. The “B” was actually made up of two separate pieces of wire instead of trying to get the shape right using only one; and two tiny jump-rings were perfect for each “o”. These I soldered together with medium solder (If I haven’t said before, solders are graded according to how much heat it takes to melt them – hard solder takes a lot of heat and then next is medium solder, then easy solder and lastly extra easy, which will melt and solder at the lowest temperature. It makes soldering lots of pieces in different stages very easy by taking the temperature down each time you don’t re-melt the previous solder joints) and put aside for later.
The main shape of the ghost was based on my original pattern but, as I worked the wire using the round-nosed pliers, I changed some of the bends slightly if I thought they looked better. As I was using scrap wire which was in short lengths, I actually had to make the main shape in two pieces and solder them together (again using medium solder). The eyes were wire, soldered into large circles and then squeezed gently into ovals with my fingers. The eyes came out different sizes but I liked the effect and decided not to re-do them.
Putting all the pieces together flat on the soldering board, I saw that I needed to squeeze the main body in slightly so that there would be good contact between that, the eyes, and the word “Boo” – I wanted everything that touched to be soldered well together. I added a jump-ring to the top (after filing a concave curve in it so it would fit well to the top of the ghost) and then fluxed and soldered all the joins at the same time with easy solder.
Looking at the ghost, I remembered I had wanted to give him red eyes. I soldered one half loop to each eye and then hung a red (Siam) Swarovski® crystal from each loop. They now swing in a very sparkly but somehow disturbing fashion – they remind me of those googly-eye glasses that you used to get from joke shops or advertised in the back of comics (am I showing my age now?). I just also thought I should say that the head-pins for the crystals were hand-made as normal ball-ended head-pins but I held them in a pair of pliers and hammered the “ball” at the end very flat.
A bail was added, which was made from a coil of silver wire soldered together. Very simple but effective, especially when silver sheet is not available to make bails.
You might have noticed that I haven’t mentioned pickling in this post. The silver that was used for this project is called “reflections” silver and is a silver allow with less copper but increased tin, zinc and germanium, which means it has amazing resistance to tarnish and fire-scale. It is still 925 purity and can be hallmarked Sterling Silver or “925”. It’s also much easier than traditional sterling to work with.
Well, lastly I gave the piece a preliminary file and polish before a very quick half-an-hour in the tumbler to boost the shine and work-harden the piece (to make it more durable to everyday wear and tear).
Here he is (don’t get frightened now… he might cry!):
A little after-thought: I wish that I could have thought of a way to do his eyes that meant they were a little bit clearer as to what they are! I think that the loops detract from the design but I couldn’t think of another way to get the colour in there (apart from using coloured resin, but I didn’t want to do that; or flat ovals of red glass, which would have been perfect but I don’t have any – so I couldn’t do it that way).