Category Archives: Tool Time Tuesday

Tool Time Tuesday – Texture Your Metal with Cupcake Wrappers?!?!?! *Giveaway*

Seriously! You can use cupcake wrappers to texture your metal if you know what you are doing. There have been so many advances in technology that leads to new objects that can be used in a number of ways. One such product is the decorative cupcake wrapper. They are laser cut papers with a consistency of a mid weight card stock. And that means they are perfect for texturing metal in a rolling mill.

Cupcakes and Texture

Watch this super short video to see how I use these decorative wrappers to impart a beautiful texture on my metal.

Video link: https://youtu.be/C6310DiJVv0

Where do you find these wrappers? Well, I found mine on Amazon as well as in the craft store. They are all the rage right now, so they aren’t too difficult. But I did go through a TON of listings and picked out about 16 of them and found the ones with the best prices.

I like using water color paper and this is the one I use:

140 pound Water Color Paper:
http://amzn.to/2eaUdTj

Here are the ones I like best…. and most are on their way to me right now as I type this. ūüėÄ

Affiliate links for other cupcake designs on Amazon:
multi_blueCombo pack – 6 designs
http://amzn.to/2eaKuML

Twist Flower Lace:
http://amzn.to/2fenehW

Ghost Cupcake Wrappers:
http://amzn.to/2fBtAMz

Bats:
http://amzn.to/2eaGGLD

Spider Web:
http://amzn.to/2fepRQH

White Snowflake:
http://amzn.to/2fBzxsZ

Snow Flake 2:
http://amzn.to/2ekg6mB

Eyelet:
http://amzn.to/2fBA1PD

Vine Lace:
http://amzn.to/2ekbnB8

Art Nouveau:
http://amzn.to/2fBDL3M

Vine Lace:
http://amzn.to/2fBDygU

Fine Vine Lace:
http://amzn.to/2feyo66

Heart Filigree:
http://amzn.to/2eaLX5V

Butterfly
http://amzn.to/2eaSEEM

White Flower:
http://amzn.to/2eYuFdH

Filigree flower lace
http://amzn.to/2feyX04

GIVEAWAY

I am giving away 20 of these wrappers (4 wrappers to 5 different winners.) Be sure to watch the video, Subscribe to my channel and leave your comment on the YouTube video to be entered. I will be doing a new video on Friday to announce the winners and answer some of the questions asked. I would like to do the Friday videos regularly. So be sure to pose your questions. Thanks for all your support and good luck on winning.

Tool Time Tuesday – Intro to torches AND Use your scrap to create and roll out an ingot.

Yesterday I got you caught up to what I had been doing for the past couple of months. Of course there was a lot that I left out as the post was getting pretty long. So with all of that said however, I am going to start from here and do my best to keep up. Wish me luck.

I have two videos to share with you today. The first video was published last week. But there were some things I wanted to share with it. As you may know, I have been making videos for about 5 years now. I know most of you think that I receive all the tools I review for free. However, that can not be further from the truth. While I do occasionally receive a tool for free, I actually purchase the majority of them. Sometimes I am able to get them at a discount, but that isn’t always the case either. Why am I telling you this? Well, it is time I figure out a way to help cover the cost of the tools I review and use in the studio and share with you. I have signed up for the affiliate program through Amazon. This will allow me to share with you some of the tools I use in various projects and such and make a small (very small) commission if you should follow the link and purchase it. I will only be showing items that I would use myself and think ¬†you may find useful. So if you find something you may like, please consider following my link to purchase. This will help me keep the blog and video posts coming. You will also see ads on my videos. I do not have any control over the content that is shown in those ads. I do get a small fee for the time the ad is displayed. I cannot tell you to click on them, but again, consider watching them or letting them play out. My next purchase goal is to get some good lighting for shooting the videos. Just this past week, I finally upgraded my camera and I am hoping it will have some good effects down the line. Thank you all for your support. I appreciate it.

Torches Torches Torches

So many torches, how do you choose which one is right for you?

So many torches, how do you choose which one is right for you?

With all of that said, Let’s get on to the videos. The first video is one that I get a lot of requests. People are wondering which torch is best to have in their home/studio/apartment, etc. So I take you though the six torches I routinely use in my home studio. First, you should always check with your insurance to make certain you will be covered in case of an accident. Second, always make certain you have some sort of ventilation system set up. I use a bench top fume extractor and it has worked great for me.

Some of the torches I use and like can be purchased through me. Others can be found on Amazon and other tool supply locations.

The Blazer Butane torch was the very first one I ever used. I am still using my original torch and it is my go to for small items such as when I am soldering bezels together and such.

This is the Acetylene/Air torch I use. I also use the #4 and #6 Tips.

The #4 tip is the one that is on my torch about 98% of the time.

I use the #6 Tip for annealing larger pieces and melting metal for casting.

Now that you know about some of the available torches, watch how I use them to melt down my scrap silver to create an ingot using an ingot and wire mold. Once I have an ingot, I forge it down and then roll it through a rolling mill to create a sheet in any thickness desired.

Long over due post – TONS of Videos

I could go on and on about how busy I have been, but that doesn’t really help anything at all. As you can see, I still haven’t figured out the balance between motherhood and work. There seems to be so much going on that every now and then something has to be dropped. Sometimes that is a video, or a blog post, or a piece of jewelry. I have tried very hard to make sure that I don’t drop the balls that involve my family, though sad to say, every now and then one of those gets dropped as well. Luckily, my girls have been very forgiving up to this point.

So what is going on? Well, all three girls are now in school. We still struggle with how to help Kate work through her learning disabilities. It sure makes things difficult when doing homework and trying to keep up with the other two. She just doesn’t seem to retain the information. And I am not sure how to help that. She is making great improvements in school, but we are still so far away, it feels. Riley has finally hit that maturity level where I finally feel like I can just let her take the reigns and do what she needs to without much oversight and prompting from me. That has been a relief. She is doing really well in school. She hates the “B” days when she has Gym and LOVES her “A” Days because she has calculus. I am not entirely sure she is my kid, LOL. Kiari is making huge improvements as well. It is so fun to watch her learn and grow. She is so sharp. I remember back to when she was born (10 1/2 weeks early and only just more than 3 pounds) and thinking what her future would be like. I am so blessed that she is sharp as a tack and picks up on things quickly. She sure has gotten fun.

Fun Family Trip to Las Vegas - M&M world

Fun Family Trip to Las Vegas – M&M world

 

I have finally been able to work a little in the studio. I try to get everything done during the day while the girls are at school so I can spend all my time with them when they are home. That gives us the opportunity to work on homework and our new family VLOG on YouTube. We even already have four videos out there. Our channel is called MUIR MANIA. It is still a work in progress, but the girls are thrilled to have a channel they can be a part of. If you would like to follow some of our crazy antics and just know about what is going on in life, please subscribe. They are thrilled with each new subscriber. And once we hit 100, we get a personalized channel name.

Link to subscribe to our Channel: http://bit.ly/2eD3itt

And be sure to check out our first four videos. We will have lots more crafts, treats and just family updates. It is a family video blog, so there will probably be a little of everything.

5 Fun Halloween Treats:

4 More Fun Halloween Treats:

Kelsi – Our story of Preeclampsia and Infant Loss:

Muir Mania – Vegas style:

Tool Time Tuesday RECAP

Well, I have been severely lacking in posting my Tool Time Tuesday Posts. So let me catch you up. Because while I am behind there too, I have at least made a few videos. Here is what you may have missed.

Fun tip: Removing a pancake die tab quickly with the hydraulic press:

Sand Casting: From Start to Finish

Using the JoolTool:




There are so many files. What is the difference?

You know I love Tube Setting:

See you all tomorrow for an actual Tool Time Tuesday Post. ūüôā

IT IS GIVEAWAY TIME!!!! New video

Summer is quickly coming to a close. My kids are headed back to school this week and next. I can’t believe that we are already finished with the summer break. How did that happen so quickly? We have had such a busy summer, and yet, we don’t really seem to have done much. Although, Riley did finally get her driver’s license (WHAT!?!?!?!) and the two little ones got to go on a trip to Mt. Rushmore (or Mountain Rushmore, as Kiari calls it.) There was plenty of tutoring, swim lessons, nights out at the fire pit, oh, and I turned the big 4-0. I didn’t get the chance to do much in the studio video wise…. do you know how hard it is to film a video with three to four girls running around screaming and picking on each other? I did find some time to come up with some new workshops for next year.

Leather, Metal and Glass.

Leather, Metal and Glass.

One very exciting thing that has happened is that I reached my first goal of 10,000 subscribers on YouTube. WOOHOO!!! What? you aren’t a subscriber yet? Well, you should be. Just visit this link to take care of that: www.YouTube.com/kcjewelbox – just click that little subscribe button and you will be good to go. Now you will know when I put out new videos.

Kinetic Jewelry

Kinetic Jewelry

I have had the good fortune to work with so many different companies throughout the past couple of years. They have been very supportive and they have stepped it up once again. I have so much to giveaway. In fact, my giveaway is valued at nearly $4,000 for everything. There are far more items than I ever thought I would have, so I have decided to break it up and roll it out little by little. So be watching for opportunities to enter. Because I have had so many items donated to this giveaway, the winner agrees to pay for shipping as there is no way I could possibly pay for it all…. I would be broke. LOL.

So let’s get to it already shall we? YAY! The first giveaway for a Tube Setting Kit which includes:
10 – Sterling Tube Bezels with Seat, 5 mm hole.
10 – 5mm Round AAA CZ
1 – Tube Setting Punch/Burnisher

Thank you to Halstead Bead for the gift!

To enter the giveaway РSimply click on this link and fill in your information: http://eepurl.com/cbCCBD

Melissa Muir - Metalsmith GIVEAWAY

Melissa Muir – Metalsmith GIVEAWAY

To see how this kit is used check out this video: https://youtu.be/CET8bx-QqPE

Rolling Mill Resource Products, Review and Opportunity

Hello everyone. This year has been so unbelievably busy with all my traveling and teaching. I am finally getting back into the swing of things and have exciting plans for my YouTube Channel and online workshops that will be offered here on my own website. Watch for some big design changes on my website coming soon too. I am very excited to be getting things back in order and playing in the studio once again. I have a few more administrative things to take care of and then I hope to really get back into it and get things rolling. My book is finally making progress again and I now have 4 of the 5 Sections laid out in rough draft form and we will soon begin the final editing and proofing. I am so excited to see this finally starting to come together. And my Craftsy video will be coming out soon. I will keep you posted, but it is just a few weeks away.

A few years ago, when I still lived in Ohio a Facebook friend of mine asked if she could send me some of her new rolling mill patterns that she had finally perfected and was ready to introduce to the world. Tracey Johnson spent over 10 years developing, testing, tweaking and perfecting the process. She is¬†the one that developed the products now offered through her company Rolling Mill Resource. Since that time several companies have copied her and even claimed that they work with her. But make no mistake, she makes the BEST product on the market. I have tried several of the others and they just don’t compare. The others have some great designs, but they aren’t cut deep enough for a really nice impression – at least that is my experience and opinion.

Tracey began when Lasers were still about $100,000. But she had an idea and really wanted to get it developed. It all began with the idea to create templates, but then she had the idea for textured papers that could be run through the rolling mill. Her first bid for setting up just one design was over $800. Seeing how that wasn’t feasible, she contacted several companies to see if they would let her use their laser. She did everything she could, including offering to clean their bathrooms. She finally found someone that allowed her to do the research and development needed until she figured it all out. For three years she tested different types of papers, different lasers, trying out the best designs and figuring out the proper settings for optimal depth of her designs and patterns.

Diane_Townsley1

Diane Townsley

Eventually she was able to buy a 3rd hand laser. It worked for a very short while. She bought another 3rd hand laser (her current one) and it has begun to be very unreliable. Tracey has had to spend thousands of dollars to keep it up and running. Her laser works almost 24 hours a day. She will get a design set and started and set an alarm to wake her up so she can start the next design. She has been doing this for about 6 years or so now. While she has made a good go of things with her current set up, however, it is not sustainable long term. She NEEDS a new laser. Ideally, she will be able to raise enough money to buy a new laser (Currently over $13,000) and the parts to fix her current laser (About $3,000) so she can have two lasers running and be able to get some sleep.

LaserNowTracey has come up with a ¬†great Go Fund Me Campaign. You can donate any amount if you don’t care to purchase but want to help a small business. But there are two great¬†levels really benefit you.

  • Level 1
    • Donate $100
    • Receive $200 to spend in her Etsy shop.
  • Level 2
    • Donate $200
    • Receive $400 to spend in her Etsy shop.

Go Fund Me Link: www.gofundme.com/fundraiser4alaser

This is a serious WIN/WIN for everyone. Even $100 will go a long way as her prices are VERY reasonable. You will be able to redeem your gift certificate once she is able to procure the new laser and get it up and running.

Diane_Townsley2

Diane Townsley

Over the next couple of weeks I will be releasing several videos that show different ways of using her patterns with a rolling mill. I love that Tracey does not run a fly-by-night shop. She has invested everything she has into this and has a superior product, as should be expected as she is the ORIGINAL Creator of the process. Let’s help a small business and artist realize her dream.

In the meantime Check out this Tool Time Tuesday video (even though it is Wednesday) on how to use the papers with your rolling mill.

Direct Video link: https://youtu.be/CAxciPgluhU

Tool Time Tuesday – Get a Mirror Polish with the JoolTool

Hey everyone. Well the construction and remodeling continues. I keep saying this, but hopefully we are finally done for a while. I also will probably have a little bit of a break from the videos (as if the one I have had wasn’t long enough) because I will be teaching at my daughter’s school for two and a half weeks. I am pretty excited as this is a Jewelry Making Intensive, which means I will have 12 students for the 2 1/2 weeks for 6 hours a day. I have quite a few fun techniques planned. I have also been playing with the new sand casting kit by Kevin Potter and boy has it been fun. I am finally really comfortable with it and can’t wait to create the video for that as well as teach my sand casting classes.

In this Tool Time Tuesday video I even show you how I clean up a ring that has been created through the sand casting method. Sand casting does not leave you with a super clean and smooth piece the way lost wax casting does. There is a lot of clean up. But there are some benefits to sand casting and that is a topic for another day. But the clean up…. that is todays topic.

JoolToolPolishRings

A couple of weeks ago I had the great pleasure of traveling to the Los Angeles area where I spent a couple of days with Anie of JoolTool by Anie. It was fun and VERY informative in terms of using the JoolTool. I was able to learn a lot about the tool and what it can do and I promise there are a LOT of videos coming soon. So this is just the first of many.

In this video I use the JoolTool for Metal Polishing. But I use one additional disc – the Flex Diamond. The flex diamond is a very coarse abrasive and will remove material quickly. As you will see in the video, it does need to be used wet to help preserve the diamonds on the disc. From there, I work through progressively finer abrasives to get a final mirror finish to the sterling silver ring.

Video link: https://youtu.be/X56WJ9Ad1C8

Tool Time Tuesday – Multi-Shaped Disc Cutter and Another Giveaway

It is Tuesday and that means it must be time for another Tool Time Tuesday Post. Today I am reviewing a 9-piece multi-shaped disc cutter.

DP2449 DP2449a

This disc cutter features 9 shapes, each about 12 mm in size. I didn’t know if I would like this one because it has a fixed base, and I typically don’t care for those as I find that my metal bounces when trying to cut it using a hammer. That will probably be the case for this cutter if I use thicker metal, but as long as the metal was¬†thinner, I didn’t have a problem. ¬†Just check out the video to see it in action and my review.

Video Link: https://youtu.be/B3cqVM1FZt0

I will carry these, but only as a special order item as they are quite pricey to carry in my inventory. The cost is $240.00US plus shipping.


 

Another Giveaway

I have four more Square Aluminum Ring Mandrels by Pepetools to give away. And I have four of the Round Aluminum Ring Mandrels by Pepetools.

People have asked my thoughts about the aluminum mandrels. I think they are wonderful for wire wrapping, light shaping and sizing and great for finding out the size of an existing ring. When they first came out, I asked on several jewelry forums why people would want to use an aluminum mandrel. There were a couple of people that said that they would actually do quite a bit of hammering on theirs when they traveled. It is much lighter and more portable. A few answered that they would have it at the front counter for accurate sizing of customer rings. Wire wrapping rings was also a really good purpose. I have quite a few ring mandrels and 90% of them are steel, so I reserve the aluminum for lighter working situations as those stated above.

I do have steel mandrels if you prefer to purchase a steel mandrel. They are $27.00 plus shipping. They are shipped via UPS, so shipping is generally between $8 and $12 depending on where you live.

So how do you enter the giveaway? Well, I am running it through Amazon again. So ¬†just follow this link:¬†https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/cfc0fe41029352a5¬†and follow the directions. Again, I don’t receive any of your information and Amazon fulfills the order. You must be a resident in the US to be eligible, sorry. I will try to do another giveaway soon for my international readers.

I will do another giveaway for the remaining Round mandrels on Thursday at 6:00 pm Mountain Time. Be sure to subscribe to my blog so you won’t miss it when it goes live. Just enter your email up there on the right where it says “Subscribe To Blog Via Email.” Good luck!

Tool Time Tuesday – JoolTool Review

Today is a very exciting day. Less than an hour ago my contractor left with a final check in his hand. This means that the inside remodel is DONE! WOOT! If you recall, we were flooded way back in May. I cannot tell you how nice it is to have this all done. Tomorrow the tree guys will come and remove almost all of our trees. That is going to be sad. But it is necessary for a number of reasons. I am just trying to keep in mind how nice this is all going to look when it is finally done, and hopefully my house will be dry from here on out.

I have actually been having quite a bit of fun in the studio lately. It has still not been put back together, but that hasn’t stopped me from playing with some new tools. In the past two weeks I have put together two new videos featuring the JoolTool. The first is my review, why I finally bought one and then I show how to polish some of my tools. I have NEVER been able to get a good mirror polish on my tools. And with the JoolTool, I was able to do it in under 5 minutes. And some of my hammers were a MESS.

JoolTool Polished Hammers

JoolTool Polished Hammers

After playing with it for a couple of weeks, I am ready to endorse this tool. Yes, it has a nice price tag, but it is still less expensive than a good polishing arbor, and certainly less than a cabbing machine. It is quite versatile, portable (HUGELY important to me) and very quiet. And, I also like that you don’t have to jump in completely, meaning that you can buy a “starter” kit and then build up as you go and adding only the things you need when you need them. I started with the kit for polishing¬†metal and then added accessories to cut and polish stones, glass and enamel.

So here is my review and demonstration on how to get that mirror shine on my hammers and stone setting tools.

Video Link: https://youtu.be/dq0H_ZVShfo

Once I saw what it could do for my tools, I was eager to try other things. A friend of mine had sent some fused glass cabochons and this tool was amazing on them also. I was able to reshape, smooth and polish the glass back to its previous glorious luster.

Video Link: https://youtu.be/LJ6RP84GugE 

For my blog readers, I am offering 5% off your entire purchase. You can either contact me or use the coupon code: MelissaM1 at the JoolTool Website.

New Ring Mandrels from Pepetools

As you have seen, I have had the fun pleasure of working with Pepetools over the past year. This is very fun for me as I am often the first one to get to play with some of their new tools that they develop. Sometimes I even get to be a part of testing it out and helping to make a tool better. A while back I asked if they were going to make square ring mandrels. I don’t know if I had anything to do with it or not, but they finally came out with a ¬†square ring mandrel. I am so excited.

In addition, they also came out with some improvements to their existing ring mandrels and added a couple in aluminum. I ventured onto a few of my jewelry boards and asked why people would need an aluminum mandrel, because it is certainly something that isn’t very useful in my studio. I have seen a lot of people purchase them and try to use them in the same way as a steel mandrel. I can understand using them with wire wrapped rings as you won’t need to forge on them and such. The consensus was along the lines of what I was thinking. The aluminum is meant for very light work and mainly for sizing a ring in settings such as a jewelers shop at the front counter. However, there were a few jewelers that said that they would take an aluminum mandrel when they traveled to do some light resizing. They preferred the lighter weight when traveling.

People ask me all the time why I don’t sell ring mandrels. I am a vendor for a couple of suppliers and they all carry ring mandrels. But I will say, this is one area where I am kind of a snob. I will only use Pepetools ring mandrels. And this is because all of the mandrels I have found that aren’t Pepetools, have deep grooves for the sizing marks. That is just dumb. The rings get caught into them, and when you hammer, it is really easy to hit in just the wrong spot and then you have a mark on the inside of your ring that now has to be filed, sanded and repolished. I do not have the buying power required by Pepetools to carry their products, so I am not able to sell their tools. In fact, I am not paid by Pepetools, other than I do get to keep the tools I test out and review. So my opinions are true and honest and not based on a monetary reward. However, if they were to pay me, I wouldn’t mind that either. LOL.

I made a short video introducing the new ring mandrels. I will also be doing some new projects with the square ring mandrel. The sizing and making of square ring shanks is a bit different than round shanks. I will be experimenting and will try to create a ring shank sizing chart, similar to those for round shanks, but it will take a while and a lot of experimenting. Anyone want to come over and play in the studio with me?

Tool Time Tuesday – Steady Stamp by Jeff Fulkerson

I had the great pleasure of meeting and dining with Jeff Fulkerson and his beautiful wife in Tucson this past February. It was so much fun to see his beautiful pieces. Jeff has written many articles, has multiple DVD’s and online workshops as well as a crazy loyal following at the various national shows where he teaches. Not only does Jeff work with silver and metals for his jewelry making, but he also cuts some of the most beautiful stones. I was able to see some of the pieces he made his wife, and those that he wears regularly and all I can say is WOW. Let me tell you, I was¬†quite humbled in my own work once I had the opportunity to see his mastery of various techniques.

After seeing my review of Gwen Youngblood’s Riveting Essentials, he asked if I would be willing to do a review for a tool he has come up with. The timing couldn’t have been more perfect as my sweet Kate has gotten into doing some stamping and this tool works really well for her. What tool is it, you ask? Well it is the the Steady Stamp. The Steady Stamp is a small block of Poplar with a groove cut into it so that you can hold your stamp steady while striking to make an impression in the metal. The image below shows the original Steady Stamp. The tool I was sent has beautifully beveled and finished edges for comfort and is sanded smooth with¬†a soft finish.

Steady Stamp

The tool was developed while writing an article for Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist, where he was using the large flower stamps from Impress Art. He had a difficult time getting a good impression as he was not able to hold the stamp perfectly perpendicular with just his hands. This tool allows you to do just that. The other thing that is nice is that it keeps your hand clear of the striking range and decreases the chance of getting hit during a wayward blow of the hammer.

Is this a tool that is ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY? Nope, probably not. Can you do the job without it? You sure can. Does it really make a difference when using it vs. not using it? YOU BET! At least it did for me. There was a clear difference in the depth and clarity of my stamped impressions when comparing using vs. not using it. Can you make your own? Yup, you sure can, but are you going to actually do it? Now that is the question. ūüôā In the end, I find this tool to be small, and quite helpful. A while back I even showed a video of using my swage block to do this same thing. However, my swage block, while it will work, is much larger and this tool is much easier to hold. My daughter is only 8 years old and she has no problem holding this tool.

stamped cuff by Jeff Fulkerson

And as a special treat for my viewers, Jeff has given me a coupon code for $2.00 off (essentially 10%.) This is only for my blog readers and viewers. Just enter the coupon code MUIR during check out. Jeff’s website is www.ArtistJeffFulkerson.com

Of course, Tool Time Tuesday just wouldn’t be complete without a video.

Video Link: https://youtu.be/V707Vl7cQqo