How To Create Texture Using Polishing Tools – The Bench
Who doesn’t love a good texture? There are many ways to add texture to your jewellery, and I often use burrs, files and waxes to add deep and pronounced texture to my work. Here I am going to show you a few quick and easy ways to add texture using a range of polishing tools and my trusty favourite the Garryflex.
Wet and Dry Paper
Rubber Wheel, White
Rubber Wheel, Black
Matting Finishing Abrasive Wheel
Pendant Frosting Wheel, Coarse
Pendant Frosting Wheel, Extra Fine
Scotch-brite Pendant Wheel
Abrasive Rubber Block
3M Radial Abrasive Disc Pink
Dremel Speedclic Polishing Cloth Wheel
Luxi Beige Polishing Compound
Finger Protection Tape
Flat Nose Pliers
Peg and Flat Disc
Silver Solder Paste
To show examples of a few different textures I have cut out some triangles to make into little mix and match studs.
Marking & Sawing
Mark out your triangles onto the metal using a scribe to whatever size you fancy. Cut out using your piercing saw, sawing on the outside of the line to leave room for filing or sanding later. Also remember to keep that blade lubrictated! I have a nice block of wax screwed to my bench, easy to hand.
Now I hear you say, why do we need to sand when we are going to texture anyway?
You need to give yourself a good clean tidy base to work with, texture will not hide any marks or scratches and can highlight them even more. If you cut corners you will almost always have to go back and fix it later, so it’s far better to get it right at this stage to avoid going back and starting all over again! Ask me how I know?
I work through the emery papers, from 400 grit to 1,200 grit. At each stage ensure all your scratches have gone from the previous grit before moving onto the next. When I have pieces the same size I like to sandwich everything together with a small amount of superglue and sand the edges all at once, saving lots of time.
Now it is time to texture. Here are just a few of the many different textures you can create with a range of tools.
Garryflex – coarse
I LOVE Garryflex, so effective, yet quick and easy to use. Simply add texture using any motion you like, linear, circles or crosshatch. I have used a light pressure with a flicking motion in random directions to achieve a raw edgy scratched look.
Frosting wheel – Yellow
Knife edge rubber wheel – Black
Firstly, remember to protect yourself as these frosting wheels can be monsters! Wear safety goggles and protect your fingers. I like to hold my small pieces in pliers to give a good grip and keep my fingers out of harms reach. You can also hold your piece in a ring clamp. Texture the entire surface with the frosting wheel using slow backwards and forwards movements. Next I have added some cool stripes using the coarse black knife edge rubber wheel. Try and keep this straight and repeat a couple of times until you get the required depth. I love the contrast between the stripes and the shimmery texture.
Nylon Abrasive wheel
This gives a lovely matt finish. To give it a bit of interest I have used liner movements overlapping in a crisscross pattern.
White extra coarse knife edge rubber wheel
Using the edge of the wheel I have created little lined divots that go in random directions. They are overlapping so the whole surface is filled but not too deeply, just enough to see the pattern. This creates a really interesting effect with added depth.
Matt finishing abrasive wheel
I have kept this one simple by moving the wheel in only one direction to create a lovely linear and subtle satin finish.
Frosting wheel – Green
Covering the entire area, I have used straight even movements and repeated the process to emphasise the detail further. This is the coarsest of the frosting wheels and gives a really shimmery finish.
Soldering the posts
Ensure the backs of the triangles are all clean and free from dirt and finger prints by giving a quick rub with 1,200 grit emery paper to allow the solder to flow easily. Line up your triangles on your soldering block and add a small amount of flux to the area where the post will be placed. You can always measure and mark the point with a scribe but I would usually do this by eye. I like to heat my solder pallions and scoop them onto my posts and then bring the post over to the piece, heat the piece and solder on the post. You can sweat solder the solder to the earring first and then add the post if you prefer. Quench in water and place in the pickle.
Once out of the pickle the backs may need a bit of a clean-up. I like to use a Pink Scotchbrite radial discs which will clean up nicely without damaging the clean-up you did prior to pickling. If the fronts need a bit of attention you can always top up some textures or give a little light polish to any areas you would like to “pop” with a soft wool mop and rouge.
And there you have some little textured studs to mix and match. There so many textures you can make using different tools, so have a play around and see what you create. Always remember to stay safe by wearing the correct PPE – enjoy!
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Zoe Jane Jewellery
Loving to experiment and delve into a variety of processes, I combine both modern and traditional techniques. These include lost wax casting, stone in place casting, delft clay casting and the ancient art of granulation.
Each individual piece is personally handmade by me in my studio on the gorgeous Essex/Suffolk border, alongside my 7 cat helpers.