Day 38 Making Round Beads or Balls

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At some point in your soldering, you will want to make little silver beads or balls. This isn’t as easy as you might think. If you have tried this before, you might have gotten frustrated with deformed balls with flat sides and pits.

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Well, I will try to help you get less frustrated. Start with silver wires cut the same length. You will have to experiment with different lengths to get different size balls. If you have Pure Silver as opposed to Sterling Silver this will work much better and give you less pits. (I used Sterling here) Melt the wires into balls on a Soldering Block. Use a little Handy Flux to help in this first stage. After this, the balls are not round and are fairly deformed.

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Now you will want to make little “Divots” in your soldering board, or better yet, if you can find a Honeycomb Soldering Board made for melting balls. Use a bushy flame and melt the balls slowly, you don’t want to use flux this time. Once the ball starts to melt, slowly move the flame away and let it solidify slowly. (again, Pure Silver works better for this) I use my Mini Torch for this.

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In this instance I am going to solder a post onto the balls and make earrings. I dip all the parts in a mixture of Denatured Alcohol and Powdered Boric Acid. I mix about a tablespoon of powdered boric acid to about 1 ounce of denatured alcohol. Then I solder a post onto the balls.

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Next, polish and enjoy!

Have an awesome day and make sure to pause and enjoy it!

Doug

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10 Responses to Day 38 Making Round Beads or Balls

  1. Janet Carter July 11, 2014 at 12:28 pm #

    The silver balls I’ve been doing , but haven’t had an easy time with connecting posts. Just not
    Holding them upright I guess…………I don’t know what the denatured alcohol and borax
    Is for…?

    • dsnapr@hotmail.com July 11, 2014 at 2:22 pm #

      Thanks. The alcohol and boric acid helps keep firescale away.
      Doug

      • Melinda May 29, 2016 at 5:04 am #

        Greetings! Thank you for sharing your experience. Do you dip the metal in the alcohol/acid mixture prior to soldering? Or after quenching it, or in place of quenching it in water?

        • Doug Napier May 29, 2016 at 9:11 am #

          Thanks Melinda. I dip them in the solution prior to soldering, this coats the metal and protects it from the oxygen and keeps them from oxidizing.
          Doug

  2. Sarah September 16, 2014 at 12:34 pm #

    If I want to connect the balls next to a bezel do you have any tips or suggestions? Should I definitely use fine silver balls if my bezel is fine silver (base is sterling)? Thank you for your help!

  3. JewelryMonk September 16, 2014 at 8:45 pm #

    Sarah, You should be able to use either fine silver or sterling silver balls. I would use medium solder, or if you are uncomfortable with soldering the balls on the bezel, use easy solder. Make sure you heat the bezel from underneath so the heat melts the solder, not the flame. Good luck and make sure you take pictures when it is done and post it on the JewelryMonk Facebook page.
    Take care
    Doug

  4. Jay February 23, 2015 at 3:25 pm #

    Ive been wondering the same thing about soldering balls onto bezels (like in Navajo jewelry). Is there an easier way to get them to stay in place, say if they went around the whole bezel? I’ve heard of some kind of glue to apply before soldering. I’ve also racked my brain on how to use binding wire to solve it. They just won’t sit still. Any suggestions would be great! Also, keep up the good work. Your project here is amazing and I’ve had so much fun reading all of these. Keep Em comin!

    • JewelryMonk February 23, 2015 at 3:38 pm #

      You could try and drill a little “dimple” in the bezel with a ball bur for the ball to sit in.

  5. Jay February 23, 2015 at 4:09 pm #

    Good idea! I’m going to try sweat soldering them too.

    • JewelryMonk February 24, 2015 at 6:06 am #

      Great. Let us know how it comes out.