52 Projects is an adventure in discovery. Every week, for 52 weeks, do something. Something you’ve never done before. Something you’ve always wanted to do. Something that scares you. Something that inspires you. Something that inspires others. Something that tickles your fancy. Something that caught your eye. Something that just popped into your head. It can be big. It can be small. It can be whatever you want it to be. Find out how doing something can lead you to discover things about yourself, your world, your God. Then, come here on Sundays and share it with others. I'll write about mine here, you write about yours on your blog, then use the tool in my post to link to your something. Please feel free to jump in and participate anytime throughout the year!


Sunday, May 16, 2010

Week 17: learning how to solder

This week's project was something I've wanted to try since March 2007 when I purchased an on line instruction book on how to make soldered glass pendants. I was so enamored with those little glass pendants. I don't care if they are "so three years ago"; I still love them. The instruction book sat in my email all this time but when Breen purchased me my very own soldering iron for Mother's Day, I knew the time had come. For this particular learning experience, I decided to try my hand at soldering a larger piece until I got the feel for it. Soldering on jump rings on a 1x1 inch piece of glass seemed a bit daunting on my first try. Boy was this an interesting project with many learning experiences.

I had purchased an old book with vintage circus poster images that were the perfect size of 4x6 inches. I removed the pages from the book, scanned them on to my computer and printed a few out on heavy card stock. I made a trip to the hardware store in town and purchased a few pieces of 4x6 glass. I had a large roll of 1/4 inch copper tape (which you need to adhere the two pieces of glass together) left over from years ago when I was making wire wrapped glass pendants with slide glass. Note that I just used the term slide glass. Herein lies the key to my failed attempt at soldering for this project: 1/4 inch copper tape is fine for putting together 2 pieces of thin slide glass but NOT two pieces of much thicker plate glass. I simply did not take in to accounting the difference in the thickness of the glass and the width of the copper tape required. So when Breen sat down by my side and we started to melt the solder we soon realized that the 1/4 inch tape was not giving enough coverage for the solder to grab on to. We had to abort our mission.

It was a strange feeling writing up this project because for as much as I have never considered myself a perfectionist, I suppose I am. I learned something about myself in this project: mistakes are okay and actually a very necessary part of learning new things. I would love to be able to show you a perfect pair of beautifully soldered circus paper weights but it just didn't turn out that way. I still love the images of the Barnum and Bailey circus posters and I'm definitely going to get back to soldering them in to paper weights or over sized coasters once I can get my hands on wider copper tape at least 5/8 inches wide. As for the existing 1/4 inch copper tape? I'm off to buy some slide glass at the bead store and try my hand at those adorable little pendants that I love so much. The soldering part is actually fun. Just make sure you have all the correct supplies before starting any project and never give up if you make a mistake!

What did you learn this week?


  1. ahhh! Perfectionism...so true for me, and something I'm working on throwing out the window. There's a quote, can't remember who said it at the moment, that "perfectionim is the worst form of self-abuse."

    Way to go on embracing the learning curve!

  2. That is awesome! Seriously, you guys come up with the neatest stuff.

  3. I'm the same way, and of course, I'm trying to teach my daughter not to be. Your ideas sign terrific and I'm interested to see what you ultimately do. I love that you got a soldering gun for Mothers' Day (so long as you wanted it, as it appears you did. otherwise, it's the start of some stand-up routine.) Now that you're a soldering pro, what does "cleans and fluxes" mean?

  4. ~l♥ve this project! we have one...i have always wanted to do something with it just never have. i think reguardless of date you should try your had at the glass pendants...one of the reasons i was excited to participate in 52 projects would be letting go of perfectionism and simply trying...i have a hard time moving past something i have been working on if i have made an error or feel it is less than perfect. having a check in for each week makes me move forward and attempt new ideas and be content with the end result...for all that i am thankful for your inspiration in starting 52 projects and putting it out there for us all...warm wishes and brightest blessings~

  5. I really enjoyed working on this with you my dear. I think we make a damn good team. Let's keep on this one and we can post again about our overwhelming success

  6. wow jane!! somehow i missed this other blog of yours... it is amazing! i am linking to it on my sidebar right now!

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