Making Ball-Tip Headpins with a Butane Torch

by Sandra Lupo, Metalsmith, Jewelry Designer and Instructor
Exclusively for Fire Mountain Gems and Beads®

Use a Microtorch for butane fuel to make ball tipped headpins out of sterling silver wire.

Following manufacturer's directions, mix up a batch of pickle and begin heating it in the Crock Pot® for use later.

Note: Read hazardous material warnings on package and follow directions carefully to prepare Sparex pickling solution. Do not contaminate prepared pickle solution with any steel tools. Use only copper tongs to drop in and pick out any items in the pickle pot.
Using flush-cutters, cut 2-1/2 inches of wire to have an approximate 2-inch finished headpin.
Place the 2-1/2 inches of wire midway in the insulated tweezer. The tweezer should be held horizontal and the wire should be held vertical.
Release the safety lock on the filled butane Microtorch, press igniter button on the torch and heat the base of the wire with the flame until the wire forms a ball flowing upward.
When the ball forms, remove from heat, let the red glow fade then quench in cool water.
To remove oxides which may form on the sterling silver, carefully place the ball tip headpin into the warm pickle in the Crock Pot.The pickle is an acid solution that neutralizes the oxides. The headpin should be clear of oxides in a few minutes.

Wash the piece in soapy water, rinse, dry and polish with a polishing cloth.

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