Foundations in Metalsmithing: Bracelets


Lesson Info

Sealing and Finishing Patinas

So, the other thing I wanna talk about is sealing and finishing patinas and even just your metal in general. Because, not only do we have patinas that we have to think about protecting, but if you're leaving your copper, your brass, or your bronze bare, you also don't wanna do that because they will tarnish or oxidize over time, right? So, even as I mentioned, like kind of the samples that I made beforehand like our copper is starting to tarnish a little bit. Now, to be fair, I did not do any kind of surface cleaning on these, so a lot of that is because of finger oxidation, but we're making jewelry, people are gonna touch it, so we wanna kind of seal it as much as possible. That said, patinas are definitely... tricky... to... seal because it's gonna change a lot of color. So, two things that I recommend, and it depends a lot on which patinas you're doing, we'll talk about this, are Renaissance Wax and then a product by Sculpt Nouveau, called Clear Guard and I usually buy the spray and...

they actually make a low VOC spray, which is what I buy. It's like a dollar more and it's totally worth it. But they do also make a paintable version, so when you're talking about painting the inside with a lacquer, so you could buy the paintable version of the Sculpt Nouveau to protect that. So, Renaissance Wax is great because it's not a lacquer, which means that it can be cleaned back off the surface later over time alright. It's a wax, it's what gets used in museums, it gets used in preservation, it's a really great product and I particularly like it for things like liver of sulfur. So, Ren Wax, you'll hear people call it Ren Wax because it's faster, right? Ren Wax is really good for something like liver of sulfur. I didn't test it on it, but I would venture a guess that it might work, it probably would work pretty well too on our brass, bronze, and copper oxidizer, this kind of dark thing. It may deepen the color a little bit, but if you're after a dark color, you probably wanna deepen it anyway. Now, that said, liver of sulfur is never going to last forever no matter what you put on it, whether you lacquer it or whatever, whether you wax it, liver of sulfur will wear off over time, it's just part of the beast. So, know that if you are sending a lot of products our into the world that have been liver-of-sulfured you may end up getting them back at some point to re-liver-of-sulfur them. So, just keep that in mind and again things like not liver-of-sulfuring the inside can make your life a little bit easier because that would wear off pretty much instantly. For things that have a little bit more surface texture to them, so you know, I would say you could probably use Ren Wax on that blue oxidizer as well, but having not tested it, I don't know how it's gonna drop the color out. But for things like our green patina, or the JAX Green Patina, things that are like basically really kind of chemically changing the surface in like a crusty way... There's probably a nicer term than crusty, but essentially a crusty way... I would not. Yeah, you can see it, so that's a like the definition of crusty, right, but like in a fun way. I would not try to Ren Wax that 'cause you're just gonna like make a waxy patina-y mess. So you can probably use the Clear Guard, but know it may change the color a little bit. So with that, I would definitely do a test with the spray, but I think you're gonna be better off with some kind of spray lacquer on things like that, versus... the Ren Wax. Heat patinas, you can kind of go either way. I've used wax on them, I've used spray on them. The spray keeps the iridescent colors a little bit better than the Ren Wax. The Ren Wax tends to really drop out those blues, but at the end of the day, a lot of those blues in the heat patina are really hard to preserve, so you do wanna be kinda mindful of that. If you're like, "Oh, I love that blue.", you might be better off with the blue oxidizer than trying to get a heat patina in the blue. Actually, let me put this under here cause this, our layered patina is doing some really fun things there. So you guys can see we've got, starting to get some little layers there, so whoever asked that question, it was a good one. You know, don't mix but definitely think about layering. And the same thing here you know, we could've done like a liver of sulfur first, cleaned back this surface area and then put this blue on and it probably would've looked even better than it does now instead of just, "Here's my random blue hangin out." So, you know, really start to think about kinda playing with these different patinas and like I said, there's a lot more. Oh, look, our blue oxidizer's actually turning a really pretty purple right now. So, it's a little bit hard to see on camera, but we've got a little bit of purple. So, that blue oxidizer runs through ranges I think, so that's a good one to keep an eye on because you might wanna pull it even before it gets, and I know just based on my little sample I did, it gets to the blue, the iridescent blue after that purple. So, if we leave it in longer, that's actually... let's see if we can get a line goin. We'll leave it in longer, get a blue area and a purple. Obviously, really you'd probably want to get the whole thing immersed, but in our case you know, we're lookin for some contrast, we wanna see what's happening there. Alright, other questions about patinas? From Theresa, "How do you apply the Ren Wax?" And you don't have to show it, but could you talk us through that a little bit? Yeah, I can't show it, because I didn't bring it. But generally, it's like a wax on, wax off kind of thing, so what I do is take a soft cloth, it's wax that comes in a container, so you're just gonna take a little scoop of the wax, you're gonna kinda buff it in with your cloth and then with a clean area of your cloth, you're gonna come back in and kinda buff it back out so there's not any gunky wax stuff in the surface. So, literally wax on, wax off. Cool, and if someone's planning to create a line of jewelry using patinas... Do you suggest just from a business standpoint using the same, similar colors or kind of you know, finding your groove throughout a different style? You know, that's a actually a really interesting question and I think it depends on, you know, when you're thinking about creating a line to sell, I think it's really all about finding your signature element. So, you may decide that your signature element is this blue patina or this green patina and then because of that you say, "Okay, I can do a million different shapes in my line, but they all have this unifying element." But you may decide that you actually wanna offer a lot of different colors. So, in that case, I would say think about a different unifying element. Maybe you do all these different patinas but you're always using similar shapes. Maybe it's kind of this organic form or maybe you're always doing a very geometric shape. So, think about what you can use as that kind of unifying element, so that it's not like, "Oh, 30 people designed this line." There's something that kind of draws it together. But if you know you're the kind of person who's like, "Oh, I wanna use all the different patinas.", then think about something else, Maybe its shape, maybe its scale, but think about that unifying factor. Two things, our oxidizer is continuing to oxidize, so we've actually got some really pretty blue happening here. You guys see that? Yeah, so I believe if I remember actually having read the instructions, that at this point if we want this to stop, because you can see even what wasn't in there continued to change, so I think if we want this to stop oxidizing we have to give it a little dunk in the water. And you can see, the inside is definitely, it oxidized but it's not as even of a surface coat, and that's what we didn't clean, so I would say either clean it all the way or seal it so that it's protected. Don't just count on it being dirty as a way to stop it. But that's our blue oxidizer which I think is pretty pretty. And then the other thing that we're gonna do before we move on is our hyper-pickle. Pretty well done its job, so we're gonna take everything outta there too. I'll show you guys... Yeah, so that guys startin to look really fun, right where that little blue over the liver of sulfur, so hopefully that gives you guys some fun ideas. But now you can see the pieces that we've had in the hyper-pickle, which were looking very copper are now kinda coming back to that yellow. So, anytime that you do this, they're gonna look like sort of fake metal until you start polishing them up again, then they're gonna come back to a nicer color. That's what that looks like out of the hyper-pickle.

Whether you’re just getting started in metalsmithing or have been experimenting for years, Foundations in Metalsmithing: Bracelets will help you deepen your skills while exploring the exciting world of bracelets. From torchless techniques (like forming and riveting) to more advanced concepts (like hinges), you’ll walk out of this class with a heap of new metalsmithing skills! (And a pile of new bracelets).

In this class, jewelry designer and metalsmith Megan Auman will help you build your metalsmithing skills in a way that’s completely approachable - no matter what level you’re currently at.

You will learn how to:

  • Create unique cuff bracelets by forming wire and sheet.
  • Join metal without a torch by riveting.
  • Solder wire and sheet into different shapes.
  • Make hinges (with or without a torch) to take your bracelet designs to the next level.
  • Finish your designs and experiment with color on metal through patinas.

Whether you’re looking to grow your existing jewelry making knowledge or for a new creative outlet that you can proudly wear (and show off!), you’ll leave Foundations in Metalsmithing: Bracelets with a series of bracelets you can call your own - and a new set of metalsmithing skills you can expand into even more jewelry ideas!



  • This is a great addition to Megan's metalsmithing series. She makes the topic really approachable. Bonus that metal patinas were added in to the class. I loved the class!
  • I really enjoyed this class! It was very informative and gave me a lot of ideas for expanding a jewelry line to include a variety of bracelets and finishes.