Hammer Your Own Copper Disc Beads

Jean Campbell is the senior editor of Beadwork and a contributing editor to Beading Daily

I filmed a couple of how-to DVDs a couple weeks ago. I'll admit, I'm not completely comfortable in front of the camera, so I watched a bunch of other videos to see how other teachers do it. One of these videos, by Sharilyn Miller, was one that accompanies Contemporary Copper Jewelry, a really nice book that not only has dozens of great projects to make but really good technique information, too. The new version of this book has a bonus DVD with Sharilyn walking us through some lovely little projects, giving tips along the way.


Hardware Store Bounty

It's funny . . . I was supposed to be watching the video to learn how to become more comfortable in front of the camera, but what ended up happening is I found my feet walking to my local hardware store to buy copper washers . . .


In the video I watched, Sharilyn manipulates these little inexpensive beauties (I paid just $1.30 a piece) into some wonderful jewelry-making elements, so I just couldn't wait. Want to follow along as I make my own?

1) Place the washer on a steel block and tap the washer's edges using the flat side of a chasing hammer. This will prepare the washer for texturing. It also evens out the edges of the washer, since one side has a curved cut and the other has a right-angled one.


2) Tap the washer with the round side of the hammer, texturing it completely on both sides. See the nice difference between the new washer and the hammered one?


3) I decided to patina my washer in a liver of sulfur solution. You'll want to do this in a well-ventilated area, follow the manufacturer's directions, and make sure to rinse everything clean with clear water.


4) Use fine-grit sandpaper to buff down the patina, then use a burnisher to shine the highlights.

Here are the progress shots . . . pretty cool, eh? I think I'll use these copper discs for a pair of earrings or maybe wire them together into a bracelet with stone beads between. Do you have other ideas for these great little components? You'll get even more fun ideas from Sharilyn's Contemporary Copper Jewelry DVD and book.

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About jeancampbell

Jean Campbell is the founding editor (and currently the senior editor) of Beadwork magazine and has written and edited more than 45 beading books. She has written for Beading Daily and has appeared on the DIY Jewelry Making show, The Shay Pendray Show, and PBS' Beads, Baubles, and Jewels where she gives how-to instructions, provides inspiration, and lends crafting advice. Jean teaches jewelry-making workshops throughout the United States and calls Minneapolis home.

4 thoughts on “Hammer Your Own Copper Disc Beads

  1. What would be the result if the copper washers were NOT dipped in the liver of sulfur solution? I see it is required to create the patina, but why not leave it shiny?

  2. This looks like a fun technique. However, my local Lowe’s and Home Depots don’t carry copper washers. Although they do have copper grounding wire and plumbing parts. Our Ace Hardwares are in outlying areas. I’ll have to try some more specialized plumbing or electrical supply places. I just wish copper washers were more commonly available.