Essentially if you can make a silver ring you already have all the skills you need to create a beautiful bangle. I would actually argue that bangles are much easier – as it’s more important with rings to get the fit exactly right. Certainly, if you can saw, file to 90 degrees and solder then you have the essential skills to create a well-made bangle.

That being said, there are a couple of common pitfalls that beginners often encounter…

In our weekly classes we often find that even though a student has taken the time to carefully line up both sides of the join on their bangle, it shifts during soldering leaving the join looking uneven! Why does this happen? Often the metal is quite rigid after being textured or manipulated and as it anneals under the torch heat – the previously perfect alignment shifts!  If this happens then you can certainly cut through the messy join, tidy it up with a file, and solder again to correct it.  Alternatively, you could choose to anneal your bangle before soldering to reduce the risk of this happening.  Often (after a lot of practice) you can learn to make subtle adjustments to your bangle join as the solder is molten – pressing down with tweezers to correct any misalignments. Have your tweezers in your dominant hand and practice with copper first. It’s easy to get so focused on fixing the join that you accidentally overheat or even melt another part of your bangle!

The problem that hinders most students who are working at home is torch heat.  Time and time again students approach me to ask why they are struggling to get their bangles to solder and it’s almost always because they are using a small hand-held torch.  While small (cooks’ style) torches are amazing for many jewellery projects they are simply not hot enough to solder a larger project like a bangle. In most cases, it’s a waste of butane to even try!

If you are very keen on making bangles at home, then it might be time to upgrade your soldering equipment. Here at the School, we use the Seivert Beginners Torch Kit hooked up to a propane tank but it’s not without safety implications!  If you are understandably not happy to have a propane tank and a larger torch in your studio, then perhaps a Bench Rental or Supported Session might be the answer to your bangle dilemmas. Prepare your bangles at home, then solder them in the studio using our larger torches. Or come along to one of our Bangle Making weekend workshops, see the current schedule to find the next available date.

Stay safe and happy making!



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