Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Valentine's Sale!!

That's right! EtsyMetal is having a fabulous sale for Valentine's Day! So get that one you love (yourself even) a special gift this holiday.

Spread the love and make sure to check out all these participating shops:

Nina Dinoff -
Beth Cyr -
Rachael Sudlow -
Kathryn Riechert -
Ashley Akers -
Catherine Chandler -
Wildflowerdesings -
Shannon Conrad -
Nina Gibson -
Clare Stoker-Ring -
DuckDuckGooseStuff -
Moira K. Lime -
Kathleen Bostick -
Elizabeth Scott -
Honeybee -
JudyB -
Melissa Bradley -
Nanopod -
Metalnat -
Alicia Istanbul -
Discomedusa -
Mkwind -
EmeliaRo -
Rebekah Meddles -
BlindSpotJewellery -
Debora De Stefanis -
NectarJewelry -
Elizabeth Rosas -

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Electroforming Tutorial: Iris Seed Pod

Equipment and Materials

18-amp Digital Rectifier
1000mL Pyrex Beaker
Conductive Paint
2-Part Epoxy
1 quart Bright Copper Electroforming Solution
Copper Anode
22ga Copper Wire
Paint Brush
Copper Rod/Tubing
Latex Gloves
Baking Soda
Scotch-Brite Pad
Liver of Sulfur
Brass Brush

Day One

First, you need to find an object you wish to electroform. The possibilities are almost endless, from shells, fabric, wax, clay, plastic, paper, seeds and pods, etc. Be creative! For this project, I have selected an iris seed pod from my garden. I have removed the stem and leaves.

Attach a copper jump-ring to your piece. This will serve 2 purposes - to attach to copper wire to suspend in the electroform solution, and to attach to your finished jewelry piece. Use hot glue or a 2-part epoxy.

For porous objects, such as seed pods, they need to be lacquered to seal them. Paint or dip the object in the lacquer, making sure it is completely covered. Hang to dry in a cool, dry place, avoiding dirt and dust. Let them dry overnight.

Day Two

Make sure to avoid touching the lacquered surface of your object. Use gloved hands or tweezers to hold the seed pod, and paint on a thin layer of conductive paint.

Check to make sure areas are covered with an even layer of paint, especially the area where the copper jump-ring meets the seed pod. Paint over the glue and onto the jump-ring. Hang the item to dry overnight.

Day Three

Prepare the copper anode. I use a 22ga sheet of copper with the top bent over so it will hang over the side of the beaker. With gloved hands, scrub it vigorously with a scotch-brite pad to remove any dirt or oils from the surface. Fill the beaker with the electroforming solution, and put the anode in place. With the rectifier turned off, attach the red (positive) lead to the anode with the alligator clip.

Next, prepare the seed pod. Make sure to wear your gloves, as you want to avoid getting any oil or dirt on the painted object. Attach a length of copper wire to the jump ring, secure it by twisting the wire back on itself.

Attach the wire to a long length of copper tubing. The tube will rest on the edges of the beaker, allowing the seed pod to be suspended into the electroforming solution. Attach the black (negative) lead to the copper tubing with the alligator clip.

Turn the rectifier on, keeping the amp and volt set both below 1. Slowly submerge the seed pod into the solution, making sure it is completely covered. After a few seconds, you should be able to see a light layer of copper forming on the surface!

Let the copper tubing rest on the beaker. Make sure there is plenty of space between the anode and the seed pod, they should never touch. You also want to avoid allowing the seed pod to rest against the glass. Check the amp and voltage setting, they should both be at or below 1. You want a very slow and steady build-up of copper to form, otherwise it can flake off.

And now, you wait.
The electroforming process can take several hours - a slow and even layer is the most durable. It is a good idea to check on your piece every 30-45 minutes, checking the amp and voltage setting, as well as your piece to make sure an even layer is forming.

And wait a little more...

After 4 -5 hours, remove the seed pod from the electroforming solution. Rinse in a neutralizing bath of baking soda and water, making sure all acid has been rinsed away.

A solid, even layer of copper has been formed on the surface of the seed pod. It has a bright new-penny copper finish, and is easily tarnished. Once you have your desired finish (I prefer a darker patina using liver of sulfur) lacquer the piece to seal the finish. It is now ready to be turned in to jewelry!

The copper builds up the fastest on thinner areas. You can see how little beads of copper have formed on the wire attached to the seed pod. While this is an interesting texture, they flake off very easily.

Also pay attention to any points or protrusions on your piece, as they can be prone to a fast build-up, seen here on the tips of the iris pod.

Here are some electroformed seed pods in contrast to their original form.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Creating a Dynamic Email Newsletter (FOR FREE!)

Being the eternal cheapskate, I always try & find tricks for running my business on the low budget. My latest promo tool is creating pretty (i.e. with pictures) email newsletters, something I'd always wanted to do, but didnt want to pay a monthly fee for like companies like Constant Contact. Since I have a bit of experience doing html & web page design through dreamweaver, I knew something was possible. I googled a few techniques & came up with what has been working for me for the last few months here are two methods I've used. Keep in mind I use gmail to send my emails, so adapt this to your own email if needed:

Easy No-HTML method:

this method uses the EtsyMini (or images on your webpage) to create a very basic addition of linkable images on your email newsletter...
setup your etsymini as desired. I like the thumbnails version as I dont like how the text turns up on the gallery option. Then starting at the etsy promo text below the images, highlight up to the images with your mouse-


on a mac, press command + 'C' (command is the little apple button next to the mouse) to copy the image. on a PC, press ctrl + C
this copies the highlighted portion into your clipboard.

go into your email & hit command + 'P' (or ctrl + P)
this will paste the images & bit of text into your email.


from there, I add in the text I want, clean up the etsy text I'd copied over,etc.
I like to add the line at the top "click 'view images below' to view email". as a default, email programs dont always show images in emails, so this helps guide those who arent used to image based emails.


Tips & tricks:

I like my emails to be a bit more dynamic, so I design mine in dreamweaver. I add a themed banner, tables, etc. They can be then posted online (however you upload your own personal website pages) & copied from that, as shown above.

Collecting Email Addresses:

there are various methods for collection email addresses from customers. I use http://www. to collect mine. The website gives you html coding that you can then load into your personal site. My personal one can be seen here-

from there I keep all my email addresses in a 'google group', which is part of the email 'contacts' area. that way I can easily compose to the whole group when I need to send out a newsletter.
blog4my latest newsletter, done in photoshop

Related Posts Widget for Blogs by LinkWithin