Hi Elizabeth, May I suggest fold forming. One could use copper, brass
or aluminium for starters. The reason for my suggestion is that, as
its originator Charles Lewton-Brain states, it self-teaches quickly
quickly about processes instead of techniques. Neat shapes can be
created very quickly.
I’m now starting to take digital photos of my work (play, really) if
you are interested in seeing some examples.
David Popham, Please, please send rain!
Just a suggestion…if you want to get boys of that age into the
jewelry class, call it ‘metalsmithing’ and they won’t think it’s a
‘girl thing’. Dee
Hello Elizabeth, I try to develop lesson plans that do realize that
“instant gratification” for this age group. If they experience
success and can display their work with pride, they are more eager
to pursue the advanced projects. My suggestion is to combine beads
and wire, making beaded links for chain bracelets and anklets, then
necklaces. No soldering needed and only a few hand tools required.
When a necklace has been finished, the next project is to create a
pendant to be suspended or linked into the chain. Drill holes in
the metal to allow beads to be attached. At the end of a week,
everyone has created a set of jewelry suitable for bragging. You’re
welcome to email me directly for more details. I really enjoy the
enthusiasm this age group has! Judy in Kansas
Judy M. Willingham, R.S.
Biological and Agricultural Engineering
237 Seaton Hall
Kansas State University
Manhattan KS 66506
Elizabeth - What about adding a wire wrapping project. It could be
intermediate in difficulty between the beading and fabrication
projects. Plus, it would require no soldering.
One of our favorite beginner project is to use miniature nuts and
bolts. They can be used to fabricate with all kinds of materials.
They are very jewel like. The key is that only minimal skills are
necessary. No soldering! Saw, file, drill and finish. Plastics,
metal, wood, found objects all go together with ease. Bill
Welcome to Reactive Metals Studio, Inc. Our catalog site is
www.reactivemetals.com. Thanks for making contact. Stephanie, Bill,
Deborah, Michele. 800/876-3434, 928/634-3434, Fax 928/634-6734
Well, most people think metalsmithing is too hard. I taught a
workshop for a similar age group and they were really into using
chasing tools to create letters and spell things. If you bought
letter and number stamps, that might help.
You could teach them to do a green patina. That’s always fun.
How about a ring without soldering? Every girl that age (who I have
met) wants to make a ring.
Chicago area, Illinois, USA
Certified PMC Instructor
Have you seen “lover’s eye” jewelry? You take a photo of the
student’s eyes (digital to screen for sizing and computer for
printing, or film to print to Xerox machine for sizing) and cut out
the eye from the photo. Glue this picture onto a metal disc or
other form, such as a shape for a wrap around ring. Spray a fixative
on the picture. Maybe rivet on a photo frame. The student can give
this to a boyfriend/girlfriend or best friend. Or maybe the campers
would like a charm bracelet made of the “eye photos” of the other
campers as a memento. This is really creepy jewelry, and just right
for this age group. Nancy www.psi-design.com
There is a gorgeous chain style called Egyptian Spiral. It creates
wonderful, durable chokers, ankle bracelets, and bracelets WITH NO
SOLDERING. You can work-harden it by running it in the tumbler (it
won’t damage it). Basically, you need wire, wire cutters, and
The basic design is in Tim McCreights “The Complete Metalsmith” on
It’s quick, provides instant gratification, and is something that
they can repeat at home without specialized equipment and teach (and
impress) their friends. Plus, the results are really quite pretty.
Just a thought!
I have used heavy gage aluminum wire such as used for clotheslines
(remember those?) and had grade school children hammer them around
the posts of school swing sets. These bracelets were finished with
steel wool and the kids were quite pleased with them. These were
rural kids and were able to bring hammers from home. You can tell
from that statement how long ago this was. Pity the poor kid who
would try to bring a hammer to school today. However, if you could
get hammers of any sort, the wire could be hammered around baseball
bats or sections of pipe from the hardware store. Since you are in a
camp situation, maybe you could go the real primitive route and do
the hammering with stones that the kids could find.