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Making leaves out of argentium sheet?

I’ve seen a few lovely examples of leaves made out of sterling (not
metal clay) and am wondering how the heck people are doing this? My
first thought was to use my rolling mill. Unfortunately, I’m a little
bit challenged for fresh leaves in the winter and chose wrong. Chose
an African violet leaf and essentially juiced it.Some of the leaves
are soooo perfectly detailed and relatively tiny. I tried to digest
an interesting article involving making one’s own plates (using
photocopier etc) but was hoping that making little leaves would be as
simple as rolling them.

Any suggestions?
Cheers, Ros

Just a note to let you know – sterling CAN be made from precious
metal clay. It’s all in the formula. Has been tested and hallmarked

Could you be thinking of leaves made with a fold forming technique?


Hey barbara have you tried using leaf skeletons? I think most people
use those and save on the squishing! I’ve had luck with ivy leaves
but they might be a bit too big for you. Make sure you really anneal
the silver-the softer it is the better it will take the imprint.

I usually send stuff like that to a laser-engraver friend. Maybe
there’s an engraver near you who might be interested?

All the best from Brighton

Just a note to let you know -- sterling CAN be made from precious
metal clay. It's all in the formula. Has been tested and
hallmarked now. 

Thanks Barbara - I didn’t know re. sterling being made of metal clay -

makes sense and a google search showed a couple of announcement
about mixing copper clay and fine silver clay (obviously!). Thanks
for the pointers.


A short while back I prepared this short photo tutorial showing how
I make leaves from metal. I have use this method whenever shaping
leaves that adorn my creations. The tools are minimal and the
process is straight forward. The leaf shown was made from copper and
I photographed the process in stages to show the simplicity of
manufacture, which was less than an hour. I thought this may be of
interest to someone who may be interested in making leaves.

A Photo Tutorial on How To Make a Metal Leaf

Peace and good health to all
James Miller FIPG.

Could possibly be real leaves electroplated with silver. Have never
tried but have seen the result both in sterling and gold. I
understand you can spray the leave with conductive paint,
electroplate copper to the (now) conductive leave first and then
silver or gold over.

Could potentially cast them directly as well (organic material would
burn out in the kiln - right?) - you know - “lost leaves” casting :slight_smile:

Lars Dahlberg

A Photo Tutorial on How To Make a Metal Leaf 

That’s a good tutorial. Thanks James, and it made me think of how I
forge steel leaves.

I’ve been meaning to ask, when I’m told to forge something in class
it usually refers to cold forging, e.g, forming and stretching a
piece of sterling in a swage block to give a half round wedder (much
more fun than using a rolling mill imo).

Is there any use for hot forging in the jewellery industry,
obviously this is a noob question, but I’m still learning :wink:

Regards Charles A.

I make this type of earring constantly. I collect and dry oak, red
bud and aspen leaves. I dry them between the pages of a paperback
book for at least a week. Then I sandwich it between the silver
sheets and roll through the mill. I always get a perfect matching
pair this way and the underside of the leaf impresses as well as the
upper side. It is necessary to get the leaf completely dry. Small
skeletonized leaves from the craft store also work for this. If you
try a leaf that is not dry enough, you will get green mush.

Donna in VA

Thanks for the suggestions Lars re the leaves (cast/electroplated).
The leaves that I am thinking about are leaf like, but not super
duper leaf like (does that make sense)? I was on my third cup of
coffee this morning when an idea just struck - maybe such leaves
AREN’T ACTUAL LEAVES. Maybe they are constructed leaves?? Fake
leaves! I think that I could replicate a veiny pattern using faux
leather for the background and then strips of leather cord for the
main veins! Of course, everything could be a squished mess when
coming out of the rolling mill, but I’m keen to try this idea…
now just to hunt around from some heavy grained type of leather…
I have a pair of winter gloves… hmmmm… maybe a trip to the
fabric store is in order!

Thanks again!

I LOVE these leaves James - thanks for sharing! Ros

Where does one find a lead block? I keep running across instructions
that include the use of a ‘lead cake’ or lead block, but I’ve never
seen one for sale.


Brilliant idea, Donna, getting a perfectly matched earring pair by
sandwiching the dried leaf between the silver - what gauges do you
find work best? Do you like to buffer the silver with other metal
too? I think that I’m tightening my mill too much, which is also
distorting the metalas it passes thru.



You can make a lead block by buying 10-20 lbs of plumbers lead at a
plumbers supply store. Use a small cast iron frying pan that you
will never use again for cooking and if you have a side burner on a
propane BBQ or an old hot plate, melt the lead outside in the pan.
Once it’s cool it will drop out of the pan.

Or you can buy lead blocks at jewelry supply places like Stuller and
Indian Jewelers Supply.

Rick Copeland

I googled and got this

Lead Bricks and Lead Blocks

It’s not a jewelry link but mayb e it will work.

Re: Lead cake

Melt one yourself from old lead sinkers ! It melts at a very low
temperature, so you wont need to get carried away with the mold. Or
go to a boatbuilders and ask if you can buy some from them - its used
for the keels.

Philip in Nelson NZ

HI, I have been lurking at this thread for awhile. Nobody has
mentioned our Impression line of leaves. We have very realistic
Cottonwood and Fig leaves thin cast in sterling, shibuichi and
bronze. They range from a petite 1 3/16" to 2 3/8" tall. They are
very detailed. The catalog is all revised as of 4/6, Page 17.

Reactive Metals’s Catalog [PDF file]

See ya all at SNAG! Bill