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Thursday, September 11, 2008

Old Silver Plate

A couple of years ago, I bought a tray full of old silver-plated flatware at a yard sale for $2. I found all kinds of ideas around the web, and these were the ones I liked the best. My husband bought me a small pair of bolt cutters, which I've got to admit, I don't know how I got along all these years without them! They've come in really handy, especially for the main reason he got them....for me to cut handles off of spoons and forks and knives. It makes a nice, smooth,clean cut, so that you only have to sand a little bit. I start by cutting the bowl of the spoon off,leaving enough to curl backwards for the chain or ribbon to go through. I can usually get it to curl back with some needle nose pliers, using a soft cloth between the teeth to prevent tool marks on the silver. Then I'll go through some post cards or greeting cards to find small pictures and words I like to put in the bowl. I have a nice container of old jewelry and glitter and buttons(my Bits&Pieces!) that I'll also add to the little scene I'm creating. Easy on the glitter, I found that out the hard way, a small pinch is all you need, trust me! Glass beads and rhinestones did much better than the plastic ones,they melt somewhat in the heat of the resin. I was able to use photos I printed out on my computer, I'll show you the spoon pendant I made for myself featuring my three grandchildren. Try using some old bits and pieces of lace, crochet, or tatting you've been holding onto but didn't think you could use because it's so small. I used Clear-Cast for this project. I bought it at Hobby Lobby in Biloxi, and of course used my printable coupon to get it! If you're only making one or two spoons, the smallest batch makes way more than you need, so try making something else,too, like pouring some in an old candy mold. You can make a pendant for a necklace from that,too. Just drill a hole in it later to put in a small eye screw. If it comes out sort of tacky,sticky...spray it with some clear acrylic spray and it'll be just fine.
Now, what to do with the handle? Easy...make a bracelet! I used a 1/16" bit to drill a hole in each end of the spoon handle. Then I used some very cheap, very coarse, emery boards to sand down the cut edge. I wrapped two pair of slip joint pliers in a dishtowel to keep the tool marks off the spoon handle, and grabbing one end of the handle in each pair of pliers, I bent it into a nice curved shape, perfect for my wrist. The silver-plate is pretty soft to drill through, and to bend into a bracelet. I mentioned the nice container of Bits&Pieces I have....I found a small length of silver-plated chain, and some jump rings and bead pins and eye pins, and a pretty assortment of beads and charms.
If you still have an odd assortment of silver plated eating utensils, try making a wind chime. I had a small silver plated trinket tray,too, so I used it to hang the spoons from. Find a block of wood to lay out the spoons if you want to pound them flat. I used a ball peen hammer for this step. Using the 1/16" drill bit, I drilled some holes in the top edge of my trinket tray to hang it from, and some along the bottom to hang the spoons from. Since I had some beading wire left, I used it to string my spoons and beads on,and crimping beads to hold them on. I think it's going to hold up better than fishing line, but we'll see. It makes a soothing,beautiful sound when the breezes move it. I'll take another photo later, since I just this second realized that the photo I do have of the wind chime is "in progress".

1 comment:

Christina said...

Hi Kudzu,
I love your blog-- I was wondering what you used to cut your silverware to use on the bracelets? So it cut so nicely and you only needed to sand it a little bit? I would like to try this but don't know what to use to cut the silverware with.
Thank you,