By Kate Richbourg
I am going to share a tool with you today that I'll bet quite a few of you already have tucked away but just haven't yet discovered its jewelry-making potential. It's the Dremel! Go ahead; rummage around in the back of the closet or in your tool cabinet. I'll bet you dollars to donuts that you have one stashed away. If not, they are fairly inexpensive and really come in handy when you are working on jewelry.
You can make a simple and sweet riveted and textured pendant (no soldering required, all cold connections!) using this terrific rotary tool, but first let me introduce you to my Dremel and my favorite accessories.
About the Dremel, Bits, and Accessories
Here it is, my cordless Dremel Model #7700! This guy is a hard worker and has the added bonus of being cordless. The battery charges in three hours and I've found that the charge lasts through any project I am working on and is perfect for taking to class. You can also find them with a power cord; I actually have one of those too. I use that one when I am working on all-day projects.
Let's check out some of my favorite accessories for my Dremel.
Pictured from left to right:
Collets: Comes in a set of four. Change them out to fit the different accessories that come with the Dremel.
Grinding Tools: The blue (fine) and orange (coarse) tips are great for filing and smoothing out the edges of metal.
Sanding Band: Also great for filing and refining edges as well as adding texture to the surface of metal. These come in a variety of grits and save you a lot of filing time!
Silicone Polishing Wheels: These indispensable wheels come in a variety of grits and give your piece a beautiful surface shine. They are great for removing oxidation. I get my wheels from Rio Grande.
Drill Bit Kit: This is a handy seven-bit kit that has just about every size I need.
Make a Textured, Riveted Pendant with a Dremel
Okay, now that you have met some of my favorites, let's put everything to use and make the pendant.
Dremel tool with bits
center punch or dulled nail
scrap wood block
round needle file
flush wire cutters
optional: liver of sulfur or other patina
*I used a 1" sterling silver circle, a copper cog, a sunburst (from my stash), and a brass flower blank (available from Beaducation). You may have noticed that the circle blank had a poorly stamped initial design on it. No matter, since it was going to be covered by the other blanks. Reuse and recycle, I say!
I hope you enjoyed meeting one of my favorite tools and seeing how you can use it to texture, finish, and connect metal components. It's versatile, easy to use, economical, and with all the bits available, you are sure to find one that will fit your jewelry-making needs! —Kate
Get more great projects using cold connections like riveting and wire in a convenient form–a full year of Step-by-Step Wire Jewelry in the 2011 Step-by-Step Wire Jewelry collection CD or instant download.
How do you use your Dremel? We'd love to hear all about it in the comments below!