139: Bread Tag Necklace
My friend Susanna is unnaturally preoccupied with bread tags. Seriously. She loves them. It might be a problem if it wasn’t so charming.
Recently she contacted me to commission a bread tag made of metal, just because it might be cool. I thought it would make a good necklace, and she agreed.
Here’s what I made, and how I made it.
She sent me an Illustrator file of the preferred design, and from there it went pretty smoothly.
I printed the image, and taped it to a small sheet of nickel I had left over from 10 years ago, when I used to make jewelry.
Then, I put together a hastily made bench pin. A bench pin is something you’ll see in any jewelry maker’s shop. It’s just a piece of wood, that sticks off the edge of the desk so you can saw, or hold your small pieces easier. This took about 12 seconds to set up, but saved me hours of frustration.
That’s the end of the hard part. The sawing is pretty easy, but patient work. As you can see, you hold the piece across the gap to stabilize it (when you’re not holding a camera), and saw vertically. This is why you need a bench pin.
The saw teeth engage on the down stroke, so it’s pulling against the wood, and you don’t need to hold it too tight. The closer you get to the outline, the less clean up work you’ll have to do afterward.
As it quickly becomes winter, my outside workspace is less and less useful. This was remedied with a wonderful little invention called a space heater.
Working in the cold on tiny metal things can make my fingers go perfectly numb, so I pointed this at my hands and cranked it up to full blast. Worked like a charm.
After it’s all cut out, it goes into a nice little device called a ring clamp. It’s a clamp that makes it easier to hold small things (like rings).
Then, out come the tiny files to clean up the edges. This is going to be some luxuriously sealed bread.
… And I skipped the part where I sanded, and sanded. Here’s the final product.
When it’s polished, nickel looks great. I don’t even like bread tags, and I think this looks pretty cool.
The very last step is putting the chain on, but I bet you can figure out how to do that.
Flat pendants like this are very easy to make and pretty inexpensive. I already had the nickel (although it wouldn’t have been much to buy), files, and the saw. Everything else (saw blades, chain, sandpaper) came to under $20. Maybe I should start making some other jewelry again. Any requests?