Thursday, November 09, 2006

Can't Judge a Book by it's Cover

A few years back I decided to give all my book club friends a handmade bookmark at our December holiday gathering. If my memory serves me correctly, that first year I made embossed cards using red and green paper, rubber stamps and embossing powder. I remember Elaine saying, "I can't believe you MADE these." Little did they all know then how much much time I spend "making things."

This year I decided to create sterling silver bookmarks with pretty little beads and charms dangling from the top. I added a rectangular piece of silver on which I stamped each of their names.

I'll give the instructions here in case anyone would like to make some for their friends. Basic metalsmithing tools are required.

1. Cut 10 gauge round sterling silver wire into approximately 4 or 5 inch pieces. Gently
shape into a long, stretched out "S" shape.
2. Roll each piece through a rolling mill until desired flatness is reached. Lightly file the
top and bottom to remove rough edges.
3. With a chasing hammer (round end), pound on each side of the wire, making chasing marks. (Don't forget to stamp your bookmark with a "sterling" stamp.
4. Drill a hole through the top.
5. Add a good sized jump ring and solder it closed (soldering is optional, but recommended).
6. Put them in the tumber and tumble to make shiny (about 30 minutes or more).
7. Add your beads.
8. To make name tags, simply stamp the names into 24 gauge silver and cut out with
Joyce Chen scissors or use a jeweler's saw. Flatten tag on steel block if it's warped at all. Drill a hole at top. File the edges to remove sharpness. If there are scratches in the silver, sand them out with sandpaper (First 220, then 320, then 400 and last 600 grit - coarse to fine). Tumble in tumbler about 30 minutes. Attach to bookmark with a jump ring.

I hope the girls like them. :)


  1. Hi Kathy~ I have to say those are a great idea & beautifully done!! You could easily sell these if you wanted to!!
    I have a question..... I don't "tumble" my jewelry after sanding, and I haven't heard of tumbling for anything other than rocks? But my REAL question is the sanding you start from the fine grit and work your way up to the coarse?? Is the technique different from normal silverworking due to the tumbling?? Sorry for all of the's obvious you know what you're doing, and I was curious if there is some alternate method to polishing silver than what I've been doing all these years?
    You're very creative.... GREAT idea!! Thanks for sharing!

  2. Those are amazing! Lucky book club members, I'm sure they will love them, and even more because they were hand made with love.

  3. This is a lovely idea for all my frens who freak out on books...and they look awesome too!!This is a lil thing but comes with a lovely thought and a lot of love!! If you are looking out for some more innovative ideas for gifts you can jus peep into my
    Holiday Blog.

  4. Beautiful bookmarks Kathy. I'm sure the girls will love them! Thanks for sharing. By the way, you take gorgeous photos. What kind of camera do you use?

    Precious Maille

  5. You are too sweet, Michelle! Thanks Sean...I'll check out the Holiday site!

    Gena, I use a Canon EOS Digital Rebel most of the time. I also use a Sony Cybershot, but the Canon takes better photos.


  6. By the way, forgot to mention, thanks for the gluten free blog links. I too am celiac and appreciate all the info I can gather. Gluten Free Girl happens to be in my neck of the woods too which is nice. Many thanks again!

    Precious Maille

  7. Thanks, Jessica! First, the tumbling container used for jewelry is filled with "shot" which Rio Grande sells. It can be used for all types of metals (I think), but I never, ever put anything with a bezel-set stone in the tumbler or it would be ruined.

    To remove scratches from silver, sanding begins with the coarse sandpaper -- the 220. First you sand in all one direction. Then clean it off and use the 320 grit in the opposite direction. Next, the 400, in the opposite direction from the previous and last the 600.
    At that point, all the scratches should be gone and it's ready to be polished or thrown in the tumbler.
    You have to use Silicon Carbide sandpaper. Email me if you have any other questions. :)

  8. What a terrific idea and such a thoughtful gift.
    Thanks for sharing the instructions too - very generous of you :)

  9. Kathy, your bookmarks are wonderful. I have been wondering what
    people in here are talking about when they refer to bookmarks. But
    more than that, I wanted to recommend your blog. It is a ray of
    sunshine, from the recipes to the repousse. Now I have one more thing
    about silver to learn!

  10. I love these bookmarks! Once again, I am wishing I was in your book club. :) They are beautiful, and the girls are going to be thrilled to get them.
    You're super, Mom!

  11. Hey Silver - saw your items at Etsy -- very nice!

    Kristin - your compliments simply made my day. :)

    Yes, Jess, I know you've always wanted to be a member of my book club. We are good bunch of ladies, if I may say so myself. Glad you like the bookmark I made them.

  12. Can I join your book club Katthy? I can be an honourary overseas member.

    The bookmarks are wonderfull!

  13. Totally exquisite. You've got one lucky book club! Fabulous gifts, Kathy. You rock!

  14. Dianne -- Absolutely. You are now our honorary overseas member. Now all you have to do is read "Thirteen Moons" by Charles Frazier, the book we're on right now, and give a book report. Hahaha...only kidding. :)

    Karina -- wow! I rock? That's a really great compliment! I'll take it! :)