Thoughts of Design Inspiration

tumbling media and copper


Tumbling Madness

rock tumblerA tumbler is a great tool to do a few things – tumble, polish, harden, smooth and so on. I did my first experiment with copper (and a few pieces of stainless steel, even though they do say it’s good to keep the metal one kind).

The tumbler I have is a 3 lb model with a rubber barrel. The only thing you had to do before use according to the manual was to oil the bearings. (I used shredder oil.) The shot I use is stainless steel, sort of all purpose with varied sizes of pieces especially made for jewelry tumbling. I put in 2 pounds because I read that you should have the barrel half to 3/4 full of material. Not sure yet if this actually only applies to rock tumbling since I have been reading contradicting info elsewhere. Some jewelry tumbling instructions say to just use a little shot media and there are videos showing the tumbler only 1/4 full.

tumbling media - mixed stainless steel shot

Tumbling shot – mixed stainless steel for jewelry

tumbling copper jewelry

Tumbler filled and ready to go.

copper jewelry and junk pieces to be tumbled

Copper pieces ready for the tumbler.

So how did it all go down:

  • I filled my tumbler with 2 pounds of stainless steel shot and the metal pieces in the picture (with some junk copper end pieces in there to fill it up more)
  • Added water to just cover the contents and one drop of dish soap


Notes: My tumbler had a little trouble getting rotating at first. I washed the outside to make sure there was no oil that might cause it to slip, cleaned the nylon shaft covers to make sure they were clean. My husband’s opinion was that because I had all the 2 lb of shot in there the barrel was too heavy. It did start turning though and kept going eventually, and then later on when I stopped it you could see some of the rubber started wearing off on the nylon shaft covers and the grip got better.

copper coated with rubber after tumbling

I let the tumbler run for about 7 hours.  (It is surprisingly quiet!) Excited, I open it…everything looks fine, except my metal is totally coated with black rubber! Bummer. What is this?! I went online searching and found some similar results by other people. There were possible explanations: the barrel needs a break in time where the loose rubber will come of,  there wasn’t enough soap, there was too much tumbling media. I have no idea, but I will try again with less media and more soap… It took me a good amount of time to scrub the metal clean. Otherwise, the pieces did get smoother edges and earwires were harder. I would say for perfect results, you would need to tumble a bit longer. I still had to hand sand some pieces a bit and hammer my wires a bit more.

Overall a good first attempt. Hopefully next time no more rubber!

sign up on email list


torch fired enameled copper by evadesigns - evädesigns

Leave a comment

Torch Fired Enamel Fun

torch fired enamel copper by evadesignsThe darn winter here in Maine took me out of commission for a bit from enameling, hammering and all the fun! Yes, too much shoveling wears out your arm. Anyway, I finally got it back enough to be able to do some copper work. I can’t wait!

I was super happy of my results. I think I have discovered a bit more technique, and acquired a bit more courage to try my own things. I am really into this melting copper wire on the enamel right now, you can get some really interesting results (or, a total failure is possible, too…) I’ve tried different swirls and even  what I call “metal rain” – just cut a lot of little pieces and sprinkle!
torch enameled copper by evadesigns - jewelry, enameled earrings

And yes, then there are the poppies, I have become a poppy maniac. I quite weirdly got the inspiration on this color scheme of blue and turquoise by looking at a bunch of laundry…crazy, right? The laundry was sitting on the floor and it was a shirt and a fleece coat and the color combination was just marvelous. “That would look great in enamel” and there I go.  You can get inspiration everywhere – even in your laundry! This poppy color is quite awesome, I am so excited about it. I really hope I can make somebody else as excited about it as well! It certainly catches the eye. I will be making many and many of these.
I have tried to master this “two prong” technique, since I’m drilling two holes in my poppies. So far, better that I expected. I haven’t dropped or anything. It does take some more torch firing enamel on copper by evadesigns torch firing copper poppy by evadesignsconcentration and a bit of planning, and your enamel needs to be deep enough so you can dip the two prong into it. This reminds me that I do need to get some more metal containers for my enamels that are deep and rather narrow. It just works better.

Hope you can experiment, too. There is an endless learning curve with this stuff and that does keep it interesting, I’m hoping forever!pper by evadesigns - jewelry, enameled pendant poppy





sign up on email list


Jewelry Display

Jewelry display, wall panel display, standing displayI got my copper jewelry in to a new store (yay!) and I needed to build a display. I just happened to get all this great cardboard for free recently and I just had to use it. I usually start with wooden panels, but this time I figured I have to experiment with the cardboard to see how it would work.

First I needed a base, I figured I would attempt to build my first simple table (!). That would be a blog post of its own…but I managed to put it together using a 2×3 stud for legs and a ready made top panel. I cut the legs with a handsaw and bought the hardware to attach them (hanger bolts, square plates). I can tell you there’s a bit more skill involved that you would think just making the legs. There are tricks to get the hanger bolts in the wood and it is not easy to saw totally straight pieces from the post, no matter how much you measure! Sure, if you have experience with woodworking, but I’m just a total beginner.  (more in the tips and tricks at the end) Don’t let it intimidate you though, you can redo…and even if the legs are a bit crooked your base will still stand. You need to have two extra bolts that fit the hanger bolt that you tighten against each other to be able to screw them into the wood. (I call it the “two bolt twist and samba” – essentially you need something for your wrench to hang on to, this would be in the “tips and tricks of general woodworking” manual, I guess!)

attaching wooden legs to display top wooden legs for table display

Now how to attach a panel to this base that would be against the wall? I cut a 20×30 piece of the cardboard and covered it with burlap using carpenters glue in the front and hot glue in the back. Then I had to think a bit how to attach it to the table – I had l-shaped brackets around so I decided to use that. I needed something “woody” to support the panel and sturdy enough to put a screw in for the bracket. So, I glued a narrow piece of wood in the back (Something 1 1/2″ wide I had trash picked…) One piece across the whole panel and then a short piece down to the bottom. I also screwed the short piece to the long piece just to make it sturdier. This actually worked pretty good! The bracket just happened to be a good size and the panel would actually sit straight on it even before I screwed it on.Then I wanted a panel that would hang on the wall, the base was 26″, the back panel 20″ so I was up to 46″ from the ground. Still good room for something at the eye level. I cut a 30×15 piece of the cardboard and covered that with burlap. I wanted a pocket for postcards so I finished the edges of a piece of burlap with my sewing machine and hot glued it in. Hey, nice pocket! How to attach hooks was the next question, this one had no wood in the back so you couldn’t screw them in a tap in nails. I decided to experiment with making wooden little posts out of a thin dowel and glue them in. (Cut them with snippers and sanded the ends a little) They actually seem pretty sturdy!

cardboard panel for jewelry wall display

Pocket and wooden hangers for the wall display

simple display neck for jewelryI wanted to try making my own display necks to attach to the panel. I cut them out from a thinner cardboard and covered with burlap. I decided to use velcro to attach them to the panel. I had adhesive velcro, but the glue on it was not sturdy enough – I ended up pulling the piece off the panel if I tried to remove the neck. So, I sewed them in by hand to the panel – it was hard to get the needle through it in parts where there was glue underneath! (You could just hot glue them in.)


two bolt samba, table leg making

This is the “two bold twist and samba” – how to screw in the hanger bolt

So far so good! After I delivered it to its final destination I realized I do need something to balance the wall display with. It can be tippy unless you have a way to secure the bottom corners to the wall.

jewelry display - cardboard, burlap

Back of the display attached to the table


  • Use round legs – it’s tricky to get rectangular legs to align. I found that using the leg plates is not that straight forward – my legs kept spinning around and you would have to keep tightening them. I ended up reattaching the plates several times.
  • If you want straight legs, pay a lot of attention while putting the hanger bolts in and that they are straight (and cut straight legs!)
  • You are going to need some “real” tools – power drill, ratchet to attach the legs (I have discovered the reverse button on a drill – it’s awesome!)
  • Smooth your hot glue with a piece of wood or plastic – prevents hard bumps on your gluing and burned fingers

sign up for evadesigns e-mail list