I wanted to make a meaningful Christmas present for a younger family member. My mother had given me my Grandmother’s silver plate and said that it would be OK if I made jewelry out of it. I took two teaspoons and heated them until they were cherry red with my lamp working torch. After letting them cool, I clamped them into a vise and sawed off the handles with my jeweler’s saw. I filed off the rough edges and drilled holes in both ends of each handle. I shaped the pieces with a rubber covered mallet and a form made to hammer out dents in cars. Then I threw the handles in the pickle pot to clean off most of the fire scale. Next, I used a wire brush attachment in my drill to clean off the rest of the dirt and shine them up. I filed around the rough edges of the holes I’d drilled and went over the handles with steel wool before polishing them with muslin buffing wheel and rouge.
I assembled the pieces with jump rings I’d made previously, and a lobster clasp. When I don’t solder jump rings, I like to make them oval shaped with the cut on the side because they are stronger and less likely to pull apart which is important for a bracelet. I was going to put a lamp-worked bead dangle on the front with a wrapped loop. I ended up using the dangle you see in the picture-an odd earring belonging to my mother.
I have a full set of my Grandmother’s silver plate and a ton of ideas for using it to make jewelry. What about a ring or bracelet for my maternal girl cousins? That’s a thought. It would be a good way to share the silver plate with the family.
Yesterday, my Mother was telling me about the wonderful Christmas dinners my Grandmother cooked years ago. I imagine they enjoyed more than one with the spoons I used on this bracelet. I never knew my Grandmother. The picture of her below must have been taken when she was 16 or so, which would make it circa 1900.
Emma Peterson Montgomery
The bracelet is gorgeous, and also a wonderful way to share memories with the family. I’m sure your relatives will love it. Say hi and happy holidays to your Mom for us.
Hello, Your bracelet is lovely. I too am trying to make bracelets from some family silver ware. My problem is with drilling the holes into the spoon handles. We keep breaking drill bits even though we are using bits for drilling through metal. I am getting very frustrated. Can you offer any help for my drilling problem? Many thanks for any suggestions you might have!
You have to use a high speed drill or a flex shaft. Make a guide hole first.
Place your metal on a block of wood and make a dimple in it with a center punch (or nail) and a hammer. This will keep your drill from skating around when you drill. Insert your drill into the dimple and drill straight down at very high speed until you drill through the metal and hit wood.
I recommend safety glasses and keep a firm grip on everything.
You will actually burn the wood a bit from the friction. The metal will get hot too, so be careful. If you lose a grip on what you are drilling and the whole thing spins around madly (this has happened to me) remain calm and turn the drill off. This is one of the great advantages to controlling your drill with a foot pedal. You simply lift up your foot and the drill stops.
Good luck! I have some more spoon jewelry I will post in the future.
I was happy to find information on drilling holes for the spoon bracelet but I need help with the entire project. I would like to get started in making spoon jewelry but I don’t know how to bend the spoon handles and cut them. I also need advice on what tools to use and how to twist the wire when adding beads and charms. Thank you.
The post describes the tools I used. After heating the spoons cherry red and letting them cool (called annealing) you saw the bowl part off with a jeweler’s saw. Find something that has the shape you want and bend the bracelet over that. A rubber or rawhide mallet lets you whack it without marring the surface. Don’t be shy-give it a try. I did not take a class on how to do this. I just played. You might want to take a basic metals class to become familiar with the properties of metal and the tools.
As sawing goes, you can probably use a hacksaw, and if you only have a hammer but not a mallet, if you put some ‘cushioning’ between the hammer and the spoon you can probably get away with using a hammer.
Having made blades on wire with a c-clamp, that may be worth a try too.
– Take this with a grain of salt, I’m not a metal-worker, but I sometimes use tools in rather unorthodox ways. –
I have also been trying to make bracelets from spoons….The trouble I’m having is in the bending…I’ve tried using a rubber mallet but am unsucessful…Please help…Thankyou
Be sure to anneal the metal as described in the instructions. I formed the bracelet with a metal form called a dolly (used to repair car dents) along with the hammer. You could also use a bracelet mandrel or a wooden baseball bat. If the metal becomes work hardened, you can anneal it again. Don’t be afraid to whack it. If your first one is not perfect, remember that you’re learning.
Please tell me how to preserve the sterling after the bracelet is made.
Do you something on it to prevent tarnish??
I don’t, but there are lots of anti tarnish products. You can also wipe of tarnish with a jeweler’s rouge cloth. The Internet is full of information and links.
I’m searching the internet, but nothing seems to stop tarnish for years.
That’s the nature of metal.
I make spoon bracelets also but if you heat silverplate to a cherry red the plating is probably going to chip off or burn off. Sterling doesn’t do this. I don’t have a problem bending most silverplate without heating it.
I have never had a problem with chipping or burning silverplate. But if anyone is concerned, here is a trick I learned since writing this post: You make a mark on the metal with a Sharpie and then heat the metal. When the mark disappears, the metal is annealed. It does not have to get cherry red. And if you can bend the silverplate without annealing it, I agree; why bother to heat it?
I am just getting started myself…do you have any pictures of your finished bracelets?
Not yet, I’m just trying to get started
Sent from my iPad
When you let the metal cool, are you letting it cool all the way down? or just til it’s warm? Are you letting it cool down slowly in fiber blankets, or throwing in a bucket of water?
Also, will this work with stainless silver?
I let it cool slowly. No water, but no fiber blanket. Don’t know if this will work with stainless. Can’t see why not. The netal would have some different properties, but you can be the first to find out!
polishing silver …silver plate.
.you could try….
plastic container…..kitchen foil laid in bottom…..baking soda .. warm water…
stir…….place silver…plate in…..leave … that should clean silver and silver plate….but would not remove burnt metal after heating..?
Hi! Thanks for sharing. I’ve been dying to try this. I have a ton of old silver plate spoons I purchased at a garage sale. When you say you throw the spoons into a pickle pot, do you just set them in an empty pot to cool down, or do you put liquid in the pot??
Read this article to learn what a pickle pot is.
Hi, I am trying to make these wonderful bracelets, After heating and bending, the silver plate turns brown. Does this get removed after using the picle solution? Thanks, Diane
Yes. The brown is fire scale.
Thank you for your previous reply. I have yet another question please. After removal from the pickle pot am I to understand the silver will come out shiny or do I have to polish. Thank you so much.
Pickle removes fire scale but does not polish, so you will have to polish it.
What gauge of wire did you use to make your jump ring for the top of the bracelet??
Thanks for all the pointers. I have been wanting to make a braclet but didn’t know just how to start, but I think I might try it now. Thanks again. Janice
While cleaning out my parents house I found just one fork that was from a set my parents had when us kids were small. I had my oldest brother help me make a bracelet out of it. It is stainless so we heated it just until bendable. It didnturn a little dark on the tines but I just polished it afterwards. It turned out great and now I plan on using your idea with my great grandmothers silver for Christmas gifts for my granddaughters. Thanks so much for sharing.Debby
Cool! I would love to see a picture of the finished product.
I am so happy to have found your article! A friend gave me 6 spoons that belonged to her great grandmother this evening, & asked me to try making bracelets for her. I so appreciate the information & I don’t feel as lost trying something new. 🙂
Thanks. That’s a lovely thing to do for a friend.
I enjoyed the article. My eldest brother and I made a fork bracelet for me from the last original piece of silverware that our mother had. I love it and am making some spoon bracelets for other family members.
I’ve tried everything and read ever possible tutorial and I can’t drill a hole in this stuff! What am I doing wrong? I’ve bought special drill bits and broke them all. Used beeswax for lube. Tried different drills. I’ve tried drilling fast drilling slow pressure, no pressure. Someone please help!
Have you been annealing your metal? This is very important. Can you drill metal at all or just not spoons? What is the spoon made from? It should not be that difficult. If you have considered all these things with no success, Maybe the universe is telling you to consider taking a metalsmithing class.
Interesting, I think that may be a relative of mine through my dad. Peterson Montgomery is in our family line. My dad was a Walters. Would like to connect with you if you would be interested. Nan Lee
Not aware of any Walters on that side of the family. Watson, yes. There is a Genealogy on Family Tree, but I have been on that site for a few months.