Friday, September 11, 2015

Turning coins into clasps

I have always loved coins, and tend to think of them as little works of art. Then came a love of jewelry making and the next thing I know I'm making coins into beads and clasps and here is how I do it....

Doming Coins
First I dome the coins using my dapping block and brass mallet, it is always best to start off on the biggest size dome and then work your way through the smaller sized ones because if you just go straight to the smaller size you can crack/split the coins. Two or three sizes is normally sufficient.

Making hook clasps
Next I make the hook clasps, If I am using silver coloured coins then I use sterling silver wire if the coins are not silver then I tend to use copper wire. The wire needs to be around 1.2mm thick about 16 gauge or the clasp will not be strong enough when finished and will bend.
Checking the Fit
The size of the clasp depends on which coin I am using and the finished clasp needs to sit comfortably inside the domed coin.

Cleaning the Insides
Next the inside of the coins need to be spotlessly clean for the soldering I tend to do this with either the ridge remover part of a nail buffer pulled off the buffing block or some fine grit sand paper.

It is important that they are really clean or the solder will not flow properly! I also give the hook clasps a once over with the sandpaper just to make sure there is no grease or dirt on there either.

Ready to solder
Then all suited up in my protective clothing (apron and goggles) I set to soldering! I use easy solder paste on the two places where the clasp touches the coin and prop the clasp in place using tweezers and a few coins to hold the tweezers in place. While soldering I heat the coin and not the wire as I don't want the wire to melt (using the tweezers like this also helps to protect the wire from over heating).

Cleaning up
After a dip in safety pickle and a rinse in bicarb the coins come out looking pretty ghastly, so I give them a rub over with a brass brush to remove some of the crusty stuff and throw them into the tumbler for an hour. The tumbler dose not bring the coins back to silver but it dose clean them up a little and helps to work harden and polish the clasp.

They come out of the tumbler shiny but still rather black so I use my rotary tool and a block of rouge to polish them up and bring back the silver colour.
All Shiny
There you have it shiny coin clasps!


  1. Very generous of you to share this tutorial. Inspired by you I tried to dome coins a couple of times and failed miserably, do we have to anneal them first?

    1. Divya I generally don't anneal the coins, I used to but found it dose not really make much difference. I do recommend that you start with the bigger sized domes and then work your way through the smaller sizes until you get the right size. Not all coins work tho! So far I have found that plated coins tend to split rather then dome! If you need any more help please feel free to email me on silverniknats at email dot com!

  2. Very nice tutorial! Do you have to make sure the coins are silver or is that not an issue?

    1. Thanks Angie, I have done this on copper coins and silver coins, but it dose not work on all coins! Plated and anything with nickle dose not work!

  3. Rouge and a Dremel! You are hard core! How do you protect your fingers?

    1. Lol thanks Jenny! On these I hold the hook clasp on the back and that guards my fingers, with the beads I use a blob of blue tack stuck on the back as a grip.

  4. Absolutely love this!! What a great idea and fantastic tutorial!!!
    Thanks SO much for sharing this!!


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