Vintaj BIGkick Jewelry Making Tutorial

May 10, 2015

The Vintaj Special Edition BIGkick Machine by Sizzix is the perfect tool for adding detailed patterns to metal.  Unlike a rolling mill, the BIGkick machine is affordable, compact, and doesn’t require a lot of strength to use.  It comes with the main machine body, a solo platform and shim, and a pair of cutting pads.  There are dozens of DecoEmboss and DecoEtch dies in a variety of popular themes; these are sold separately so you can select the designs you like best and add to your collection over time.  Finally the embossed and etched blanks can be polished to a high shine, or colored with Vintaj patina inks.  

Inspired by Tiffany’s recent “interchangeable charm necklace” blog post, I’ve created a similar-style necklace.  Rather than adding a lobster clasp to each charm, I have added a swivel clip to the necklace chain so a selection of charms can be added to the clip.

 Enjoy this free step-by-step jewelry-making tutorial to learn about the BIGkick machine and to create a fun charm necklace.

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Vintaj BIGkick supplies for making an embossed or etched charm necklace.

A selection of supplies needed to make a changeable charm necklace featuring Vintaj natural-brass blanks.

Here are the materials you will need:

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And here are the tools:

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Other supplies:

  • Craft paint brush
  • Paper plate work surface
  • paper towels

 

Vintaj BIGkick natural brass blanks come in many shapes,

Vintaj natural-brass blanks come in a sweet selection of shapes. The brass is left partially soft so they feed though the BIGkick machine with ease and produce a perfect texture every time. Oh, and they are made in the USA.

 

Vintaj Altered Series natural brass blanks are designed for use with the BIGkick machine.

Vintaj blanks are perfectly sized for the DecoEmboss and DecoEtch dies. They come prepunched with a 1.0-1.5mm hanging hole that will accommodate small to large jump rings.

 

DecoEmboss:

Vintaj BIGkick DecoEmboss dies for embossing metal blanks in the BIGkick machine.

The DecoEmboss dies are a folder with carbon steel embossing plates on both sides of the folder; one side is a positive of a pattern and the facing side is the negative. When the metal blank is run through the BIGkick machine, it takes on a well-defined texture. Each folder has multiple placement possibilities and there are 27 folders to collect, which makes the design options seem limitless.

 

Vintaj BIGkick Tutorial 6a

To emboss, begin by placing a metal blank in the DecoEmboss folder; make a design choice and be careful to place the blank with the hanging hole in the correct position. Pinch the folder closed to keep the blank from moving while you place it in the BIGkick machine.

 

Vintaj BIGkick is easy to use for embossing metal, just place the DecoEmboss folder in the machine and turn the handle.

Layer the DecoEmboss folder in the BIGkick machine in this order: platform, the first clear acrylic pad, the folder with the side marked “this side down” facing down (metal blank carefully placed inside), and the second clear acrylic pad. Turn the handle to feed the layers through the BIGkick machine. Turning the crank is so easy and requires very little strength.

 

Vintaj BIGkick machine and DecoEmboss folders from www.rings-things.com are perfect for embossing metal blanks for use in jewelry making.

Remove the folder and retrieve the embossed metal blank–it is now ready for finishing and jewelry making.

 

DecoEtch:

Vintaj BIGkick DecoEtch dies from Rings & Things add metal-stamped texture to metal blanks.

The DecoEtch dies are one sided. They have a “spongy” ejection foam top that covers a carbon-steel plate with a ridged pattern. When the metal blank is run through the BIGkick machine, the ridged pattern is pressed into the blank; the effect is similar to the look of metal stamping. Vintaj refers to this as “etched”, but there are no chemicals involved. Like the DecoEmboss folders, each die has multiple placement possibilities and there are 17 DecoEtch dies to collect.

 

How to "etch" metal with a BIGkick machine from www.rings-things.com

To “etch”, begin by placing a metal blank on the DecoEtch die. Be sure to consider design choice and proper hanging-hole placement.

 

Vintaj BIGkick machine for metal stamping a pattern in metal blanks.

Layer the DecoEtch die in the BIGkick machine in this order: platform, the first clear acrylic pad, the die with foam-side facing up (metal blank carefully placed), and the second clear acrylic pad. Turn the handle to feed the layers through the BIGkick machine. Again turning the crank should turn easily and require little strength.

 

Vintaj BIGkick machine produces a chemical-free linear etched design on metal; perfect for jewelry making.

Remove the top acrylic plate and retrieve the “etched” metal blank–it is now ready for finishing and jewelry making.

 

Polish:

Vintaj BIGkick for jewelry making from www.rings-things.com; how to polish a metal blank.

To finish the monotone metal blanks and make the embossed or etched patterns “pop”, simply polish the high points. Place the blank on a rubber block, this provides a firm, slip-resistant work surface. Polish the blank with a Vintaj reliefing block; start with the dark-gray side (heavy grit), then the white side (medium grit) and finally the light-gray side (finest grit). Be sure to polish both sides of the metal blank–each side will have a unique look.

 

Patina:

Add Vintaj patina inks to metal to create a faux-metal-enamel effect.

Vintaj patinas are opaque inks that are designed to adhere to metal. They are available in seven color-combination kits, plus select colors are available separately.  Before beginning, thoroughly mix the patina by vigorously shaking the bottle. Vintaj patina inks can be applied on their own, or with Vintaj glaze. You can blend the glaze into the patina inks or apply a layer to the finished piece. The glaze has a light sheen and adds to the permanency of the finish.

 

Vintaj patina inks in Weathered Copper creates the look of verdigris metal.

Apply the patina inks to the embossed blank with a craft paint brush and blend the colors.  Set the blank aside to dry; this takes just a few minutes. Shown here is the “Weathered Copper” patina kit which creates the look of verdigris metal,

 

Use Vintaj glaze to seal the patina inks and make them even more durable.

Experiment and create your own color combinations from the many patina ink colors.

 

Patina inks can look like faux enameled metal.

Again, apply the patina and blend the colors. Set aside to dry. Shown here is “quartz” and “amethyst” available in the “Victorian Gable” patina kit. It creates a look similar to enameled metal.

 

For a mirror finish, polish brass from a heavy grit, to a medium grit, and finally a fine grit.

Once the patina ink has dried, polish the ink from the high points of the embossed pattern with the Vintaj reliefing block. Be sure to work from the heavy grit, to the medium grit, and finally to the fine grit. This process will result in a shiny-brass finish.

 

Add a large jump ring to the embossed and etched blanks to turn them into usable charms.

Add a large jump ring to each embossed and etched blank to turn it into a usable charm.

 

Beaded Charms:

    Free printable PDF of basic jewelry-making instructions

How to make pearl dangle charms for jewelry making.

Gather the supplies you will need to make pearl charms from Swarovski crystal pearls: crystal pearls, ball end head pins, and jump rings. Also, you will need these tools: round-nose pliers, chain-nose pliers, flat-nose pliers, semi-flush side cutters, and nylon-jaw flat-nose pliers (optional).

 

Vintaj BIGkick Tutorial 11c

To make a crystal-pearl charm, first add a pearl to the head pin, then form a wrapped loop, and finally attach a jump ring.

 

Vintaj BIGkick Tutorial 11b

Here is a close-up view of the wire-wrapped loop being formed.

 

How to make Swarovski crystal bead charms for jewelry making.

Gather the supplies you will need to make crystal-bead charms: crystal beads, ball end head pins, and jump rings. Also, you will need these tools: round-nose pliers, chain-nose pliers, flat-nose pliers, semi-flush side cutters, and nylon-jaw flat-nose pliers (optional).

 

DIY jewelry making: how to wire wrap a Swarovski bicone bead charm.

To make a crystal-bead charm from Swarovski bicone beads, first add three crystal beads to the head pin (in the colors of your choice), then form a wrapped loop, and finally attach a jump ring.

 

Jewelry making DIY: wire-wrapped loop.

Here is a close-up view of the wire-wrapped loop being formed.

 

Finish a Charm Necklace:

How to make an interchangeable charm necklace with a swivel hook.

To make an “interchangeable charm chain” follow these steps: Cut the ball chain to your desired length, add a ball chain clasp to one chain end, slide the swivel clip onto the chain, and connect the open chain end to the clasp.

 

Jewelry-making components for a Vintaj interchangeable charm necklace

Gather the hand-crafted components together: embossed and etched brass charms, crystal-pearl and crystal-bead charms, and necklace chain with interchangeable charm clip. Then clip together your desired combinations of charms.

 

Vintaj BIGkick Tutorial example 1

Vintaj BIGkick Tutorial example 3

Vintaj BIGkick Tutorial example 4                             

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INSPIRATION:   Enjoy making these Vintaj BIGkick projects from the Rings & Things Design Gallery:

Free jewelry making DIY: How to make umbrella earrings from www.rings-things.com

“Under My Umbrella” Earrings Tutorial by Rings & Things designer Mollie Valente.

 

 

Free printable jewelry making DIY: riveted metal blank and leather bracelet.

“Just OK Corral” Bracelet Tutorial by Rings & Things designer Mollie Valente.

 

Make Things!

Mollie

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