Nita’s Nifty Trick Of The Day – Pickle Tip

by Dorothy Bourne.

Nita's Nifty Trick Of The Day - Pickle Tip by Dorothy Bourne - featured on Jewelry Making Journal

Dollar Store Strainers

Today I wanted to show a nifty little trick I discovered.

I’ve been practicing making copper balls out of scrap wire and chasing those little rascals around in the pickle was quite time consuming so I came up with a quick fix.

In my kitchen I had some dollar store strainers with plastic netting at the bottom.

I cut off the handle and extra tabs so I was just left with the cup part of the strainer.

Now after I quench my copper ball I drop it in the strainer cup.

When I’m done for the day, I put the whole cup in the pickle.

When it’s done, I take the cup out and put it in the water.

No more chasing little metal balls around for me!

Dorothy Bourne
NRU Creations

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  • Alysen says:

    That’s a great idea Dorothy! I also recommend the same procedure for oxidizing, neutralizing, water bath.

  • Rena Klingenberg says:

    A great example that the best solution doesn’t have to be expensive or complicated. This is a clever, inexpensive tip that will save time and aggravation. Thanks for sharing it, Dorothy.

  • Rita says:

    Hi Dorothy, thanks for the tip, but I don’t fully understand what you’re doing. Maybe some more photos would help, or a comment about the process as a whole. I suspect this is just something I haven’t done. Also, what are you using the balls for in jewelry making? What is a pickle? Thanks for sharing!

  • Denise says:

    You’re a genius! This is one of those smack the forehead, why didn’t I think of that ideas. Thank you!

  • Sue K says:

    Awesome tip!!! Thanks for sharing.

  • Janice says:

    Brilliant! Thanks for sharing

  • Barbara Stewart says:

    I would also like to know what copper balls are used for and do you snip of bits of wire and what guage. Don’t want much do I.

  • Dorothy Bourne says:

    Rita, Pickle is a liquid compound melt in a crockpot used to clean solder, flux, and corrosion from metal. I melt small pieces of scrap copper to make accent balls for metal jewelry. After the metal has melted it’s black from the flame so it has to be dropped in the pickle pot for cleaning. Since the pickle is an acid you have to remove your items with tongs and trust me chasing those little metal balls around with tongs can get time cosuming.

  • Dorothy Bourne says:

    I melt down scraps of copper to make accent pieces to be soldered on metal jewelry. The amount I use depends on how big of a ball I
    I want to make. I usually make several at one time so that I have a selection to choose from when I need them

  • Dorothy Bourne says:

    Oops spell check changed my first sentance. It should read ” Pickle is a liquid compound kept in a crock pot. “

  • Dorothy Bourne says:

    I think I did smack my forehead! 😊

  • Margie Meehan says:

    Ok question..when melting down your copper, are the finished beads with no hole? Or how do you accomplish that?

  • Linda says:

    I really enjoy your tip but I have tried to make balls out of with no luck what am I doing wrong?

  • Dorothy Bourne says:

    They have no hole. I solder them to metal peices as accents.

  • Dorothy Bourne says:

    I’m not sure how you’re trying to make metal balls but I use a charcoal block that has a small cup carved in it. I put my scrap metal in the cupped hole and use a butane torch to heat the scrap metal until it balls up. I’ve found holding my torch at a 45 degree(+/-) angle works better for me than holding it straight above.

  • Alice says:

    Great tip. It looks like your strainers have metal mesh in the bottom which is perfect for pickling copper.
    For pickling tiny silver pieces I took a plastic yogurt cup and drilled tinier holes in the bottom. So no copper plating on my silver pieces.
    This cup actually works for pickling copper also. Even if you are picking up inch sized pieces of metal this idea saves so much time.

  • Marion says:

    Great idea, but the wire mesh MUST be copper, anything ferrous will contanimate your pickle and copper plate all of your silver. Another possibiltiy is empty K-cups, as long as they do not have metal mesh – I know Trader Joe’s brand has no metal. I don’t really like using them because they tend to float and/or tip over. Another option is a little ceramic dish or bowl. It doesn’t have strainer, but it keeps all those tiny balls etc corralled.

  • Marion, thank you for sharing this info.

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