Rustic Autumn Leaf Pendants (Tutorial)

by Rena Klingenberg.

Rustic Autumn Leaf Pendants Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Rustic Autumn Leaf Pendants Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg - shown here in brass

Rustic Autumn Leaf Pendants Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg – shown here in brass

This tutorial is an easy two-part project.

Rustic Autumn Leaf Pendants Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg - shown here in copper

Rustic Autumn Leaf Pendants Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg – shown here in copper

 
Here in Part 1, we’ll make simple leaf pendants from brass and copper:

Copper Leaf Pendant Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Brass Leaf Pendant Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Then, in Part 2 of this tutorial, we’ll make an easy homemade patina from potato chips to give our leaf pendants a rustic Autumn look:

Potato Chip Patina Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Supplies:

  • A piece of brass or copper sheet – 22 or 24 gauge (I used 22 gauge copper and 24 gauge brass).

    Most jewelry suppliers that carry metalworking stuff carry sheet metal. I got mine online from Monsterslayer.com.
    (If you’re going to do the rustic patina on your finished pendant, make sure your metal has NOT been varnished. Many craft-store and hardware-store metals have been varnished.)

  • Pencil and paper to sketch your leaf patterns.
  • Ultra-thin Sharpie marker to trace your pattern onto the metal.
  • Jeweler’s saw or tin snips (tin snips are scissors that cut metal – you can get these pretty inexpensively at a hardware or home improvement store). I used tin snips.
  • Jeweler’s file or small hardware-store metal file.
  • #0000 steel wool – a small piece.
  • Round nose pliers.
  • Chain nose pliers.
  • Knitting needle (or a pen, dowel, or other item) to use as a mandrel for shaping your pendant’s bail.

    I used a knitting needle that’s U.S. size 11 (metric size 8.0, U.K./Canadian size 0).
    Make a big enough bail so that your pendant can slide over the clasp on any chain or cord you like.

  • Plastic, nylon, or rawhide hammer for flattening and hammer-hardening your copper.
  • Jeweler’s steel block or other smooth surface for hammering your pendant.

Rustic Autumn Pendants Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

How to Make
Rustic Autumn Leaf Pendants:

Get your pencil and a piece of scratch paper ready – we’re going to sketch the leaves we want to turn into pendants.

I started by drawing boxes of the size I want the finished leaves to be – one 30x50mm, and the other 35x40mm.

Then I filled the boxes with my leaf designs, and added leaf stems (which will become the pendant bails) measuring 3x40mm:
Sketches for Rustic Autumn Pendants Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Now it’s time to get out your metal sheet.

Caution: Sheet metal edges and corners can be as sharp as a knife.

Please handle your metal carefully, and keep it out of reach of children and pets.

I’m making one leaf in brass and one in copper:

Brass and Copper for Rustic Autumn Leaf Pendants Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Cut out your paper leaf sketch to use as a pattern.

Use your ultra-thin Sharpie marker to trace around your pattern on the metal:

Copper Leaf Pendant Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Now your metal should look something like this:

Copper Leaf Pendant Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Now cut out your metal leaf using your jeweler’s saw or tin snips (I’m using tin snips):

Copper Leaf Pendant Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Use your plastic, nylon, or rawhide hammer and steel jeweler’s block to flatten your leaf after cutting:

Rustic Autumn Leaf Pendants Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Now use your file to smooth all edges and corners of your leaf and its stem:

Rustic Autumn Leaf Pendants Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Then take a small piece of #0000 steel wool, fold it over the edge of your pendant, and “sand” each edge and corner of your pendant till it’s silky-smooth.

Be careful not to cut your fingers on the metal.

Also rub both front and back surfaces of your metal leaf with the steel wool, working with the grain of the metal:

Rustic Autumn Leaf Pendants Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Your leaf should look something like this:

Rustic Autumn Leaf Pendants Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Now let’s give our leaf some three-dimensional shaping, to make it look more like a real leaf and less like a flat cookie-cutter creation.

Look at a real leaf – how its folds, veins, and curves give it three dimensions.

Use your round nose and chain nose pliers to bend, curve, and shape your leaf:

Rustic Autumn Leaf Pendants Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Rustic Autumn Leaf Pendants Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Now your leaf should look something like this:

Rustic Autumn Leaf Pendants Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Rustic Autumn Leaf Pendants Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Now it’s time to shape the bail of our leaf pendant.

Think of how a vine tendril wraps itself around a tree branch.

Smoothly wrap the leaf stem around your knitting needle (or other mandrel):

Rustic Autumn Leaf Pendants Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Here’s the underside of my leaves – and a view of the finished bails:

Rustic Autumn Leaf Pendants Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg
Rustic Autumn Leaf Pendants Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Now head over to Part 2 of this tutorial to give your leaf a rustic potato chip patina finish, like this:

Rustic Autumn Leaf Pendants Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Rustic Autumn Leaf Pendants Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Rustic Autumn Leaf Pendants Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

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