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  1. #1
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    Jan 2008
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    Default How do I make a barrette?

    I was asked to make a woman's barrette out of sterling and engrave it, and I am not sure what the back side of a barrette looks like. Heck, I hardly know what the front side looks like, and all the girls I know quit wearing them when they left grade school, so not much help there. Any advice or pictures of a handmade job would be nice before I have to start hanging out in the womens section of the Penny's store and risk getting thrown in the loony bin. I've got a few little ones, but they look like a pain to duplicate. What's a good size for a smaller ranch girl. 3, 4 inches across perhaps? Anyway, a bit of advice could sure steer me in the right direction, and I certainly would be thankful. Yeah, yeah, I know its not a 1911, but I am sure one of you might know a thing or two about this. Thanks everyone and I hope your weekend was good, Seth

  2. #2
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    Jul 2007
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    Default

    Eastslope........
    I buy French made barrett backs from Rio Grande. They come in a number of sizes. I will cut the fronts of the barretts in different shapes from rectangles to odd shapes. I engrave the front sections and then solder then to the backs. Care must be taken because of the heat of silver solder........or use a laser welder. They can be lots of fun to design and build.
    Brad

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
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    Surprise,AZ.
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    Default

    Here is a link to Rio Grande where you can buy a premade barette back.
    http://www.riogrande.com/MemberArea/...00=Incidentals

    This is a photo of how it looks.

    I would use 20 or 22 g sterling with a piece of sterling wire on each end of the back to attached finding.
    jxn
    Attached Images

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
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    Default barrettes

    I like to engrave the barrette flat so I solder tube silver to match the holes in the finding and then attach to a wood block with holes to match and engrave, I then rivit the back inplace. No solder after engraving. The barrette can be any shape. Fun to make. Jack

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
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    I have made several, fabricated all the way. I lay out the engraving and saw out the shape. On the back side I solder a raised bar, 2-3mm wide and a little taller, about 1/3 the width of the barrette. On the other end I solder a largish ball (to act as the catch like a figure 8 safety catch) I then do all the engraving, flat, and shape the barrette afterward. I drill lengthwise the raised bar, and put 1/2 hard round wire through, 1 1/2mm diameter or so, then bend the wire in 'til the ends touch in the center, past the ball on the end. I isolate them and solder them together, placing a small ball on top (again, like a figure 8 catch. This wire must be gently hammered with a rubber mallet or brass hammer until springy stiff. I file, 1/3 of the depth, 'v's that point in the opposite direction, to catch and hold the hair. Shape all the squarish pieces, softening them, make sure the wire has some clearance and is springy, that the catch is not too tight or loose and finish polish. If the lady's hair is too fine, and the barrette slips, a little adhesive backed catchy cloth on the back of the barrette will stop that.

  6. #6
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    Sep 2007
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    Bellingham WA
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    Default

    If you decide to buy backs make sure you get the French made ones they are the only ones of quality on the market. I bought some from Asia a few years ago and ended up throwing them out after have several come back for repair right after the sale...not good for the old reputation as a quality goldsmith.

  7. #7
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    Thanks for the good advice everyone. Diandwill, any chance you might have a picture of your way of doing this. It sounds like a cool way of getting it done. Again, thanks everybody, and I will post what I get done. Seth

  8. #8
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    Aug 2008
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    Default

    This a pair I made for the wife. They aren't as shiny as new, but you can see the workings. These are 1" x 1/2". I have made them this way up to 3 1/2" long, with no problem. The catch is the trickiest part. It has to be loose enough that a ladies fingers can undo it, but strong enough that it won't just open. It needs to be made according to the type and amount of hair she intends to catch, finer hair is shallower (but harder to hold), and coarser/thicker hair can be a deeper opening. You just have to play with it to get it right.
    Attached Images
    Last edited by diandwill; 09-01-2009 at 04:37 PM. Reason: more info

  9. #9
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    Diandwill, thanks very much for the picture. I would have never thought of that on my own, and it looks doable, and very nice I might add. Where do you file in the v's to catch and hold the hair? Anyway, very cool. Thanks again and take care, Seth

  10. #10
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    Aug 2008
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    Default

    In the bottom pic, with the wire open (it shows closed) is where you file them, so that when closed they catch the hair. I file all one direction on the first side, and all the other direction on the second side.
    Thanks!! I have been fabricating things for a long time, and sometimes do a mix of lost wax cast base with fabrication completing the item. The old way of making filigree rings was all fabricated, shaping and doming the metal, fusing the joints (if done in platinum) or welding if done in 18K white gold, and its a turn on to me to be able to take sheet and wire and , with a little solder, form it into a usable, finished piece of jewelry.

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