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Metal Geisha Pin

Krista Ward-Sell demonstrates how to design a metal geisha pin.

With Krista Ward-Sells' father being an artist, she was born with a passion for the arts. "Ever since I was old enough to hold a crayon, I could hold a paintbrush too." She pursued a degree in illustration at college and later took an elective metalsmithing class that she thought was an introductory course. She soon discovered that it was not only quite advanced, but so were her skills. She integrates her metal and painting talents to create a unique geisha pin.

Materials and Tools:

20-gauge silver sheet
20-gauge copper sheet
14-gauge silver wire
silver tubing
- outer diameter .114"
- inner diameter .082"
silver solder in hard and medium
flux and disposable brush
paper pattern
rubber cement
coping or jeweler's saw
saw blades in 2/0 size, about two dozen to start
needle files
200-, 400-, and 600-grit sandpaper
steel stamps in several fun styles
wire brush
Dremel tool with the following attachments:
- fine drill bit in the same size as 14-gauge wire
- muslin buff set
- collets to match several size shafts
polishing compound
Black Max antiquing solution
acetylene/oxygen torch with tanks and regulators
crock pot and acid pickle
nonreactive tongs such as wood or plastic
eye protection
quenching bucket with water, soap, and toothbrush
oil paint and brushes in very small sizes
wood jeweler's peg
steel bench block
drill press holder for Dremel tool


1. After drawing out the idea, make a paper model to work out any problems.

2. Cut out a paper pattern and glue it with rubber cement to the sheet silver.

3. Select different types of metal for the other pattern pieces and glue them with rubber cement. Saw the shapes out of the material selected using a jeweler's saw. Then fine-tune the edges of sawn pieces with needle files and sandpaper.

4. Once the pieces are smooth, hammer textures onto the kimono, under collar and obi.

5. Dip the three pieces (kimono, under collar, obi) in Black Max solution and polish to reveal the pattern.

6. Set these pieces aside and prepare the pin finding by winding silver wire around a steel tube three times. Form a catch and saw these off the wire, forming the two components of the catch. The long end of the coiled piece is filed and sanded to a point. These are then filed flat and sanded, and test fitted to the back of the head.

7. Solder the pin and catch on to the head, then quench in water, pickle and rinse.

8. Protect the fan section by wrapping it with tape. Brush the head and hand area with the steel brush to create texture that will later anchor the paint. Remove the tape.

9. Polish the fan using polishing compound. Gently clean off any polishing compound.

10. Drill holes using the drill press to connect all the pieces.

11. Cut sections of silver wire and tube to form the rivets.

12. Rivet the head, under collar, kimono, and obi pieces together.

13. Rivet the hand onto the body using the tube as a spacer, forming a loose mobile rivet to allow the hand to move up and down.

14. Put a layer of very thin oil paint on the face and hand, allow this to dry completely, (this will take several days.)

15. Paint the face and hand.


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