This is a quick tutorial which will demonstrate how you can make your own beadcaps with a dapping set and hole punch. The goal to this tutorial is to introduce thedapping setand share with you all the cool jewelry pieces you can create with this amazing tool! I begin with showing you how to make beadcaps.
There are so many variables that go into creating a piece of jewelry. The tools that you have on hand and what gauges of metal they can accommodate. Also, there is always more than one way to skin a cat, please excuse the expression. So, basically, lets go through this process as if we are using a hole punch plier and working with 22 gauge metal, a steel bench block, brass hammer, metal design stamps, center punch and dapping set and copper discs.
Step 1: Clean your metal. You can use steel wool or 400 grit sandpaper, such as the 3m wet/dry sandpaper. Use a black sharpie to mark/find the center of your disc.
Step 2: Place disc on steel bench block and mark the center of your disc by hitting yourcenter punchwith a hammer. This step is to put an indentation in the metal which is necessary if you are going to drill or use as a guide so that you will know where to punch hole with your hole-punch pliers.
Step 3: With yourhole punch pliers, punch a hole where you marked the metal in the center. Repeat these steps for other disc. After you punch hole in each disc, use a file and gently smooth out burrs. I cant stress enough how important it is to own a high qualityfile!
Step 4: Go a head and remove the black sharpie lines from the discs with steel wool. Now we are going to add some design to the discs by using somemetal design stamps.You can use design stamps, hammers for adding a textured design..the skys the limit. I used a circle design stamp and then my center punch to make little dot designs in the metal. Designing the discs is an optional step.
Step 5: Now place your disc in the dapping block with design facing down!! I placed the disc in the largest cavity and used the corresponding sized punch. Tap lightly then move to a smaller size cavity and use the corresponding size punch and tap tap tap. Learning how to use a dapping set and how to achieve nice looking domes takes practice. I wish it was just as easy as put the disc in cavity and punch and verla! Its not that its difficult to achieve, it just takes some time and practice. Anyway, you continue this process of going to the next smaller size until you achieve desired height of dome.Ah! and I just remembered! Sometimes when you dap your discs, your center holes will become distorted or close-up a little- enough where it would make it difficult insert wire. Just use yourbead reamerand twist enough times to correct this.
Here are my finished beadcaps which have been oxidized with liver of sulfur but not yet tumbled.If you have any questions, please ask! One last note- you can anneal your metal before dapping so soften the metal which makes it easier to form, but I didnt want to bring fire into this tutorial. Next time.
What gorgeous work! Off to check out the rest of your blog!
Jeanette, what a great tutorial! You explained the process very well.
first of all, congrats on the cover of step by step wire this month! the bead caps are beautiful thanks for sharing your experience and vision!
Absolutely beautiful. I wish I had the time to make my own and owned the tools. It seems everytime I decide to try something I need to invest a few dollars. Thanks for sharing. Someday..
Thanks for the tutorial. I see that I need to use thicker sheet to be able to dome the cap without flattening out the texture. Your bead caps are awesome!
Hi Carol, so you were having trouble with holding the texture in the metal? Yes, try a thicker gauge metal. I usually dont go any thinner than 22 gauge..I also like the look of my metal having some weight to it. Also, when you are dapping, play around with the force you are hitting the punch with. You dont want to hit too hard. Let me know if this helps at all
I am going to try and make a pair with a wooden dapping set and let you know how it goes. There must be a way to do this without investing so much money up front on expensive tools.
@Carol If you are loosing your texture, you might also need to use a wooden dapping block and punch.
Thanks for sharing your feedback, Duane!
Jeanette, what a great tutorial..youre a natural with metal! 🙂
Jeanette, What a gift to find your tutorial here today. Now I want to add the tools to stash. Your bead caps are wonderful!
Jeanette, thanks so much for sharing. Great tut!
Awesome tutorial, Jeanette. Now I know how you made those cool bead caps in the Bead Soup bracelet!
What size are the disks/blanks are you using for the bead caps?
I could shoot myselfI bought the wood dapper thing and it seems senseless now. I wish I had the metal one that you showed in the tutorial!!!! Thatll be my next purchase. Sigh.
The size I discs I used for those beadcaps were around 5/8, but it really depends upon the size of your bead when determining the best size for the disc to use. The bead I used for the tutorial was fairly large.
I think owning a wooden dapping block comes in handy, but a metal dapping block is the one you need to make bead caps, dome metal, create metal beads etc. Though, I know its a pricey tool!
Just got a steel dapping set for less than $40 at Harbor Freight. They . have a web cite and catalog This could have been part of a great sale that was going on. Went in looking for a tool mentioned in Jewelry Artist magazine this month and discovered the dapping set. Could be it is a miniature set or something, but suits my needs.
Just saw your tutorial for the first time, while crusing for dapping info. It was great. Im going to try it in a few days. I just brought a circle template with centering lines 2 days ago.
Also, do you have any ideas for using a disc cutter to make washers? Rio Grande has one, but Ill be glad to afford the Pepe one.
Thank you so much for this amazing tutorial! Would you please mind sharing which dapping set do you use and where did you get it from? I cant wait to try these!!!
Wow, love your step-by-step tutorial on how to make bead caps! I was looking for something like this and Im so glad I found it here. Your bead caps are so pretty! Like the poster before me, Id love to know which dapper you would recommend. Thanks much!
Hi Julia, I am glad to hear that you enjoyed the tutorial:) Most jewelry supply stores carry dapping blocks..I also carry them in my shop. Heres a link to what you would want to look for if you have any other questions feel free to contact me.
Ok, my hubby got me a steel dapping set for my birthday! Yay! So Im now ready to try and make bead caps. I was wondering which size disc you would recommend for a 12mm bead? I have a bunch of sterling silver discs in 22 ga, in various sizes. Would a 1/2 disc work or should I go up a size. I saw in a previous post youd said you used 5/8 for your caps. Thanks for any help you can give me. Have a great day!
I would definitely try making one in copper to make sure its the size that you like for your bead. Some designers may prefer a larger bead cap while others may prefer a smaller bead cap. It depends upon your design. Hopefully, you have some copper or brass that you can play around with! If you are familiar with annealing, I would anneal the the metal and then dap. The metal is softer and will be easier to shape. If not, thats ok.
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