Pre-plan with sketches.
Sketch your design by breaking it down into layers [PHOTO 1]. Decide which parts must be soldered to which layer and how you will join the layers. When you’re planning the piece, consider the texture, form, shape, and size of each decorative gold or copper element (see “Why Not Brass,” below). Use tracing paper to create the individual layers, and then use a glue stick to transfer the drawings to cardstock. Cut out each layer to make your templates. Manila file folders work well for making templates because permanent marker will not bleed through them and soften the edges or blur the outline.
Select a gauge for the leaf layers.
You will have better results with mixing metals if you use 20–22-gauge (0.8–0.6 mm) sheet metal for the leaf layers (see “Gauge Advice,” below), because those are moderate gauges. The leaf pendant in the featured project is over 3 in. (76 mm) long and the leaf layers are 22-gauge (0.6 mm) silver sheet. If you make the leaf layers from a metal gauge that’s too thin, the secondary metal elements may pool or sink (see “How to prevent pooling or sinking when soldering
Cut out the layers of the leaf pendant.
Use a permanent marker to trace the template for the top and bottom layers of the leaf pendant onto 22-gauge (0.6 mm) sterling silver. Using a jeweler’s saw with 2/0 blades, cut out the two leaf shapes. Flatten the metal with a rawhide mallet, and mark a front side on each leaf.