Sunday, 17 May 2009

Fingerprint Cufflinks - perfect for Fathers Day

These fingerprint cuff links are the perfect gift for the man who has everything....including two gorgeous children and a brilliant wife (who plans ahead!). They're still to be burnished and oxidised but for those of you with a packet of Silver Clay, kids and some soldering skills (for the cuff link back) what are you waiting for??
Nic xx


  1. I think they are so beautiful - what a brilliant idea!

    Wish I had some soldering skills!!! That is going to be one happy Father!

  2. What a wonderful idea for Father's may want to check my blog about the giveaway winner :-).

  3. Wouldn't using a burnisher on them take out the fingerprints?

  4. I do think they are amazing though!! :)

  5. I polish all my fingerprint jewellery by hand as tumbling will "smooth" the fingerprint.
    A small rotary motor and the three finest grades of burr work just fine. ;)
    (The fingerprints get a light brushing with a brass brush to remove the white kiln finish)
    Nic x

  6. Ahhh, ok! Thanks for answering my question :)

  7. Beautiful!! Can you point me in a good direction for the cufflink findings?

  8. I've tried most of the suppliers and Find Cookson Gold has the nicest (really stand up well to soldering). Product Code NVU 101
    Nic x

  9. do you just place childs finger on clay directly or take a mould? If family wants a present but babies live faraway how do you get the fingerprint?
    I can't quite work out how you get such a clear print off children?
    Hope you can help!

  10. I take direct prints & don't often do distance orders, the print never seems quite as clear
    though I can get close ;^)
    It also helps if you don't take prints under approx 18 months old (their prints aren't normally as developed)

  11. I made these cufflinks for my husband for Christmas with the finger prints of my 20month son. He loves them but the prints are no way near as clear as in the ones above (you can hardly make out the lines of the finger prints at all). Do you have any tips to make the prints clearer? Thank you!

  12. The prints above were from older children,
    the older they are the clearer the print normally is.
    The mimimum age I suggest is 18 months (but it varies from child to child). To get the best print possible the clay has to be perfectly conditioned,soft but not sticky.
    If you haven't done so already then a class (taught by a certified teacher) is a good place to start. It will teach you how to get the best from the material :^)
    Nicola xx

  13. Thank you very much and I will look for a course to go on.

  14. Hi Nicola,
    I purchased some PMC and would like to take my daughters hand prints to make into pendants. I understand I have to take there hand prints down in ink free paper, scan it, shrink it then somehow put it on the clay!
    Do you have any ideas??

  15. Normal water based ink on white paper would be fine - you just need a high contrast clean image.
    You then need to either
    1) send that image to a rubber stamp maker who will create a stamp to impress the clay with or
    2) Create your own using photo-polymer plates or an ImagePac type product.
    (Both of option 2s will need some additional equipment) A brief overview and some tut's on photopolymer plates can be found in this blog :)
    Nicola x

  16. Hi - thanks for this - it is very interesting. I have just tried my first lot of fingerprint jewellery and I have found that the print just doesn't stand out. It looks too smooth - how can I ensure definition? I also want to know if 3mm will work too or will it be too thick? I am looking for a kinda rustic look.. Thanks a lot x

  17. Hi Jo
    You're welcome ~ everyones finger print is different, how old is the person you're finger printing? Young children e.g under 18 months have very fine lines so they don't always show up and yes 3mm should be fine.
    Nicola x

  18. Actually my son was asleep so I used my own finger.. maybe using a child's would have been better but I want to make jewellery for couples too. I also tried leaving the jewellery matt and liked the look.. you don't NEED to shine it.. right?

  19. Try using your non dominant hand (it might have more print) No you don't need to shine it but as soon as you wear it it will become naturally more shiny!
    It only appears matt because on a microscopic level the surface is irregular (think mountainous) so doesn't reflect.
    As soon as you do anything to press against that surface including: polishing, tumbling, burnishing and yes, even wearing...that surface will become smoothed out (think small rolling hills). The smoother the surface becomes the more shiny it will appear ~ mirror finish would be more like a bowling green ;)
    Nic x

  20. Hi there! I have been making fingerprint charms for a while and have tried various polishing methods. The tumbling removes the nice definition on the print obviously, but I cannot get a nice result with a burnisher, I find I scratch the pieces. I do have a Dremel tool that I bought on impulse from eBay but don't know what attachments etc to buy for it to use for polishing. Any advice would be appreciated! Thank you!

  21. If you don't tumble for too long then you can maintain the print really well :)
    To finish I use a pendant motor with a Rubb.eflex Bur brown first then green, on all the parts except the fingerprint.
    In the UK they're available from Cookson Gold and they fit a Dremel.
    Hope that helps
    Nicola x

  22. Hi i have started making fingerprint jewellery and my imprints seem to smooth out after putting them in my barrelling machine. I like to add liver of sulphur but when using the polishing cloths the fingerprint disappears as well. Any tips would be gratefully received!!

    Louise x

  23. Fine silver is really soft so don't barrell them for so long, then finish everywhere except the print using rubberflex burrs or similar on a dremel or felxshaft.
    Only add the LOS to the imprint (cocktail sticks are good for that) then there's less polishing back :)

  24. These are a great idea, its guess you could say its impossible to find any cufflinks more unique than these.

  25. Hello,
    I'm seriously wanting to make fingerprint jewelry, all kinds, cufflinks, pendants, etc. I live in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada and no one here teaches a class(es). I'm a mother of 2 with a day home as well and I would like to get my creative juices flowing. Something for me, something that I would enjoy doing and would have a passion for. I've been searching the web for months trying to find stuff on line but not having to much luck, until now :) Can you point me in the right direction as to what supplies I will need, how to take the print, the steps afterwards, how to do the cufflink, etc.
    Would it be possible to communicate via email after this post? I would really really appreciate your help.
    Thanks for responding,

  26. Hi Lisa
    Sorry there's not enough hours in the day to respond with
    Email tutorials, but everything you need is already on the blog ;)
    I show taking a print (you'd need to cut a different shape and practice but it's there)
    Sanding and refining is in most silver clay basics books, there's a video
    On soldering cufflink backs on + some tips in the main post.
    (though I'd suggest a basic silver soldering or jewellery making course would also be worth taking as your skills will be higher)
    The only other thing you'd need is a small kiln, you can torch fire
    But the results are more predictable and normally stronger from a kiln.
    Polishing etc is Once again in most books. :)
    Metal Clays are quite costly so it may cost you a little to "self teach" as
    There is definitely a learning curve to them!
    As long as you haven't fired the pieces the clay can be reconstituted
    Lisa Cain of MidCornwall Jewellery School did a video demo on that technique (google vid search should find that)
    Good Luck and Happy Making
    Nicola x

  27. Hi Nicola, hope you are all good : )

    My little prints are going nicely and I just wanted to pick your brains over the tumbling!

    I have been getting a lady to solder the cufflink backs for me as she has been soldering for years......but she keeps insisting that they need to be put in to the tumbler and I've advised that this will take off the print if left in for too long.......after another pair ruined! I thought I'd see if you have any suggestions.....after firing should I still remove the white from firing in the normal way with the brush etc and then pass them over for her to solder, tumble....or should I not remove the residue from firing on the front and only the back this way when she tumbles it's not going over what I have done already!

    How long would you say she should tumble for - I'm not sure if she is doing this to harden the solder bond??

    Thanks As Always Nicola, you're a star : ) xx

  28. Glad the prints are doing well for you :)
    When they come out of the kiln dont tumble them or treat them at all on the front. Polish and burnish the back really well either with sandpapers or preferably rotary tools. The burrs from Cooksons are perfect for this (make sure you finish with the green one).
    By burnishing the back you reduce the silver clays tendancy to suck the solder up and give a better surface for a nice strong solder join. I imagine she's tumbling them to polish up the cufflink fitting which would look slightly dull after heating and pickling.
    Tell her she only needs to do this enough for the fitting to be polished as you'll finish the fronts yourself. Hopefully this will solve the problem but if not you need to find someone who'll respect your wishes and not ruin your hard work! :)
    Happy Making
    Nic xxx

  29. Hi Nicola,

    Thanks very much, ooohhh I know it's so gutting the pieces were lovely too and now just a impression where the print once was! Thanks for the tips - I may just have to just give the soldering a go myself! and see how we go xx

    Thanks as always
    Di xx


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