Meet Sally My Soldering Iron

soldered necklace, diorama, art pendant, interactive art

I’m getting ready to teach my first ever soldering workshop, tomorrow. Such a thrill. I’ve soldered since the birth of my first born when we relocated to Prineville Oregon, a little town smack dap in the middle of Oregon. We didn’t know a soul there and I jumped into stay-at-home mommy life with both feet. My babe was tiny and took lots of naps then and I had lots of spare time on my hands. One of my projects I created for myself was to put together a Victorian doll house. And soldering was my other interest. That was back in 2002 when you couldn’t find soldering supplies in craft stores. I tried using supplies bought at the hardware store and boy, I learned so much!

Since then I’ve made soldered pendants into three dimensional artwork. I’ve added movable parts to my jewelry for added fun. I’m still excited after eight years of soldering, to sit down at my bench and create a new project. I still conjure up soldering ideas in my bed at 4 am when I can’t sleep. I continue to find it amazing what a little solder, copper foil tape and glass creates. I’m still smitten with the magic of it all.

I’m excited to see what my high flyin’ DIYin’ students make. And I’m creating a little Simply Soldering Zine so they can have helpfull tips and tutorials ready when they put their DIY skills to practice at home. Here’s a little excerpt from the Zine. Enjoy!

Your Soldering Iron
Your soldering iron can either be your best friend or your worst enemy depending on how you treat her. Let me introduce you to Sally my soldering iron. Yep, she has a name. She’s not just some tool I throw around. This sassy girl wants me to respect her and treat her right. Just like any relationship, it took me awhile to get to know Sally and what she likes and what she dislikes. Here’s a little list:


  • Keep her shinny with a wet sponge or a tinning block. A “tinning block” (sal-amoniac) is used by placing a small amount of flux on the block and rubbing the tip of your hot iron in it. Wipe the tip on a damp sponge to remove debris.
  • Treat her right with good solder. Buy the best solder you can afford. A higher tin content and solder purity keeps your iron happy. Cainfield SilverGleem is what I prefer to solder with.
  • I plug in my soldering iron only when I am ready to use it. Good friends don’t leave each other hanging.
  • Sweet talking seems to work well.


  • Rubbing Sally with sand paper or dipping her tip in flux can ruin her and cause permanent damage.
  • Soldering irons are social creatures and like to be interacted with. Don’t leave her alone or it may backfire on you!
  • Give your soldering iron a nice home with lots of room. Respect her temperament and keep fingers, clothing and other things away from her.


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