How To Use A Soldering Iron For Crafts

Soldering iron has a well-known usage in the arena of artistry at any definite level. It is primarily used for industrial applications, but creative minds have found their way to blend it into the arts.

The science behind soldering is to combine two metals to make the joint solid and sturdy. Now it is up to your creativity, how you use it to prepare your home craft projects.

There are unbelievable craft ideas that you can try out when you learn how to use a soldering iron for crafts. Let this guide educate you with important attributes for the same! 

Warning: Please take precautions before using a soldering iron by wearing heavy-duty gloves and even protective goggles! If you are new to using one, it’s best to get a helping hand from someone experienced to help. Better to be safe.

Step 1: Tinning Your Iron Before First Use

A soldering iron dripping

Tinning the tip is more like covering it with a thin solder layer. It is good to prevent the tip from oxidization by projecting a protective layer between iron and air. Without this step, oxidization would prevent heat transmission over the tip.

The steps are:

  1. Dampen a soldering sponge and wipe the tip.
  2. If you think the tip is very dirty, use a cleaning paste to wipe it clean. You can dip the tip into it for the purpose.
  3. When the tip is clean, let it reach its operating temperature depending on the type of the soldering wire in use.
  4. Now, apply a small solder bead to a copper portion of the tip.
  5. Wipe away all of the extra solders using a damp sponge.
  6. Note that a small amount should exist over the tip to give it a shiny appeal.
  7. Then the tip should now tinned be and ready for your craft use. 
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Step 2: Arrange Your Tools To Hold The Craft

A third-hand tool used with a soldering iron

Gather the tools that you need to hold the craft item safely while soldering. The tools you might need are:

  • Bent nose pliers
  • Clamps
  • Third-hand device
  • Thin wire cutters

You need to keep your moderate grip over the craft item while using these tools. Stronger grips might just result in hampering the desired structure of your craft piece.

The third-hand device or the helping hand is nothing but a base with a bar that comes with crocodile clips and maneuverable alligator clamps at both ends. The purpose of these clips is to hold the item at one place, at an angle where you need it. 

If you are working upon some precision craftwork, you can prefer a third-hand device that comes with a magnifying glass. There are different varieties and options; choose the one that suits the best for your purpose!  

Step 3: Begin Crafting With Your Iron

Hot soldering iron laying on a jar of resin

Now that you know how to solder your material, it is time you should continue with your art. If you have some stones that you want to engrave upon your soldering craft, such as for jewelry, then you can wrap them with wires and then connect them by soldering. This will give you a unique jewelry concept to improvise and create many more such ideas. 

Over time, if you get too good with this soldering craft thing, you can turn your hobby into a small business for sure.

Keeping The Tip Clean Over Time

Soldering iron with solder wire

If your tip gets dirty over time with frequent soldering, you need to clean it and re-tin it before further use. If you see a brown or black coating over the tip, it is a sign of oxidization. Use a tip cleaner or damp sponge to wipe it off. Cleaning it and re-tinning is not that big a hassle. 

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Therefore, I would suggest you always keep a damp sponge to continuously wipe the tip after every 4 to 5 joints. It is because if you allow the oxidization stain to collect over the soldering tip, then you will be bound to re-tin it over a short period. Instead, give continuous wipes to keep it clean during the crafting process. 

When using the sponge for the cleaning process, make sure it is clean and damp with distilled water. You also need to avoid using any abrasive tools such as emery cloth, scotch-brite, sandpaper, or a dry sponge for the cleaning process. Avoid dipping it into the flux, as it is corrosive and will result in causing holes and pits over the tip. 

I would suggest you avoid over-wiping the tip, as it would result in its failure. Count from 1 to 5 concerning the joints you make and wipe it off. 

Reviving A Damaged Soldering Iron 

A slightly damaged soldering iron

If you did not get this guide before you started with your soldering craft work, then you might have probably ruined the soldering iron. If you witness that the solder is no longer sticking to the iron or melting, you might have to file down the tip with stone or fine sandpaper. Maintaining the tip is quite an important task

Remember that this should be the last option! If the tip can be cleaned and re-tinned for use, you should always go for that. But if it doesn’t work, then go for this ultimate remedy. It will just give you a new-like tip. If you are using a quality soldering iron, this step is not for you, as you will not encounter this situation. 

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Using a soldering iron, I was eventually able to reach minimal stability. But my fiancé is a master of soldering craftworks. He taught me how to use it and is now helping me master it. Just follow these rookie steps, and every craft fanatic who wants to start with soldering crafts can get it done! 

A soldering iron is just one of many tools you can use to level up your crafting and get more hands-on. You can also check out another guide about how to cut slate for crafts.