Crash Course in Steel Jewelry

Course Description

About this course

In this virtual "crash course" for working in steel, students will explore the basics of utilizing steel sheet and wire as fundamental jewelry components, as well as simple prong settings. Basic fabrication, proper soldering, and appropriate finishing techniques for steel will all be covered. A torch setup will be needed for course objectives. This course is ideal for anyone looking to grasp the basics of steel working on a jewelry scale or acquire a pre-requisite for more advanced steel-focused workshops. 

For more information about virtual courses, visit our Virtual Course FAQ page. 

Please read the Materials & Tools tab! 

Meet the Instructor

Maia Leppo

Maia graduated from Tufts University in 2008 with a degree in Biology and Community Health. She received training in jewelry and metals from various craft schools, including Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts, Pocosin Arts, Penland School of Crafts and Haystack Mountain School of Crafts and her Masters of Fine Art from SUNY New Paltz.  She has participated in artist residencies at Arrowmont and Fallingwater and has taught around the country including Penland, Arrowmont, Pocosin, and Touchstone.  She currently works out of her studio in the Brewhouse Association on the south side of Pittsburgh.

Maia's work is drawn from the need to create volume out of flatness.  By using almost exclusively steel sheet, she aims to manipulate the material to have a dimension it did not previously have.  Her forms are inspired by botanical elements, abstracted and simplified to their most basic shape.

Materials & Tools 

The following $45 kit will be sent to the shipping address you have listed on your Metalwerx account. Kits will be mailed out by May 3rd. If you register after this date, a kit will still be mailed to you, but may not arrive by the workshop start date. Please inform us if you reside outside of the United States, as your shipping cost may differ from the standard shipping included in the materials kit fee and may also need to be expedited. All items listed below will be included in your kit.  

  • steel wire .035in diameter - 5ft
  • steel wire .041in diameter - 5ft 
  • steel wire .048in diameter - 5ft
  • steel wire .063in diameter - 5ft
  • steel wire .080in diameter - 1ft 
  • sterling 3/8" ear posts
  • sterling 7mm ear nuts
  • sanding discs 320 grit
  • grinding wheel
  • 3M micro wheel
  • separating disc
  • screw mandrel
  • snap mandrel
  • cup bur 1.4mm
  • cup bur 3.5mm
  • cup bur 1.7mm
  • 3"x6" sheet steel
Students should bring 

The following supplies will be used for course demonstrations and objectives. A suggested item and/or vendor has been provided below for reference. Click the vendor name (in red) to be redirected to a page where you can find the item. The quantities needed for each item are listed first. If ordering, please be aware that some items may come in larger quantities than needed for this class. We recommend not opening an item's packaging until the day of the workshop. Student participation during or in-between class sessions is strongly encouraged but not required - observers are welcome.

Torch setup:

  • 1 x fireproof torch area - steel baking sheet will work (Amazon)
  • 1 x Solderite™ pad or fire brick(s) (Rio Grande)
  • 1 x compressed charcoal block (Rio Grande)
  • 1 x torch system (Rio Grande or Rio Grande work)
  • 1 x #0 or #1 torch tip - if getting Silversmith (Rio Grande)
  • 1 x soldering tweezers (Rio Grande)
  • 1 x soldering pick (Rio Grande)
  • 1 x paste flux (Rio Grande)
  • hard solder
  • fan and open window - for ventilation
  • cross lock tweezers
  • glass jar
  • olive oil
  • rags
  • 1 x copper tongs - for pickle (Rio Grande)
  • pickle (Rio Grande)
  • crock pot or tempered glass with lid - for pickle (Amazon)
  • tempered glass or sink - for quenching and rinsing
  • small brush - for flux
  • safety glasses

Hand tools:

  • hammers - to texture steel
  • pliers - bent chain nose, needle nose, and flat nose (plus any other)
  • hand drill (Rio Grande)
  • flex shaft style hand piece
  • 2/0 saw blades
  • sharpie markers
  • 6in steel ruler
  • dividers 
  • calipers
  • 8in mill bastard file (Home Depot)
  • needle files
  • scribe
  • center punch
  • heavy duty wire cutters (Home Depot)
  • transfer punch set (Harbor Freight
  • saw frame
  • bench pin (Rio Grande)
  • high speed drill bits - size #67, #60, #55 recommended 
  • vise - a bigger and bolted down one works best
  • rubber cement
  • templates and silhouette shapes - for cutting out design
  • flat bottomed objects - for prong setting



Materials Cost



Maia Leppo


May 7, 2021


4:00 PM -7:00 PM


1 day

Basic and above
Virtual - Eastern Time Zone
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