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Little Metal Foxes

08/13 - 08/27 Tab Construction and Folding Techniques for 3-D Forms (3 sessions)

08/13 - 08/27 Tab Construction and Folding Techniques for 3-D Forms (3 sessions)

Regular price $156.00 USD
Regular price Sale price $156.00 USD
Sale Sold out

Tuesdays, August 13 - 27, 2024 
(3 days, 2 hours per session)
3:00 - 5:00 pm, PDT 

Instructor: Nisa Blackmon

Tabs are a fun and sturdy method of holding three-dimensional forms together without any need for solder (think: vintage tin toys)! They also have great decorative and textural versatility and can be adapted to any design aesthetic. If you enjoy the challenges of fabricating 3D structures, this course will really allow you to stretch those capabilities. Nisa will discuss ways to design, pattern, and use tabs structurally, aesthetically, and as a means of creating integral findings for jewelry and small objects. Key concepts and techniques will be demonstrated each week, including methods for enameling and patination of tabbed forms. Illustrated handouts and sample patterns will be provided. 

Student Level: All levels welcome; beginners should have basic sawing, piercing, filing and sanding skills.

All classes include the video recording, which you will have access to for 60 days after the class. Zoom link and instructions for joining the call will be emailed 1 day (24 hours) prior to class.

Supply List for Students

The links below will take you to or other suppliers. To see prices for precious metal items, you need a free Rio Grande account. Students in the Rio for Schools program enjoy wholesale benefits for six months (instructor code = RFSLMF). This site may contain Amazon and other affiliate links. If you purchase something through the link, at no cost to you, we may receive a small commission on qualifying purchases.

Recommended Materials:

  • Jeweler's saw frame -110039 at least 4-5 inches deep. Oversized or deep-throated jeweler’s saw frame is useful if you have one, but not required
  • Bench pin V-block bench pin
  • Ring clamp - 113106 or - 113969
  • Flat-nose pliers - 111912 and Round-nose pliers - 111913 or bail-making pliers
  • Center punch - 118117
  • Chasing hammer - 112225 or other small hammer
  • Small rawhide mallet or plastic (Nylon mallet - 112013, Delrin, etc.) forming hammer(s)
  • Needle file set, assorted shapes but especially flat, barrette, half-round, round, and 4-square
  • Some small twist drill bits, #60 or smaller. I most commonly use a #68 (My go-to brand is Dentsply Maillefer tungsten vanadium twist drill, 0.8 mm head with a 3/32” shank. Rio Grande, pk of 6, $10.24. A little more expensive, but they last a LOT longer, especially with the heavier shank).
  • Steel Bench block
  • Flexible shaft or Dremel tool that will accommodate tiny sizes of drill bits
  • An assortment of small wooden blocks and scraps; make sure they have good, sharp, right-angled (90°) corners. Blocks don’t need to be larger than 3 inches in any dimension; a variety of small sizes and dimensions will be most useful. Small round or square dowels (1/4”, 3/8”, ½”), popsicle sticks, or craft sticks are also useful. Hardwoods like maple, basswood, oak, etc., are best, but pine is OK if the edges are clean and sharp. Do NOT use balsawood!
  • The ability to anneal may be useful for some forms, so you would need: torch, pumice pan, forceps, pickle & pickle pot, and copper tongs. However, it is OK if you do not have this stuff!

Safety Equipment

  • Safety glasses
  • Earplugs (if sawing noise is a concern)
  • Thin latex or nitrile gloves, 1 pair – make sure they fit well and are comfortable but not floppy.

Consumable Materials

  • 24 gauge copper sheet; some pieces at least 6-10” in one dimension. (Rio Grande sells 6”x12” sheets). Optional: other metals in 24 gauge, such as sterling/fine silver/argentium, red brass (jeweler’s brass) or yellow brass, nickel or aluminum.
  • 26 gauge sheet (copper, silver or other metals) is optional but useful for some applications.
  • Emery paper, 320 & 400 grit
  • Jeweler's saw blades 4/0 or 5/0 jeweler’s saw blades (at least two dozen)
  • Beeswax or bur life or a candle stub or a small hotel soap bar
  • Enamels: if you would like to try enameling on tab-constructed forms, you will need the basics: sifting enamels and/or liquid enamels, sifters (60, 80, and/or 100 mesh), Klyr Fire or other holding agent, paint brushes, containers for dipping in liquid enamel, tweezers, trivets, enameling fork & a kiln, etc.


  • Pencils, eraser, ultra-fine Sharpie marker, scissors, X-Acto knife & blades
  • Graph paper (I use the kind with 8 squares to the inch; 1/4" squares are a little big. Metric with mm & cm will work, too)
  • Used manila folders or heavy cardstock, thin cardboard, etc. (to cut up and make models)
  • Painter’s 1-inch wide masking tape, low-tack artist’s tape, or regular masking tape
  • Ruler with inches or centimeters or both, as appropriate for the graph paper you are using
  • Circle template or drawing compass (optional)
  • Small to medium cutting mat, if you have one
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