Even though learning how to solder (from an expert--shh!) is one of the activity possibilities in the Girl Scout Junior Jeweler badge, I was nevertheless a little leery when Will showed it to me and asked to learn to solder.
But who am I to refuse a child's desire to use a power tool and play with molten metal?
I actually do know how to solder, although not terribly well. Back in the day, I made many postage stamp pendants--are postage stamp pendants still a thing?
Mental note: check to see if postage stamp pendants are still a thing.
Fortunately, while the kid and I were digging through the garage looking for the soldering iron, copper tape, flux, solder, and jewelry clamps that you need to solder, I also found a set of Christmas ornaments that I had made and taped but never gotten around to actually soldering.
They're pages cut out of a Christmas songbook, sandwiched between glass, already taped. They are PERFECT to learn how to solder on!
I set the kid up, gave her a demonstration, showed her how the solder would only stick to the copper tape and only when it had been fluxed, showed her how to wipe her soldering iron off on a damp sponge, made sure her hair was tied back, reminded her to sit well forward so that I didn't have to take her to the ER to treat third-degree molten silver burns on her thighs, and then... let her go.
Um, this kid is a NATURAL at soldering:
The only time that she needed my help at all was when she added the hanger to the ornament: I held the wire to the top of the ornament so that Will could still hold both the solder and the soldering iron.
Here is Will's finished ornament:
Isn't it beautiful? I've got four others, all taped and ready, so perhaps she'll have done the whole set by Christmas!
Actually, however, as soon as she was done with this one, she asked about creating her own design next.
A postage stamp pendant, then, perhaps?
P.S. I used this book back when I was learning to solder, and I still have it. Ooh--I should show it to Will!