I make tiny silver foliage a lot. And I thought that it might be nice to show you how many steps it takes to create one of these dainty little leaves.
Most of my smaller leaves start out as round wire. I hammer it flat and saw out the leaf from the flattened wire. I prefer this method over cutting the leaf out of flat sheet silver because the hammered wire is not the exact same thickness all the way across. The varied thickness tends to give the finished leaf a more realistic and organic look.
The next step is to file the shape. I use a sanding disc on the flex shaft to refine, and after that, a small hand file to refine it a bit more and round off the edges. Final sanding comes later.
After the shape is perfected, it is time to chase in the veins. I made a mark-making tool, by filing and rounding an old steel screwdriver. I use this to hammer the lines.
Now it looks like a leaf! But it still isn't finished. If I am going to solder it on a ring (these tiny ones usually go on rings,) I want to curve the leaf slightly so that it hugs the ring band. I use this dapping block (below) to accomplish that.
Then I solder it onto the ring.
After pickling (an acidic solution that removes flux scale and oxidation,)
it is ready to patina, sand and polish!