handy flux
handy flux

How is Flux Used in Jewelry Making?

Jewelers use flux during soldering to prevent oxidation and help the solder flow. Learn about different types of flux and which products work best.

1 Minute Read

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Flux is a soldering compound that keeps the soldering joints clean by blocking oxygen, which causes oxidation. Flux cleans, coats, and protects the piece and enables the solder to flow easily between the joints when heated. We'll discuss these uses and share some product recommendations.

Coating Flux

After pickling the item, coat/dip it first in a boric acid flux that protects the entire piece from oxidation and fire scale (heavy oxidation that forms on the jewelry from copper in the metal). Fire scale is very difficult to remove.

60% boric acid and 40% denatured alcohol yields an excellent and inexpensive flux. Add the boric acid to the alcohol until it stops dissolving and forms a thin paste. Dip the entire item into the solution, then dry it with gentle heat from your torch. Do this three or four times before soldering.

You can find boric acid and denatured alcohol at your grocery store or online.

Flow Flux

Now, you need a flux at the solder joint to help melt the solder without oxidation. This is called flow flux. Batterns and Handy Flux are the top choices. You can also use boric acid and water.

  • Batterns Self-Pickling Flux is used for hard soldering (solder that melts at a high temperature) of gold, silver, and platinum. It can be diluted with distilled water if it's too thick. Don't be fooled by the name. You'll still need to pickle the item before soldering. You can buy this from Amazon in 1, 3, 8, 16, and 128 oz jars.
batterns flux
Batterns Flux
  • Handy Flux is used for easy and medium soldering (solder that melts at a lower temperature) of gold and silver. It can also be diluted with distilled water if it's too thick. You can buy this from Amazon in 7 oz, 1/2 lb, and 1 lb jars.
handy flux
Handy Flux
  • Borax and water has been used by jewelers for years. While cheap, it also leaves a glassy, tough-to-remove coating on jewelry. You can purchase borax in the detergent aisle at your grocery store.

Use enough flux to protect the joints from oxidation, but not so much that it prevents the solder from flowing. Flux will bubble when the torch first touches it, and too much flux will create a lot of bubbles. The bubbling may cause your solder piece to shift, so preheat the flux a bit and then add the solder piece.

Flux dries out easily. Keep enough in a small vial to complete the job. Store the rest in an airtight container.

Jewelry Pickle Pot Kit Recommendations

PhotoNameTop Reviews on Amazon
Harris SSWF1/4 Stay...image Harris SSWF1/4 Stay Silv Brazing Flux

"This is the only flux I use for silver soldering. Before using this, I could never get the solder to stick. I had tried several other fluxes thinking flux is flux. Clearly I was wrong. You have to use the proper flux for the type of solder and the type of metals you are working with. This is made for high sterling silver content solder, and for that purpose it works great. Always be sure to read the label on your silver and your flux to be sure you've got compatible products. Other than that if you start with really clean metal, apply a generous coat of flux, and use the right solder, the rest is just practice to know when you have the part hot enough without overheating. Not enough heat the solder won't melt. Too much and it will run off without "sticking" to the joint. This flux made all the difference for me. Went from never being able to get the solder to flow into the joint and stick, to having success 99% of the time.read more

Aquiflux Self Pickling...image Aquiflux Self Pickling Flux for Precious Metals

"This product is absolutely fantastic! I did a light mist over the sterling silver jelwery piece i am making before soldering my next jump ring. Aquiflux helped keep the piece from turning black from the heat and after a quick dip in distilled water to cool it even the jump ring I was soldering did not need to soak in the pickle to get clean. Great time saving product!!read more

LA-CO 22101 Regular...image LA-CO 22101 Regular Soldering Flux Paste

"I am torch soldering copper jewelry with safety silv 45, I tried two types of fluxes before I found this one, one was 10+ years old and no good, the other was extremely overpriced from the jewelry making section of a craft store and gave the same results. I thought I was doing something wrong, until I tried this one. This works perfectly, and I can't believe how cheap it is. I was shocked that it worked, because I read somewhere on here that it wasn't for silver, but it worked just fine with my silver solder on copper. It makes the metal flow right into place. Be sure to wash it off of any copper it comes into contact with when you are done. I made the mistake of getting it on one of my copper bracelets as I was working and didn't notice untill hours later, now it needs a good cleaning and polishing"read more

STA-BRITE SBSK Silver...image STA-BRITE SBSK Silver Solder

"I just recently started working with a solder iron to use on my jewelry, but so far it is pretty easy and this solder and flux is working very well. I am working with silver, silver plate and some base metals and this works great on all of them. I seem to be going through the solder fairly quick so I'll have to order some more soon, but I was surprised at how easy it is. I was so afraid to try this and finally had a friend give me a few pointers and now I'm confident enough to keep experimenting. This particular solder seems more suited toward jewelry making and it looks nice and shiny when I'm done fiddling with it. Some solder is dull, but this one looks much nicer, kind of like real silver. It's also easy to reheat and move around if it comes out a bit too bumpy the first time you apply it. As I get better, I'll post some images of my jewelry." read more

Harris SSBF1 Stay...image Harris SSBF1 Stay Silv Brazing Flux

"I read about StaySilv and that it was supposed to be a superior flux. I finally bought it and can attest that it's awesome flux for soldering sterling silver! It doesn't take much and the solder flows fast, easy, and clean. Be aware that it is a very dark brown color and there's a bit of an adjustment because it can be difficult to see through it, but once you get used to it it's easy to see the stages as it heats up and when the solder will flow. It's a creamy sort of texture vs. the somewhat crystallized texture of HandiFlux and doesn't dry out like HandiFlux. I'm so glad I made the change!read more

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Megan Coward, Graduate Jeweler Gemologist, GIA, Graduate Gemologist

Megan Coward is a graduate of the GIA with Graduate Jeweler Gemologist and Graduate Gemologist accreditations. She has 20+ years in the retail jewelry industry in various roles including as a diamond buyer and gemstone appraiser.

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