Back to basics: Soldering 101

Cover photograph by Vishnu Mohanan.

Soldering opens a world of possibilities. Not only is it educational for children and beginners, but it can unleash your creativity as you bring new and nifty creations to life. But exciting as soldering is, it can also be rather daunting for some people: what exactly do you need to get started? And how does it all work? If you’ve been asking yourself these questions, have no fear. We’re here to cover the basics of soldering so you can start making and creating!


5 things you need to start soldering

  1. Soldering iron or soldering station: one of the most important tools to have before you start learning to solder. This allows you to heat the metal and melt the solder.
  1. Solder: the metal that makes all the magic happen! It’s typically made up of a blend of tin and lead and is rather pliable.
  1. Wire cutters: to cut off the perfect amount of solder for each project. Thus, you avoid working with awkward, long pieces of solder that can get in the way.
  1. Damp sponge or brass wire brush: a quick and easy way to keep the tip of the soldering iron clean before use.
  1. Safety equipment: an absolute must. Goggles and gloves can help you avoid nasty burns. You can also consider wearing a protective mask to help avoid breathing in any fumes.

Remember: there are many additional items you can add over time, like a solder wick (which helps remove solder when you’ve made mistakes), a magnifying glass stand (if you’re working with particularly small components).

How to start soldering

  1. Ensure that all your surfaces and components are entirely clean.
  1. Turn on your soldering iron, and wait until it’s hot enough to melt the solder.  
  1. Heat the solder until it melts, being careful that it melts exactly where you need it to be: the joint between the metal pieces you’re wanting to join.
  1. Allow the solder to cool down completely so that it can form a strong bond between the metal pieces.

Top tip: if you have no experience with soldering, it might be a great idea to first test and experiment on scrap pieces of metal.

Remember: soldering irons become extremely hot, and can emit fumes when melting solder. Thus the process is dangerous for beginners and children. Be very cautious whenever you solder, and be sure to keep a close eye on children. Always solder in a well-ventilated room, pack away your soldering iron after each use and be sure to keep your station clean.

Learn To Solder Kits is a great way to start your soldering journey, explore our kits and get started today! Do you have any questions about learning to solder? We’d love to hear from you! Drop us an email by clicking here.