Saturday, December 20, 2014

How to make a copper bangle

by MaryAnn Carroll

Like many of you, I am a little crazy busy.  I have found some time to create some copper bangles, however, and consequently they became a little addicting AND a way to avoid everything else that I should have been doing to be a little more efficient. I thought that since I haven't posted in quite some time, I would start off by sharing a tutorial. Next week, I will have some of these to offer in a a giveaway, so stop back.

How to make a basic hammered copper bangle (picture tutorial)

If I were the super organized type, I would have a list of materials 

but I am not, so I will do my best with letting you know what you need. Personally, I like to look at pictures, so that is what I am mostly providing.

Fire is you friend when it comes to making bangles and I like it hot!!!

Materials that you see here: 

Mapp Gas, copper solder, dremel, firing rack (not sure it that is the technical name) and 6 gauge copper wire (right from Lowes)

heavy duty wire cutters (Weiss)

 pickle (1 cup vinegar to 1 tbsp salt), a crock pot (one you will never use again in the kitchen, a ceramic bowl, water, baking soda for the water, plastic tongs,

I have been too cheap (and broke) to invest in a bracelet mandrel. An old baseball bat or, in this case, a maple leg from an old table works great!  They may not hold up as well, but, hell, I have four of them!!

This is fire brick (below). As you can see it has been used multiple times. I would recommend investing in some bricks, so that you don't burn the house down. 

That brings us to.....

STEP 1: Cut a piece of 6 gauge copper wire to approximately 8.5 inches (bigger or smaller depending on your hand size). I cut a little big just in case I make some mistakes and need to trim more than I planned for. Heat the copper to make it pliable. (you can use water for fast cooling if you choose to).


STEP 2: Using a chasing hammer (another material), hammer the wire until you get it flattened. I then use the flip side of the wire for the exterior of the bangle. This part takes some twisting and turning AND a little patience.

STEP 3: File, using you dremel until you get both ends of the wire to meet with as little space in between as possible.

STEP 4: Put the two ends together and place on your firing rack. Place the LONG piece of copper solder behind the connection. This part takes lots of practice and I could not take pictures while I was doing this since my right hand was being used to heat the front of the copper.

The joint isn't perfect, but with a little sanding and possibly a little more solder it will look fine.

STEP 5: Add to pickling solution (heat crock pot until hot.... I would give degrees here, but I have no clue what low is on the crock pot that I have.

 This is a picture AFTER it comes out of the pickling solution.

STEP 6: Using a wooden or rubber mallet, carefully hammer your bangle until you have reached complete roundness (or close to it)!!

There you have it!

 I also add patinas, sometimes textures and usually tumble them for extra strength and shine. Only two of these have patina added.

Stop back next Friday to enter to win a bangle or two!


1 comment:

Laura Strack said...

Darling bangles!! Thanks for the tutorial.

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