DIYU: Jewelry Making with Reclaimed Wire

Let's love on Doreen Kulich today, she's joining us with a very simpleproject. We're transforming some old electrical wire into a sleek and stylish bracelet. 
Her designs at Half Moon Road evolve from experimentation. Isn't that the best type of creating? She is happiest when trying a new technique, using a new tool, or trying to figure out the "what ifs" of making... and that my friends, is what DIYU is all about. 
This bracelet uses recycled copper electrical wire. It’s very easy to make, nothing more than bending and wrapping wire. There’s a ton of potential underneath that plastic coated wire hanging on the garage wall! 
You'll need: 
  • electrical wire 
  • knife 
  • hammer 
  • needle nose pliers 
  • old pipe (or baseball bat, fence post, metal flashlight)
1. Gather 2 pieces of electrical wire, one thin and one thick. The thick piece should be at least as thick as a piece of spaghetti. Tip: The thickness (or gauge) of the bracelet is important because copper is a soft metal and if it’s too thin, it’ll get banged up easily and loose its shape. The thin piece is mostly ornamental. It should be thin enough to wrap around the thick wire.
2. Slice the plastic covering off the wire. Lay the wire on a flat surface. Using a sharp knife, slice about an inch from the far end pushing away from you…like peeling a cucumber.
3. Peel the plastic from the wire.
4. The length of the thick wire I’m using is approx. 10 inches, but you can certainly use longer pieces for a slightly different look. The thin wire can be any length from 4-5 inches long. To cut wire, use a pair of needle nose pliers; most of them have a cutting adapter at the base of the “nose”.  
5. Shape the thick piece of wire into a circle by wrapping around a solid object the approx. size of the bangle you need with about an inch overlap on each side. I’m using an old pipe. I’ve also used a baseball bat, a metal fence post, and an old metal flashlight to shape the bracelet. It needs to be solid because the next step is….
6. Hammer the bracelet. Copper is soft and becomes firm (hardened) by bending or hammering. I use a rawhide mallet which basically means I can whack the heck out of it without it marking the copper. If you use a metal hammer gently tap the wire around the outside edge completely, going around at least twice. Hammering is like “starch” for metal.  This will help the wire retain its shape.
7.  Wrap the thin wire around the bracelet, starting in the middle where the two ends overlap. Bend the thin wire in half. 
Insert one piece of wire between the bracelet wires at the middle of the overlap. The thin wire should make a “V” with one of the thick wires sitting in the bottom of the “V”. 
Wrap one wire towards you going around and around both thick wires. Wrap the other side away from you the same way.
8. Hammer the very ends of the overlapped thick wire. Pull them gently in opposite directions and place the end on a metal surface. Hammer the tips flat. This keeps the “wrapped” wire from “walking” around the bracelet. It also adds to the design.
9. You’re done! Tip: If you want to keep your bracelet shiny you can use lemon juice or vinegar on a cotton ball. The acid cleans the oxidation. Heck, you can even use ketchup…but who wants to smell like a hamburger all day? 
How many of you make your own jewelry or accessories? What are your favorite types of projects to tackle- tell us in the comments below!


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