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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

A simple twist on earrings

The raw material for this pair of earrings is 1 foot of 10 gauge square dead soft wire. I use this source http://www.wire-sculpture.com/square-copper-wire/10_Gauge_Square_Dead_Soft_Copper_Wire_10ft-5953-899.html

Using a battery powered drill and a vise..Insert the wire into the drill chuck and tighten it then clamp the free end into the vise and slowly spin the wire with the drill. A few seconds will result in this nicely twisted stock. Since twisting will harden the wire you may want to anneal it with your torch and this will change the color of the copper as well. I cut two equal length pieces and smoothed the ends with a grinding wheel. One safety note. Copper transfers heat instantly. I have a burn on my index finger from the metal friction heating while it was being ground. Its best to wear gloves or use a pair of pliers.

Simply rotating the wire against the spinning grinding wheel gives a rounded end that can be further smoothed with a file or sandpaper.

After annealing ( heating to dull red in a flame) the wires have softened enough to easily pound a flat on one end I used a riveting tool to punch a hole in the flat. Copper never stays bright even under lacquer it will quickly change to its dark brown state. I prefer to help it along with a 20 minute bath in concentrated liver of sulfur. Put 4 drops of http://www.bsueboutiques.com/item/Patina-Gel-Liver-of-Sulfur-5768 into 1/4 cup hot water and let the copper sit in that for 20 minutes. The result is a beautiful deep purplish brown.

Here the wires are propped on a piece of  untw isted wire after annealing but before the patina. I sanded the edges of the ridges with 600 grit paper to put a lighter element in the color and then sprayed with lacquer.

Adding a pair of copper hooks and oval jump rings from bsueboutiques completes this simple project. The twisted wires could be colored with alcohol inks or any of the other patina methods to give you a color that you enjoy. Feel free to copy,  adapt, reproduce, and share any of the techniques you see here. This is a free share zone.Enjoy and be creative.

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