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Saturday, December 8, 2012

Wire wrapped flower

Wire wrapping is a fun and easy way to create your own focal. In this case I am starting with some acrylic drops and a decorative brass ring. For wrapping I chose 22 gauge round dead soft silver filled wire. You of course can do this with any wire and even make your own ring from heavy wire. Depending on the size of the components you may need up to 3 feet of wire. This 15 mm ring required about 2 feet.

The first step is to wrap the wire through and around the ring tightly 3 times. Next string on a bead and place it in the correct orientation with the tip on the edge of the ring. If you are using a round or faceted bead it can be on top of the ring or at the edge. Its up to you..after all you are the designer.

Continue wrapping and adding beads.

When you have loaded all the beads you can fit its time to stabilize the form. I chose to alternate wrapping around the base of each bead..over one wrap around and behind the next giving an alternating weave of one-two-one

When you have finished this step you may need to tighten the final wraps by pushing down toward the ring and finish off the ends by tucking in the ends around the ring.

This is almost ready to add to whatever project you have in mind. I have yet to go around and push in the last wraps..it could be added to a pin or backed with a filigree...the possibilities are endless. Give wire wrapping a try, its easy and uses very little material. I spent about 20 minutes doing this...it was my first time working with long drops..doing this with round beads goes much faster. Finer wrapping wire will work as well and colored craft wire that matches or contrasts with the other elements can give a great look.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Simple ring in silver filled bronze

Rings are fun to create. Flat sheet metal is a great material to begin with. I also work in PMC and have this marking tool or template. Place it on the metal and using a sharp pointed tool like a carbide scribe, mark the metal by following the cutout.

With the metal marked its time to select the correct blade for cutting the metal. Fine blades with 3 teeth per thickness of metal will cut quickly and not catch. Using a magnifier hold the blade to the edge of the metal and if you have 3 or more teeth on the edge use that blade. I also use cutting lube to make it cut faster. Remember to hold the metal flat on the bench pin or table edge and keep the saw frame and blade vertical.

Here is the cut out piece with all my flaws..I didn't follow the line perfectly . Too much enthusiasm...take your time so you have less fixing to do.

A medium cut file will straighten the edges. I also used a rotary sander...anything to get the shape close to the marked line.

Here you can see both sides of the metal..this is duplex metal, silver filled jewelers bronze or Nugold. A thin layer is bonded to the thicker bronze. I like the design possibilities of two colors and the savings over sterling. I chose to put the sterling on the inside of the ring.

Using a cuff bender pliers I put a smooth curve into the piece.

Depending on the radius of the jaw you may get this shape or tighter.

With ring benders I fully curved the shank until it touched.

After some contemplation and a cup of coffee I decided to make an overlapping ring like a bow. Yes I plan as I go..I am so used to having only a general direction at first and go with the flow in design..I draw a lot in the middle stages or in the case of this just fiddling with the metal this idea popped into my head.

I used a fiber cutting wheel to cut into both sides less than half way. Grasping the ends of the blank with parallel jaw pliers I manipulated the form into overlapping.

At this point I realised I should have finished the metal before finally connecting the ends...hindsight is clear..I would recommend you
 finish the metal while flat and clean up any flaws after. Personally I am bored with mirror smooth glossy metal finishes. I like a smooth hand finished look and to achieve this used a pumice/rubber wheel on a flex shaft to smooth and texture the metal. Next a brass brush was applied and then a small buff with bobbing compound. Finally using 1200 grit wet or dry sanding pads I smoothed and refined the surface to look like something weathered but loved.
With the silver inside..no green fingers

And finally the finished piece. This is size 7. You can customize the size before making by using a piece of paper the exact shape of the shank. Wrap it around the mandrel and mark it where the desired size is and after cutting center the paper on the blank and mark the location of the slots