Thursday, December 23, 2010

Make a Beaded Bracelet with Copper Pipe & Wire

Before: Copper Pipe
We've demonstrated use of copper pipe before. We made copper pipe into a bangle bracelet and we made copper pipe into a neck-ring. With a 25-foot coil, we still have a lot of copper pipe left.  This project turns the copper pip into beads for use in a link bracelet.

Copper Pipe
16-gauge copper wire

Jewelry Saw & blades
220-grit wet/dry sandpaper
Wire wrapping tools
Wire Rounder , needle files or cup burr and flex shaft
Tumbler and stainless steel shot
Renaissance Micro-Crystalline Wax Polish

Step 1
Measure the copper pipe and mark where you plan to cut. We made the copper beads about 1/2 inch long.

Step 2
Straighten the pipe. It is easier to cut a straight line and make the same size beads if the copper pipe is straight.

Step 3
Use a jewelry saw to cut the pipe into beads. The number of beads you need will depend on the size bracelet you are making.

Step 4
Use 220-grit wet/dry sandpaper to sand the edges of the pipe very smooth.

Step 5
Slide the copper bead onto 16-gauge round copper wire. Bend the wire to create a "U" shaped link. We used a WigJig to be sure the links were all the same. You can make your own jewelry jig using scrap wood and nails or you can form the links by had using simple wire wrapping tools. Sand the edges of the copper wire using a wire rounder, needle files or a cup burr and a flex shaft or rotary tool.

Step 6
Assemble the links.

Step 7
Make the clasp and attach the clasp to the bracelet.

Step 8
Tumble the bracelet in stainless steel shot to harden the wire and burnish the copper beads. Take care when you remove the bracelet from the tumbler as some of the stainless steel shot may hide inside the beads.

Bracelet on Cookie Sheet After Baking
Step 9
Add color. We placed the completed copper bracelet onto a paper towel on a cookie sheet and put the bracelet in the oven at 475 degrees Farenheit for five minutes and the copper wire turned a lovely red and the copper beads developed a really nice iridescent sheen.

Step 10
Coat the bracelet with Renaissance Wax to protect the patina.

After: Bracelet by
Related Tutorials
Make a Bangle Bracelet from a Copper Pipe
Make a Neck-Ring from Copper Pipe
How to Use a Jewelry Saw
How to Use a File for Jewelry Making
How to Use Sand Paper
How to Use the WigJig 
How to Make Your Own Jewelry Jig
How to Make a Copper Bead
How to Clean Contaminated Steel Shot
How to Protect Your Patina
Tutorials by

Further Reading
"Complete Metalsmith: Professional Edition"; Tim McCreight; 2004.
"The Complete Metalsmith: An Illustrated Handbook"; Tim McCreight; 1991.
"Jewelry: Fundamentals of Metalsmithing (Jewelry Crafts)"; Tim McCreight; 2004.

Day 33. Week 5. Month 2. Jewelry from Found Objects.  $ spent: 0
Found materials: copper pipe, copper wire
New Jewelry a Day. 

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