Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Make a Bib Necklace from Washers

Before: Box of Copper Washers
A box of washers and some wire from the hardware store are great sources of relatively inexpensive jewelry making materials. We have a lot of washers around our studio as we often use them when we teach stamping and other jewelry making classes. We also use a lot of copper and brass wire as "practice" wire in our wire wrapping classes.

As far as I am concerned, playing with the washers and arranging them into different designs is half the fun. Schools are out and my daughter and I spent a whole day in the studio just playing. We arranged different sized washers, made different style links and used different gauge wire to make the links before we arrived on a design that we liked. We held up different materials to decide if we wanted our necklace to be all copper, two-tone or even three-tone by adding brass or sterling silver (or both). So many choices! So many roads left to explore at a later date!

We both decided we wanted an all copper necklace and we wanted it to be shiny.

After: Copper Bib Necklace by GeltDesigns
18-gauge copper wire
25 5/16-inch copper washers
9 7/16-inch copper washers

Doming block and dapping punches
Round nose pliers  or 3-Step wire looping pliers
Chain nose or bent nose pliers
Wire rounder or needle file
Wire side cutters or flush cutters

Step 1
Select the washers and arrange the washers into the design you like.

Step 2
Select the wire you want to use and decide the type of link you want. We tried "S" links and "B" links. We also tried using 18-gauge and 16-gauge wire before deciding on our design.

Step 3
Form the washers using the doming block and daps. Forming the washers gives them more deapth and dimension. Hammering the metal also work hardens the washers.

Step 4
Make the clasp. We made a hook style clasp and used the last washer as the eye.

Step 5
Make the links and begin linking the formed washers. We originally began using "B" links because we liked the clean look, but we found the "B" links more difficult to use so we removed them and used "S" links instead.

We found it easier to link rows of washers first and then link the rows together. We also found it easiest to begin at the bottom of the necklace and work up rather than the reverse.

Step 6
After linking rows, begin linking each row together on the outside of the pyramid. Then link the interior washers.

Stop and check to wee hoe the necklace hangs from time to time as you work to be sure all the washers have been attached on the correct side and in the correct pattern.

Continue linking the washers until the necklace is complete and then add the clasp.

Step 7
Check the necklace for spots that are still sharp (we may have missed sanding certain spots on the washers or wire ends when fabricating each piece). Sand or file as needed to remove remaining rough edges.

Step 8
Tumble the necklace in a tumbler using stainless steel shot, water and a drop or two of dishwasher detergent.

Related Tutorials
How to Dome Metal
Make Your Own Hook & Eye Clasp

Copper Bib Necklace by GeltDesigns
How to Make a Simple "S" Clasp (with or without Beads)
Make Your Own "S" Clasp
Make Your Own "S" Chain

How to Use Metal Stamps

Further Reading
"Contemporary Copper Jewelry: Step-by-Step Techniques and Projects"; Sharilyn Miller; 2009.
"Copper Art Jewelry: A Different Luster";  Matthew L. Burkholz, Linda Lichtenberg Kaplan.
"Mixed Metals: Creating Contemporary Jewelry with Silver, Gold, Copper, Brass, and More"; Danielle Fox, Melinda Barta; 2009.
"Weave, Wrap, Coil: Creating Artisan Wire Jewelry"; Jodi Bombardier; 2010.

Day 31. Week 5. Month 2. Jewelry from Found Objects.  $ spent: 0
Found materials: hardware, copper washers, copper wire
New Jewelry a Day.  

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