Had time to play and design a wire work bangle with sparkly crystals

Beads Direct have a sale at the moment. I got a couple of the Wire Writing Home Decor Kits from Linda Jones. Had some time for a play last night and designed this bangle. I thought that the aluminium craft wire might be too soft for a bangle but using the whammer hammer and a mandrel worked really well to work harden the frame. The weaving then further stabilised it .. et voila .. a nice sturdy bangle.

Wire bangle

From the kits I used:

  • 2.1mm pink coated aluminium wire for the frame
  • Approx 3m each of 0.5mm copper wire in natural copper and bright pink colour coated
  • Approx 38 of the 6mm crystals in amethyst colour

Equipment used:

  • A wooden bangle mandrel for shaping
  • The whammer hammer for work hardening
  • Wire cutters, round and chain nosed pliers

Brief instructions – how to make it:

I hope to start writing up full tutorials for some of my pieces – just getting to grips with my drawing software so that I can add diagrams for you. Hopefully these instructions will give you enough description on how to make it – especially for those of you that have done a little wire work before.

  1. Shape the frame wire on a mandrel, wrapping twice around, and checking the size to ensure that it will pass over your wrist. When happy with the size, trim the wires leaving enough on the ends to create the curls.
  2. Whammer the frame on the mandrel using the nylon head on the whammer hammer. Just gentle repeated tapping is enough. Whammer the curls too. Keep checking the size and make any slight adjustments if you need.
  3. Starting at the bangle front anchor your wires, pink and copper, onto the frame and add beads across the 2 channels – to hold the spacing. Double check the size at this stage as the bracelet size then becomes fixed. Next you will work around the bangle on 2 frame wires, wrapping and adding beads as you go in an anticlockwise direction around the bangle. You will want to end up with 1 wire on the right hand and one on the left of the double wire – holding the bangle with frame wires running vertically . Sorry a bit tricky to explain – this is where I would like to add diagrams – I will get there soon.
  4. Next make 6 coil wraps on the right hand wire and 6 on the left.
  5. Then add a bead passing both wires through the bead to anchor. Tip: it is best to add the bead to the pink wire first, then pass the copper one through. If you try and pass the pink one through the bead with the other wire already in the hole, the edges of the crystal bead can drag and strip off the coloured coating on your pink wire.
  6. Repeat making 6 coil wraps and adding a bead right around the bangle frame. Tip: try to be consistent with the direction of coil wraps and position of the wires through the beads – it makes a neater finish and helps you to get into a rhythm while wrapping. I wrapped by passing wires over the outside of the frame and through the middle. When adding a bead I kept the wires over and in front of the frame, passed though the bead, then passed them through and to the back of the frame before continuing the coil wrap. That way for each bead added the entering wires sat in front and the emerging wires sat behind the frame.

Tip: Gently tease out any kinks in the wrapping wires as you go. Don’t try and use too long a length of wrapping wire, use 1m to 1.5m (max) at a time – it can become a tangled mess and does work harden as you go and becomes difficult to wrap. Make joins in the coil wrapped sections – end with 3 coils, and the join new wire for the next 3 – trim close and press in wire tips with chain nosed pliers so that they won’t catch on clothing.

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