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Tutorial – Brass Wire Bangle

Brass Wire Bangle DIY

You will need:

-Thick brass wire, minimum of 1.2mm to 1.5mm
-Thin brass wire, 0.4mm to 0.6mm
-Household wire cutters
-Chainnose pliers
-Nail File

Brass Wire Bangle DIY

How to:

1.Cut 40cm of the thicker wire. Bend in half and use something like a Sharpie pen or similar at this mid-way point to create a smooth curved teardrop shape.

Brass Wire Bangle DIY

2.Take the chainnose pliers and grip one side of the wire just below the point where the two wires cross and bend it straight up.

Brass Wire Bangle DIY

3.Repeat on the other side

Brass Wire Bangle DIY

4.Cut a short (20cm approx) length of the thinner wire. Create a right angle bend about 1cm from one end. Hold this short end along the length of the thicker wire and begin tightly wrapping around the bangle, moving towards your hand.

Brass Wire Bangle DIY

5.Wrap about 5 times before tucking the end under the wrapped section, pulling tightly and cutting off the excess. Use youe pliers to make sure there are no sharp ends poking out

Brass Wire Bangle DIY

6.Use a cylindrical object (I’m using my craft storage stacker!) that is slightly smaller than your wrist to form the shape of the bracelet.

Brass Wire Bangle DIY

7. Measure the bangle around your wrist allowing an extra 1.5cm to create the hook. Cut off any excess wire (use household pliers on thicker wire so not to dent your nice jewellery pliers!). Use another piece of thinner wire to create another wrapped section approx halfway around the bangle.

Brass Wire Bangle DIY

8. Use the chainnose pliers to bend the end of the bangle back on themselves, creating the hook. You might want to use a nail file to smooth the ends.

Brass Wire Bangle DIY

9. Create a final wrapped section just before the hook. Adjust the bangle to fit.

Brass Wire Bangle DIY

Let me know if you use this tutorial to make your bangle, by commenting with a link or message me on TwitterInstagram or Facebook! Happy Making!

 

Sunday Chemistry Class

Sunday Chemistry Class
Brass wire test L-R Oxy powder, Vinegar  Raw brass

I am, as my Dad constantly reminds me, a bit strange. Therefore experimenting with various household chemicals to see what patinates raw brass should come as no surprise. I regularly use liver of sulphur to patinate sterling silver. Its a quick, inexpensive product available from many jewellery making suppliers that creates a blackened effect on the surface of the metal, which can then be buffed and polished to leave only the recessed or engraved areas black. But this doesn’t work on brass. With the rising costs of precious metals I started looking to the other ‘base’ metals as alternatives.

Copper can turn the skin green so I discounted that, but brass is having something of a revival. Companies like Vintaj and Trinity Brass Co have been producing solid brass stampings and findings, many using vintage presses, for use as jewellery components. Their pieces come ready finished, with a nice antiqued patina, whereas raw brass looks, well, brassy. It needs a bit of ‘knocking back’.

First I tried heating it. This did indeed dull the shiny surface, even creating some lovely colours, bit the effect wasn’t very strong or evenly distributed. So I tried good old liver of sulphur. It might smell like rotten eggs, but its works a treat on silver, but alas, not on brass. Again, it did something, but created more of a reddish tinge.

So I got to thinking about other chemicals that affect brass, and what I already had in various products around the house. Someone suggested anything acidic might work, so I put a generous glug of malt vinegar in some hot water with a piece of brass wire. As brass door handles tarnish in the air, I also tried a scoop of oxygenating stain remover, the type you add to the washing powder. Again added to about 150ml of hot water with a bit of wire. Nothing happened instantly with either, unlike with silver in liver of sulphur, so I left them overnight. And in the morning? The vinegar wasn’t as even or as deep an effect as I was looking for, but it left an antiqued, weathered patina, that would be more suited to finishing a piece where you wanted a more subtle vintage look. But oxygenating stain removal powder works beautifully! It created a black effect on the surface, that is even but does come off easily, so does need either lacquering or a finishing wax like Renaissance Wax.

I decided to have another go, this time with a concentrated paste of about a teaspoon of hot water with a scoop of powder. This worked much quicker, reckon I got a good depth of patina after an hour or so. If you are using metal stamping and want to keep a black effect in the indented letters but have a shinier surface, this is the way to go. Just polish it up afterwards with Brasso.

Result after 1hr in Oxy Powder paste
After a quick polish with Brasso

Who needs to buy chemicals when they are already in your cupboards, eh?!