Tuesday, February 2, 2010
Wire didn't I think of this before?!!
Wire wrapping is definitely a beneficial skill to learn when your into beading - inevitably you will find yourself interested in all aspects jewelry. Trust me when I say this - when you become a beader you become an artist, a designer, a JEWELER.
I have recently been experimenting with my wire skills - I have been improving on them for ages but my Magnolia House line is 100% one of a kind pieces and you can't continue that with no experimentation and challenging yourself! I have been SERIOUSLY inspired by the work of an artist that frequents Interweave's "Beading Daily" forums, Popnicute. Her deviant art site and artfire storefront are CHALK full of innovative wire work and unique designs. All things said I have been diving in head first. Wire? Yes please!
One of the coolest things I found is that my little butane torch will melt those copper ends to make headpins, etc NO problem! Nicer yet is that copper, when melted and cooled in water makes this nice rosy color. SWEET! So, with no further ado...here are my tips...
1) I am using 22 gauge wire here - cut a length of wire - be sure that it is not exceptionally short - you DO need length here...the longer the wire, interestingly enough, the easier it is to melt!
2) Hold the far end of the wire with your pliers - as far away from the end you are melting that you can comfortably.
3) Okay, now a lesson on the torch flame - the hottest point of the flame is right outside the tip of the innermost blue.
So, I know this pic is blurry - now...you gotta give me some leeway here, its hard to take a pic of a flame! Anyway...notice the brighter blue and the faded blue? The hottest point is right past the brighter blue of the flame.
4) In trying to get a picture of this step I realized that I would have to have 3 hands - unfortunately I was only born with two - so we will have to rely on my stellar skills of explanation - don't panic. While griping the pliers with the wire pointing down (as pictured in my plier picture) insert the tip of the wire into the flame at the hottest point. Hold the wire there while it heats - it WILL glow - keep holding on...and all the sudden you will see a little ball of molten copper ball up at the end. Now you have a choice, you can let it ball up just a little or a whole lot - once you think you have about the size you want, you....
5) Quench that sucker!!!! Drop the wire into a bowl of water - it will sizzle and you will see some ick kinda pop off the wire - I'll be honest, I am not sure what EXACTLY that stuff is, we can suppose but what does it REALLY matter?
Do you know what you are left with??? A really cool headpin you made YOURSELF! And as I said before, the balled end will have a really cool rosy hue to it. Awesome, huh?
Okay so I know you are TOTALLY running to your work bench to give this a try! But a couple things - be sure to do this in a safe environment - when working with molten metal and open flame you must always take precautions - INCLUDING those geeky safety glasses...I am serious here. No one wants a headpin and no eyeballs.
Love you all and STAY INSPIRED and INSPIRE OTHERS!