Introduction: Flatware Jewelry

Picture of Flatware Jewelry
It's really simple to make some fairly nifty jewelry out of what you've already got sitting around. For this bracelet I chose a stainless fork with some long tines and a bit of character, and then gave it a bit more. I like stainless steel because it's durable and polishes well. You can make it a bit easier to manipulate by annealing it, but I decided not to since I don't have the setup to temper it back up again. You just need to be a bit more stubborn than your materials and a bit smarter than your tools, and it should work fine ;)

  • hammer
  • vise
  • pliers
  • drill
  • Dremel tool with:
    • fine sanding disk
    • small dia high speed cutting bur
    • polishing wheel

Step 1: Get Amongst It

Picture of Get Amongst It

Begin by flattening out your chosen fork with a hammer. Next, pull the middle two tines up to make it easier to cross the outside tines behind them. Do one outside tine and then roll the tip around before crossing the other side over and rolling it. When finished they should form a heart shape, you can tweak them in the vise a little to bring them closer together. 

Next, we want to bend the inside tines outwards similarly to how we bent the outside ones inwards. Curve them around the outside of the first two, and then put a little outward scroll in the tip of each one for good measure. Now congratulate yourself, the worst is over!

Step 2: Finish It Up

Picture of Finish It Up

I thought the junction between the tines and the handle of the fork was a little plain, and decided to put another heart there. Draw a horizontal line, centerpunch a couple spots and drill them out so that the holes just touch. Use the high speed bur in your Dremel to flush out the bottom of the heart. 

The last step in the formation is to shape it into a bracelet. I used a vaguely arm shaped branch from the firewood stack and bent the fork around it by hand, but a few of the thicker sections needed a good whack from the hammer.

And lastly: polish it up! I made up a couple sanding wheels for the Dremel out of different grades of wet/dry paper with duct tape on the back for support to take the tool nicks out of the tines, then it was on to the polishing wheel. 

Just to show you a different design, the last photo is a commission I did for a friend recently out of 2 forks


JeanieP2 (author)2017-04-18

I can't bend the tines without marring them too much & when I use the blow torch, I can't get all the black off :(

Dee AnnA (author)2015-09-30

To Heraldo;

I love your heart "forklet" and was wondering was the heart already in the fork, or did you drill it out of it? If so, how, like what did you use. THANK YOU to you all. Beautiful work.

lesleyas4 (author)2015-09-28

This is beautiful. I want to make it someday. I have small surgical steel plates that were removed from my wrist. I would love to make a bracelet out of them, but they need to be bent slightly. Could you please tell me how I could bend the played without damaging them? Thanks.

Bella99 (author)2015-08-14

I am really looking forward to trying this out! It looks super cool!!! I have a question though... Does the fork has to be out of nobel metal like... Silver for example...?

ellepatrice (author)2015-08-12


This is beyond cool. Luckily I have a Dremel that has been collecting dust for ten years or so. Just don't invite mer over for dinner, or if you do, keep an eye on your silverware! LOL! Love it.

zchebat (author)2014-02-04

Hi, I was wondering how you bent it without getting pinches in it, I've been practicing with forks you get at the dollar store and they all either have that pinch look or snap... also how do you make it even on both sides, are there measurements? Thank you!

andrew.spencer.2 (author)zchebat2014-02-05

Hi, what sort of pliers are you using? If you take a close look at my pliers in the intro step, you'll see they don't have sharp edges. Bending tines with conventional square edged pliers could likely result in kinked looking tines. Also, the quality of the fork has a lot to do with it. I use the thickest, heaviest forks I can find. Ideally you want the thickness of the tines to be as close to the width of the tines as possible.

To get both sides even, just do one side, then do the other to match it. You can pull measurements off the first side if it helps you, but I just do it by eye. I find it doesn't really matter what you do, as long as you do it consistently ;)

zchebat (author)andrew.spencer.22014-02-05

I ended up using a bunsen burner at school to heat it and bend it and that made it a WHOLE bunch eaisier!... this is a really great project, thank you!

megbugg63 (author)2013-12-30

Can't wait to try this! Some silverware jewelry is kind of boring but yours is absolutely gorgeous! Thank you for sharing.

Jlyn (author)2012-02-17

I've tried this with stainless steel and without annealing it, it is impossible to bend unless you are super strong. Silver plated is a tiny, tiny bit easier and sterling silver is the easiest but still really hard without heating it. Sterling silver is a bit easier but difficult to find and very expensive for one piece. To anneal the silverware you need a firebrick that you can google and buy. Torch it and then quench it. Once you quench it then you need to get the ash coloring off and you need steel wool in the lowest grit to remove it. Then you polish it. But after doing it once, I just can't keep doing it without killing my hands and wrist. Has anyone else had better luck. I love the look of your bracelet. Beautiful!

bobhdus (author)Jlyn2013-09-05

I heat and bend the tines on stainless forks with a small propane torch and they bend very easily. Heat and bend the tines one at a time and use "round nose" pliers to keep the scratches to a minimum. Polish them before hand and then more after for best results...

andrew.spencer.2 (author)Jlyn2012-02-19

Thanks for your post, it's so great to hear from someone who has given it a go! Thanks for sharing your experiences!

themadjeweler (author)2012-01-20

PLEEEEEEAAAASE make an ible for the octopus one! :)

Sorry, but that's the only photo I can find of the octopus one, aside from the original design (you can even spot some differences) . I posted it to inspire people to try different designs using the tools & techniques already laid out in this instructable. Grab some pliers and some forks and give it a try, it's really just an extrapolation of the first one. Good luck :)

bobhdus (author)andrew.spencer.22013-09-04

Thanks for the inspiration!!! I was able to use your drawing and make this with stainless/ copper.

andrew.spencer.2 (author)bobhdus2013-09-05

Hey, really well done! That looks fantastic, I love the subtle color contrast! Keep up the good work

bobhdus (author)andrew.spencer.22013-09-05

Thanks! For those interested, I used a stainless fork and some old copper pipe that I annealed and hammered flat. Then I traced fork outline on copper and cut out with scroll saw. I applied heat with small propane torch to the stainless to bend the tines, then tig welded the copper onto the stainless with silver braze (Harris 15) and bent those tines. Polishing is what took the mist time...

bobhdus (author)2013-08-05

Thanks for the tutorial, I made one yesterday and sold it for $25 within the first hour on my FB Page... I did a search to figure out an easier way to bend the tines as they get pretty messed up and sometimes bend in a direction I didn't want. Thanks for sharing your method!

Pam2 (author)2013-04-09

Andrew thanks for the great tutorial! Our profiles are so similar. I loved this art form when I first saw it and went straight to EBay and ordered a 135 piece lot of silver plate flatware. It is now piled up with the supplies from my last passion. Sorry, onto my question. What is the wooden tool that is shown in the pictures? I made some really great bud vases using a spoon and a knife handle and like most of the posts I am having trouble bending fork tines for other designs that I would like to make. The tool looks like it would really help. What is it? Thanks, Pam

andrew.spencer.2 (author)Pam22013-04-10

Hi Pam, thanks for your thoughts, I'd love to see some of the things you make. In response to your question, I didn't use any wooden tools on this build. I think you may be referring to Heraldo's photos which feature a ring clamp. Although a useful tool for holding very small items, I don't imagine it would be terribly helpful for bending. I can, however, recommend a pair of the round nose pliers you see in his first photo. I've recently treated myself to a 6" pair of them and they are much more versatile than the converted needlenose pliers featured in this instructable. Hope this helps, all the best :)

warpling (author)2013-03-03

I'm getting ready to make this and was wondering how you got the final gold color in the photos?

I've been asked that before actually, and I'm afraid it's just the way the photo turned out due to the warm light I used, the fork is still silver colored. If you want some interesting ideas on how to actually turn it golden, scroll to the beginning of the comment thread. Thanks for looking :)

saosport (author)2013-02-11

Thank you for making this ible it is great! I can't wait to try. Just made my day

Heraldo (author)2012-07-13

Thanks for the great project! I had a lot of fun with it and have attached a few photos of my first completed "FORK-LET". My wife loved the gift and since it was from her Mom's silverware set, it had built in sentimental value instantly...
Thanks again for the well presented Instructable!

andrew.spencer.2 (author)Heraldo2012-07-13

Heraldo, wow! That really looks great, you've done a marvelous job! And I really like the fork you used, way to go!

Heraldo (author)andrew.spencer.22012-07-13

Hey, thanks Spencer! I've got a really good idea for using spoons and I think I will use an Instructable to show what it is and how to do it. I have about twenty or so projects that I need to find some time to write up, however, so don't hold your breath, haha...

Neon Panda (author)2012-06-07

I saw something similar to this on Pintrest. They had done the bending of the prongs but cut the handle off and drilled a hole just above the prongs (the flat bit, before the handle) and attached it to a necklace and was selling them for $30. I wanted to make one but wasn't sure how to go about it.... Thanks!! : D

ncglasslover (author)2012-05-13

thanks for thorough instructions. I have just started researching doing this and so many opinions on whether you can/should do this with stainless steel. I think I am ready to give it a try!! Thanks again.

kathyskrafts (author)2012-04-01

This lady said to use soldering clean up to clean she said to use a old crock pot to keep it in as it disolves metal if left in it and it has to be heated so the crock pot works well http:www//
hope this helps

kissu2 (author)2012-02-05

Simply beautiful !! U are an inspiration !

zomfibame (author)2012-01-20

I've used flatware to make a number of artsy things, but this is really very nice. nice and a very good instructable. Thanks for posting it.

Thanks a lot for your comments, I'd love to see a few of your creations! I used to make really cute mobiles/wind chimes that looked like fish until I nearly lost a finger :( Maybe I'll revise the methods and put one more together for an 'ible

gladdragz (author)2012-01-22

Dear Andrew,

Wow, yours is the easiest instruction ever. Think it would work with sterling? Thank you for sharing.

Thanks for the comments! Yes, I do believe people have had good success using genuine silverware, although it is much harder to find than stainless. Thanks again!

TabbyDeAnne (author)2011-12-29

This is beautiful! Very creative! I think you do great work! Do you sell these? Thanks for sharing.

Thanks for the compliments! I've done the odd commission or two in the past upon request. You should give it a whirl, its easier than you think!

Juleemt (author)2011-10-10

Totally amazing... i have few forks in here and i made a bracelet but its like... a curve fork with no movement or cuteness like yours, love the heart idea!!! Gonna do one this afternoon!! ;D

chicopluma (author)2011-07-11

very good job, i will look for any fork that nobody will miss to try to do something like this

nwzhnd (author)2011-07-03

Frankly I thought this was stunning. No exaggeration. And I could easily see it being wore by a male or female (of course I live on the West Coast so little things like hearts don't bother us lol).

I have a bunch of old silverware around and some Thai cutlery that I think is brass (not sure - bought a box at auction - lovely looking stuff). I wonder if anyone can give me an idea if it would be suitable for this project or if it's too soft?

You've definitely inspired me and I just might have to go on a binge of bracelet making. Might even end up at one of those craft shows if I get busy. Heaven knows I have enough silverware to outfit an army or perhaps a Woodstock Reunion. ;)

halla (author)2011-06-23

amazing , good idea i will finish mine and submit it
thanks lots for sharing this amazing idea
god bless u

Ward_Nox (author)2011-06-21

way nicer looking that some i've seen in the past think i'll look for soem cheap flatware to practice on

janaro (author)2011-06-20

This is very nice work ,thank you

dps john (author)2011-06-16

If you make a set of soft jaw covers for your vice out of copper you will not get marks in the item. this will enable you to tighten up the vice whilst forming and cut down on the amount of polishing you need to do

Thanks for your insight, I'll have to try it! I found most of the scratches came from the pliers, especially the big blue channel-locks you see in step 1. It's a fine line between squeezing too hard and leaving marks, or not squeezing hard enough and having the pliers slip and leave marks

Nyxius (author)andrew.spencer.22011-06-20

my grandpa showed me how to use a wood block attached to the vise to prevent scratching. I used the same idea and put either rubber or cardboard U shaped piece (not corrugated) in the pliers.

Kryptonite (author)2011-06-20

That's just awesome, I love the fact that not only is the end result super neat, it's made from a FORK! Awesome work, 5*

thebluehawk (author)2011-06-12

Pardon my ignorance, but what is it that gives it that golden color in the last photo? Is it just the lighting or did the polishing or some other effect do that?

Hmm, that's a good question. Probably a combination of the lighting and whatever may have been reflected in the surface when I took the photo. The last one was taken under a 200w incandescent, whereas the others were either the camera flash or a bright white LED.

to ACTUALLY get that colour, you need two cheap tools.

First, a propane torch or other source of metal heating flame(a maker without a flame? SHAME! even a kitchen stove works ok.), and second, a brass brush.

Probably, you also need a set of pliers of some kind to hold the hot metal.

Heat the piece till it JUST glows in dim lighting.
pull out of the heat, and scrub away with your brass brush(you didn't pay more than a dollar, right?)

Technically, I believe this is a sort of non-joining soldering, but the effect is, you now have a brass plated piece of steel.

KreaKatri (author)ironsmiter2011-06-14

A brass brush like those you use when" rough cleaning" after annealing?

About This Instructable




Bio: I work in IT, but enjoy a variety of things. I'll usually do something until I'm almost good at it and then move ... More »
More by andrew.spencer.2:Heated HoodieBubbly Glass Bead BraceletPower Tool USB Charger
Add instructable to: