It started with a dare when I was admiring Mrballeng's tiara. A friend peering over my shoulder challenged me to make something similar, to my horror. My first thoughts ranged from, "It's too perfect; impossible!" to "Do I still have access to solder?" and finally ended at, "Hmm.. I have some bangles that might work."
And things spiraled from there...
Step 1: Materials
- bangles (I have thin silver bangles that I use to make dream catchers as impromptu gifts for friends. It took eleven in total.)
- wire (For wrapping the crown pieces together, I used 26 gauge silver-plated copper wire. Alternatively, you can wrap the entire crown with yarn/string if you have some on hand. I just happened to have wire, but I understand that others might not.)
A note before we begin: your bangles and mine may be of different sizes, thickness, etc. so you may need to adjust accordingly. Unfortunately, not all bangles are created equal.
Step 2: Cutting Bangles, and Safety Notes
Bangles were the first things I thought of, rather than my usual 20 gauge wire, because it uses thin but sturdy wire. Because it's thin, it's still ductile enough for manipulation by hand. However, cutting it can lead to small bits of wire flying in all directions (especially if you're trimming off excess wire). That being said, be careful as you proceed!
Anyway, grab ten bangles and find the bump at where the bangle was soldered/welded. Unless you have some truly high quality bangle or something (not a good idea to waste those..), there will be at least a slight bump noticeable when you run your fingers around the bangle. Use pliers to cut the bangle apart at that bump so that the imperfection will be at your ends and not in the middle of your work.
Step 3: Designing
Take your time to customize your crown design to your liking. Google things like "crown patterns" or "tiara design" for inspiration. Otherwise, just grab some cut bangles and twist them around until you find something you like!
My final design is the second one of the pictures above. It consists of two parts that will be wrapped together. Then all of the completed units will be wired to each other before the bottoms of each will be wrapped to a final bangle to finish the crown.
Step 4: Shaping Bangles
Draw whatever design you chose on a piece of paper to act as a guide. Then just simple use bend your wire to match those guidelines.
Be careful as you shape the bangles! It's quite hard to manipulate, and if you get too hung ho and forget about the sharp ends, you might accidentally jab your fingertip and start swearing up a storm (may or may not be speaking from experience).
Create as many units as you need to go around the crown. I ended at five sets, but make more or less as you like.
Step 5: Wrapping
To connect each of your unit's pieces, grab your thin wire and start wrapping! Wrap wherever you feel that your design needs a connection; for me, I connected my parts at the bottom and two places, left and right, near the top.
Be sure to use pliers to press the ends flush with your work so snags won't undo your hard work. Also, weave two wires together (third picture above) whenever possible rather that simply wrapping the thin wire around your bangles multiple times; the additional friction force will make the crown more sturdy.
Step 6: Connecting to Crown Shape
I was an idiot and connected each piece to each other before connecting to the final hoop, making my life far more difficult (since I had to handle all pieces as a set rather than each individually). Thus, connecting the bottoms to the final bangle was unnecessarily hard. However, for your custom design it might be the way to go about things; decide accordingly whether to connect the bottom as a set or individually.
ANYWAY. If you're following my design, I suggest that you connect the bottoms of each piece around your last bangle (make sure each is facing the right way) before wrapping the sides to each other. See pictures for more details.
FInished; enjoy your crown! :)