Hammered Wire Necklace

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Introduction: Hammered Wire Necklace

About: Teacher, tutor, trainer, author, and creative person; if I can do it or make it myself, I will! Jewelry & websites at http://www.aspiring-arts.com. Oh, and I did an "instructable" on TV once, o...

This elegant necklace will take a few hours to make and will draw admiring glances and compliments for the wearer everywhere she goes. It is a perfect handmade gift for any occasion.

I have been wearing a couple of mine I have made this way for years. They are very durable, and I always receive compliments on them.

The inspiration for this project originally came from Encyclopedia of Craft Projects in an Afternoon, though I have heavily modified it with my own ideas and techniques.

It can even be used in the classroom, as evidenced by our very own Materials Science teacher! Here is a learning objective:

By working with different types and gauges of wire, students will better understand the properties of wire hardness and softness, as well as how to shape and harden the metal.

Step 1: Materials and Supplies

You will need:
  • 12-14 gauge copper, silver, aluminum, or other wire*
  • 22-gauge matching or contrasting wire
  • Interesting cabochon, stone, or piece of glass
  • Wire cutters
  • Round-nose pliers
  • Anvil
  • Ballpeen hammer
I know some of my tools are a bit rusty; they were exposed to a chemical that accelerated this, and I just haven't cleaned them up yet. They still work fine.

*As wdancer pointed out, don't use aluminum and copper together on this, as "copper and aluminum corrode each other pretty quickly through galvanic corrosion." If you want to use aluminum wire, use a different kind of contrasting wire, even though the instructions in the book suggest combining aluminum and copper. Little did they know, and thank goodness for the Instructables community!

Step 2: Cut and Shape the Wire Parts

Cut a 5-inch piece of wire and curve it into an S using the round-nose pliers. Give each side a nice spiral curve.

Cut a 12" length of the copper wire, as well as three 2" lengths and a 3" length.

Curl each of the 2" lengths into an S-curve with the tips touching the center, as in the photo. These will be the links for your extender chain.

The 3" piece will be your clasp. Make one end into the closure as in the links, and make a wide curve on the other end, as shown in the photo. Make a nice curved end to this piece.

Step 3: Hammer the Wire

Hammer each of the pieces of wire. The thick copper wire needed hammering on both sides, using both sides of the hammer, to get a good texture. Aluminum wire will need less hammering.

Take your time with this. When you are done, the wire will be stiffer through work hardening and will hold its shape well. Be careful not to over-bend it after this, as it will be more prone to breaking.

You will find that your loops will have opened somewhat during hammering. That's fine. You can use this for the next step.

Step 4: Assemble the Neck Wire

Gently bend the 12" wire into a circle that will fit comfortably around your (or the wearer's) neck. It does not have to reach the whole way around.

Bend under the two ends of the neck wire to form loops.

Then attach each of the links. Put two on one side, and one and the clasp on the other. Close up each of the links.

Test your clasp to make sure it fits through the links. If not, adjust as needed. You can also add or remove links as needed to lengthen or shorten the necklace.

Step 5: Assemble and Wrap the Pendant

Bend the spiral S in half around the stone or bead.

Cut about 12" of the thin wire. Run it under the copper wire so that half of it is on each side. Start to wrap it around the stone kind of like tying a shoe, starting from the inside and working outward. The stone should be securely, but not overly, wrapped when you are finished.

With the remaining wire, twist it together.

Next, cut and hammer a 2" piece of wire. Make a bail out of this by creating a loop around one part of the copper spiral and another loop around the neck wire. Wrap the excess thin wire around it for extra security.

Step 6: Wear It With Style

One nice thing about a necklace like this is it never goes out of style. It can be worn with almost anything, and it looks arty and handmade, while being really simple. I am often asked what the blue stone is, when it's just a piece of glass, like the clear one.

Please leave a comment if you like it or have other ideas!

Also, if you've read this far and have enjoyed this instructable, please vote for it in the contest. Thank you!

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    46 Comments

    You can slow down the galvanic corrosion by polishing the metal, drying it well, and adding a thin coat of Renaissance Wax (microcrystalline wax polish). Other possibilities are epoxy or even acrylic medium as a sealer.

    Interesting the one negative comment. Complaining about your artistic presentation.

    I, for one, am quite impressed with your artistic ability and thoughtful "mechanical/chemical" considerations.

    Well thought out!

    Keep it up!!

    4 replies

    I couldn't agree more.

    Voted.

    Thank you, Baja! <3

    Thank you very much, I appreciate it!

    My opinion but it looks like you forgot to finish it with all the wiring on there. It looks like scaffolding was left on after the building was finished. Have you tried gluing the glass to the copper directly with E-6000 from Michael's?  It dries very clear and would be nearly invisible in this application.  You would only need a dot on each side of the stone.  For the colored glass you would not really need any on the front.  E-6000 is a great adhesive.  My sister in law uses E-6000 to attach ceramic parts together in her manufacturing business. 

    Does the copper from turn green against your skin? 

    3 replies

    If you don't like the look, you can use matching wire. I like the contrast, as do others who see it in person. I have had more inquiries about buying my jewelry than I can count from people who have seen this.

    I don't recommend glue because it will not hold up with this kind of application and weight over the long term.

    And no, it has not turned green. That's more likely to happen on saltier parts of the skin, like hands and arms. Some people's chemistry is also more likely to trigger that. The original project called for aluminum wire, but I like the look and feel of the copper better.

    Nice hammered look. Could have some nifty effects with a little twisting too!

    I agree that E6000 may not be the best in some circumstances. The glass on metal pad and post earrings I glued for my wife... eventually fell off by themselves without any stresses being applied. Lucky it fell off in the jewelry box! :)

    Thanks, DIY-Guy. I think twisted wire might look better with thinner wire. I've done it that way myself. But hammered and twisted lightly? That could be interesting.

    I'm the material science teacher at Richland High School and I'm going to have my students make one of these. We actually make our own glass, so this will fit perfectly into the curriculum.
    Instead of aluminum wire, we'll use stainless steel.
    Great job!

    1 reply

    Excellent! And you even gave me an idea of how to qualify this for the Teacher contest. :-) Please post photos of finished creations if you wish, and I will send you a Pro Membership code.

    I really like this, I think I will try making one for my wife, I think I have everything I need already,those are the best projects.

    7 replies

    Excellent! I'm sure she'll love it. Post pics here, if you don't mind.

    Here is my version, modeled on my beautiful 2 year old daughter. Total build time, 30 minutes.

    IMG01479-20111206-1920.jpgIMG01480-20111207-0657.jpgIMG01481-20111207-0658.jpgIMG01482-20111207-0659.jpg

    Awesome!! Looks great. And your daughter is so cute.

    What is the stone? And does your wife like it?

    The stone is a polished piece of Jasper and yes, she was quite taken by it. This was really fun to make and suprisingly easy, I promised both my little girls we would make one for each of them after work today. They will be a great help in the process I'm sure.

    So did you make them for your girls? Can we see?

    I was just about to post these picks. I made the one for my 2 year old a bit too small and she doesn't like how it feels so I'll do that one over. My 4 year old loves her's though.

    IMG01484-20111208-1745.jpgIMG01485-20111208-1745.jpg

    Oh, look at that smile. Yes, it might be a bit stiff for a 2-year-old. Maybe make into a tiara or a diadem? Keep us posted!