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
- 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
- Ballpeen hammer
*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 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
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
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
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
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!