Introduction: "Peacock Feather" Magnetic Brooch

It recently occurred to me at work that magnets and some sort of steel could easily be combined to make a brooch. It took me a couple more days of thinking to realize many foods come in steel cans... and then we were off! (to the hardware store, since I possessed no tin snips...)

Supplies You Need:
Steel
Magnet
(optional: galvanized wire or a paperclip you don't mind ruining)

Tools You Need:
Safety Goggles
Tin Snips
Flat-faced Hammer
Files/Sandpaper (optional: rotary tool)

Step 1: Planning the Design

Originally I was going to do something a lot more ornate, as you can tell by my sketch. I realized, however, as this was my first foray into working with metal in this fashion... I should tone it down. Curves got extended, swirls got simplified, and some parts were thickened. Feel free to adjust to your own skill level, of course!

The rectangular shape was originally approximately what size I wanted the brooch. Obviously it got a bit bigger than I'd wanted, but still of a nice, wearable size.

I used a permanent marker to draw on the inside of my opened can/sheet of metal and got out the safety goggles and tin snips.

Step 2: Cutting Out and Cleaning Up

Safety goggles in place and adjusted correctly, I got to work with the tin snips. In the future I'm going to take my rubber mallet to the piece of metal first, it is a lot more difficult to cut curved pieces.

Be careful, metal can be quite sharp! Wearing leather gloves can help protect you from cuts and scrapes. Remove pieces as you go along, don't try to just cut the whole shape out. Remove the main shape from the larger piece first and then start on smaller curves.

I used straight tin snips which resulted in some over-cuts in my sharpest curve. Thankfully, they get removed in the clean up phase.

KEEP YOUR GOGGLES ON.

Cleaning things up is almost as dangerous to your peepers as cutting the shapes out-- and moreso if using a rotary tool or other power tool to help out.

Get rid of the ridges your tin snips may have left, clean up sharp corners, file and rasp and work until you have a nice, rounded surface.

Add some texture with steel wool or a very light sandpaper if you wish and head onto the next step.

Step 3: Adding Details

Optional step: Bend wire or paperclip into a shape to represent the rachis (the line down the middle of a feather). Attach it with tape to the front and turn your feather over. Pound with a hammer to create a nice indent in your feather to follow for the next step.

OR: Take your file and heavily, repeatedly score the surface of your wire to create the rachis.

From here, we add lines out from it so it looks more feather-like. Add as many as you like, varying the pressure on your file.

Step 4: Complete and Wear

You may have a little more clean up to do with your sandpaper or file, but your feather should be near completion.

If it has become a bit warped, use the hammer to pound it flat. You may also choose to bend some details up slightly, but remember that even filed metal can still catch things.

Use a magnet to attach it to your lapel, brooch on one side of the fabric, magnet on the other. Depending on the density of the fabric, you may need a relatively strong magnet. No more pin holes in clothing or worrying about it ripping if the brooch gets caught on something!

Remember to keep magnets away from pacemakers and many electronic devices.

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Bio: I'm a craft dabbler. I wish I could say I've mastered something but my attention only stays on one type of craft for ... More »
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