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Recycled Copper Butterfly for V-Day

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This project's goal is to create a Valentine's Day gift using recycled electrical wire, misc. items from the household and hollowed out light bulbs.

This is my first instructable, and constructive criticism is greatly appreciated. The core of this will be to explain the copper butterfly build, and how I put it into play with the stuff I had around the house.

I now call this the "Butterfly Garden" since it will soon sprout plants.
 
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Step 1: Materials

Your imagination is needed for some supplies unless you have the same type things available at your place.

1. Copper wire in various gauges. I used electrical wire, that salvaged when my employer opened a new place, for the main pieces. I then used solid core speaker wire, along with some teflon coated electrical wire aquired from the new store as well. How much you need depends on the size you want. Draw it out first like I will explain so you can get a general idea.

2. Various hand tools like pliers, wire cutters, razor knife (for stripping long pieces of wire) a vise helps as well.

3. Metal files. I put a small area of filing on the support in order to mask imperfections on it. So pick which files you need, but at least use one to file down the copper edges after cutting it.

4. 4-5 standard socket light bulbs. Use whatever wattage/size you want, but by using a standard socket you have tons of options.

5. Soldering gun and accompanying accessories. Flux is a must when doing thick copper wire.

6. A base stand. I used an old candlestick. You can use lamp bases, copper tubing, PVC or anything similar.

7. The support pole. I used a very old drapery rod. Good old fashioned steel that was HARD to bend in to shape. Again copper tubing or something similar is good. Keep in mind it will support 4-5 bulbs full of water.

8. A means to connect the pole to the base. I used the insides of an old trophy. Seems that long screw was just perfect. I topped it off with the butt-end of a knife sharpener handle.

9. Paper, pencil, pen or marker.

10. Steel wool and some fine grit sandpaper. For cleaning up soldered areas on the copper.

11. OPTIONAL - Rocaille Beads. I used these for the inside of the wings. I strung them on speaker wire to support them and hold the angles.

12. MUST HAVE - An open mind and imagination!

This is my first big project with copper wire, as well as a soldering gun. So prior experience in these areas is not really needed.
SilverMa5 years ago
This is awesome, your girlfriend is a lucky gil!! I just love it, thanks for instuctions!! SilverMa
I bet vivaterra would be interested in this item.....make yourself some $$! :) great instructable...beauty and recycling in one....AWESOME!
iBurn5 years ago
It'd be even cooler if you used the light bulb candles instead of just filling them with water. Add to the romance and all that.
rusticgal6 years ago
Absolutely BEAUTIFUL. Very artistic. Have you thought of entering it into a show. Have you patented the patern and idea. BEAUTIFUL, I LOVE IT!!!!!
CandyMarie7 years ago
I just wanted everyone to know that I have the most amazing boyfriend in the world. I absolutely love my Valentine's gift! I can't wait to get some plants into the lightbulbs. I will say that the pictures don't produce the same effect as it has in real life - it's beautiful! :)
It's a nice thing for you to recognise and thank your boyfriend on the board. Nice move.
Man! That is slick times 33 and a third.
Seanzee6 years ago
This is really cool, and i don't know if anyone else has pointed this out or even remembers the game but it reminds me of an old Windows (or maybe it was Dos) game called "Lighthouse".... it looks like a prop that would have been in the game lol. Great Job!
Legionnary (author) 7 years ago
Thanks again for the compliments. Yes it did take longer than I expected, because Iwent through some trial and error on certain parts. Add to that I was learning to solder copper. Do you always begin soldering with getting too much? I strongly considered the food coloring in the water. I, like you, think it would add a nice touch. But I'm going to check in to what food color would do to plantlife, since that's my ultimate goal.
I know certain flowers, like white carnations and daisies, will turn the colour of the dye if you cut them and place them in the water...not sure if that would happen with live plants or not.
mever7 years ago
amazing work, it was worth the time you put into it.
dhoncave7 years ago
how about putting different food coloring into the water in the bulbs for a livelier piece.
Wow, just wow! This is amazing and must have taken some serious time, but it seems well worth it. Excellent job!
Legionnary (author) 7 years ago
This siteinspired us to plant water plants in the bulbs. I'm in the process of making a "tool" to help with cleaning, arranging in the bulbs. Thank you so much for the compliment! My g/f loves it, and is ready to take it to work as soon as I quit adding things, lol.
jah_temp017 years ago
Wow. This looks absolutely phenomenal. One thing, though; you said you'd be putting plants (cut flowers, I assume?) into the bulbs, but you've got the holes positioned directly underneath the support loops and there's really not much clearance. Anybody building this might want to consider leaving a little more space between the top of the bulb and the support loop. All in all, though, I love it.
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