Dragonfly Pendant A'La Balleng




Introduction: Dragonfly Pendant A'La Balleng

About: I'm a total geek when it comes to tools and craft supplies. Never let me in a hardware or craft store without a leash, I'll just run off.....

I got bit by a maker's bug and decided to craft a bracelet for my lady from Mrballeng's butterfly bracelet Instructable.  This in turn obligated me to show it to my mom who promptly commissioned me to make a necklace for her. (Meaning a very, very large bracelet)  After completing the necklace I thought to myself, "If I Mrballeng can make butterflies from paperclips, then are dragonflies possible?"
Why yes they are!!!

Step 1: Tools and Materials

This project was done on the super cheap.  The only things I had to buy were the paper clips ($3.50 at my local drug store) and the polishing compound ($6.50 at the local auto store).

You will need:
-Smooth jaw pliers
-Round nose pliers
-Wire snips
-A metal file
-Soldering paste (I used the water based variety)
-Lead free solder
-A blowtorch
-A brush to apply the soldering paste
-400 grit sand paper (not shown)
-A large paper clip

Step 2: Creating the Pendant: First Bends

Like in the Butterfly Bracelet 'Ible I also filed a small mark into my round nose pliers to get consistent bends.
Begin by using the smooth jaw pliers to straighten the paperclip as best as possible.
Find the center of your now straight paperclip and using the mark on your pliers bend a loop in the center.
Once the center loop (head) is done the free ends of your clip will  point at a downward angle.  Use the mark on your pliers to bend them at an upward angle.

Step 3: Making Wings

This can be tricky.  I didn't use any specific measurements for the wings, I just eyeballed it.  I should note that if you make the head kind of small and the loops in the wings proportionate to the head you will end up with a longer tail ( more or less material used means a longer or shorter tail).
I also found it easier to only do one side at a time rather than do a wing on one side then another.

Use the mark on your round nose pliers, bend the paperclip UP at a distance perpendicular to the head and make a loop bending the paperclip back on itself.
With your pliers still in the loop of the wing, take your smooth jaw pliers and make a 90 degree bend in the clip at the center of the body.  This 90 degree bend is the back side of the pendant.
Flip your dragonfly over.
I eyeballed a small distance above the marked spot on my pliers to make a smaller loop, and estimated a spot that would give me a smaller wing at approximately half the length of the big one.
Once again bend your clip UP and back on itself, make sure the clip crosses on the top.
As with the upper wing, grip the loop with the round nose and bend a sharp angle down with the smooth jaw pliers to make the tail.
Repeat the same steps to make the other side of your dragonfly.
Once both sides are done you will need to play with the tail ends to get them to sit side by side, it takes some patience...
If your ends are one longer than the other I recommend waiting until AFTER it is soldered to snip them even.

Step 4: Soldering

I won't go into how to solder since Mrballeng has a splendid video on how to do it!
I will say it is best to lay your pendant face down since it will allow you to get a good bead on the back side and leave the front still pretty flat.
I used the same technique of pounding my solder flat and snipping off pieces.

Step 5: Polishing and Finishing

Now that you've soldered the tail together snip the bottom off to even it if needed.
Use your file to round the end of the tail and to even out the solder on the front.
Sand as needed with 400 grit sandpaper, and finish polishing with your polishing compound and a cloth.

Add a jump ring, a chain, and a clasp and you're done!
I hope you enjoyed my Instructable.
Happy crafting!

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    8 years ago on Step 2

    Filing makes a very permanent change to your pliers, which can ding up your future projects. Ever thought about using a permanent marker instead?


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Yes you're right, it had occurred to me that I might mar future projects and I did consider using a marker. I decided to file because I can file on one tong and keep the other tong pristine, it also gives me a better defined marking to follow rather than an ink smear if that makes sense. One side for measurements, the other for bending. I'm not a serious jewelry maker so filing works well for me :/


    8 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks, I hope it works out well. I recommend using custom lengths of wire instead of paperclips to get the best result. Post me some pics of your finished project!


    9 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks so much for the 'ible! I was wondering how to best do dragonflies after seeing the butterfly bracelet. I'll see if I can get around to making a dragonfly bracelet for a gift for my sister, I think the same method of linking as in the butterfly 'ible will work, either with or without soldering.


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    Sorry this is so late in reply. But before I published the pendant, I did attempt to make a bracelet of dragonflies and they looked like, well, erm... bad. A single pendant came out the best for me.
    Please show me the way!


    i love this dragonfly!!!! can't wait to try one. thanks so much for sharing.


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    Thank you Mr.B, and thank you for the response to my message. You've taught me a lot!


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    Thank you! The one with the long tail I put on the chain was my best yet. I swear, no two of these things have come out the same.....