Micro Wire Tree Earrings




Introduction: Micro Wire Tree Earrings

About: All you need to know is I exist......

A couple of years ago, I saw a picture of a wire tree here on Instructables. However, I didn't have the resources to build a big one. So I built a small one. It stands on my shelf, a mere 2cm high. This is simply a continuation: make tree-like ear-rings .

So here's my take on wire trees.

Also, since I bought a new camera recently, and I love macro photography....

Step 1: Tools and Materials

These tree's are really simple to make. All you need is:

- A knife
- A pair of scissors
- A pin

- 6cm electrical wire.(medium thickness, and this is each, so for a pair, you may want 12cm wire)

Step 2: Strip the Wire

Obviously you need to remove the insulation from the wire. Rather than do it all at once, do it little by little, in 5-10mm sections.
The way I do it is with a sharp knife:
- Lay the wire on a cutting mat
- Touch the knife to the wire 5-10mm from the end
- Apply very little pressure on the knife, and roll the piece of wire, so that it cuts all the way around. You only want to cut the plastic.
- Use your fingernails to pull the section you cut off.

If you cut a couple of strands, it's not a big deal. You only need 5 full length ones.

Don't remove the insulation completely. Leave a small section to hold the wires together till you need them.

Step 3: Make the Main Ring

The 'base' of the earring is the ring around the tree. Everything attaches to it, so it makes sense to build it first.

1) Pluck out 5-7 strands of wire from your bundle
2) Lay them so the ends don'e end at the same place (~5mm between each strands tip and the next one)
3) Twist the strands together. Remember that the tips are now staggered, so you only have to twist the middle bit
4) Bend it into the ring, with the ends overlapping. Ideally each strand should go around a single time
5) Twist the ends into the bundle, holding the ends together.

Because the ends are each a couple of mm apart, there is no beginning or end to the ring. It is just a twisted ring of wire with the ends evenly distributed.

I had issues keeping the ends tucked in, so I took another strand of wire, and twisted it around at a much steeper angle. This held the tips in nicely. See the last couple images.

Step 4: The Tree Trunk and Roots

Grab the bundle of remaining wires. Don't take them out of their insulation yet though.
Twist them together over a 1cm segment about 2cm from one of the ends. Do this by digging in your nails to give it a nice crisp start and end.

There you go. You just made a tree-trunk.

Time for the roots.
- Divide the shorter end of the bundle into six small bundles
- Twist each of these smaller bundles together

Now we can mount this to the frame.
- Flatten the roots so they are lying in a flat plane
- Starting with one of the edge roots, hold the tree in place, and give it a twist around the ring
- Keep twisting working up the ring

Try keep the roots to the lower third of the ring, otherwise it gets hard to differentiate roots and branches later on. (hint: roots are shorted!)

Continue with the other roots.

I find the pin useful to forcing the end through gaps between existing roots, as well as forcing the ends closer to the ring when you've gone around as many times as you can.
Don't do all the twists on top of each other, work the twists around the ring

Actually, just look at the images. It's pretty self-explanatory.

Step 5: The Branches

Pretty much the same as the roots.

- Remove the insulation
- Separate into bundles (this time have some size variation, all the way from two strands up to 6 or so)
- Twist the bundles into branches
- Twist a couple of the branches together for short distances to get branching branches.
- Attach to the ring in the same way as for the roots. Chances are the branches wire is longer, so I use the scissors to cut excess wire down to a manageable level.

The exception to the last step is the very top branch. This will turn into the ring we'll use to attach the tree to an earhook. So leave it long and sticking up vertically.

Step 6: The Small Ring

This is really simple. doesn't really deserve a step.

Take your remaining long branch, bend it round in a loop, and treat it like a branch coming from the outside of the ring.

Step 7: Where It All Went Wrong

Now, these things are delicate. They would survive as an earring, but if you made one as a pendant, it would unravel.
To rectify this, I decided I would apply some solder, and let it wick into the strands. This should hold things together and make it pretty strong, right?

So, using lead-free solder, I set out to get the solder into the tree's. It did go in, but left a rather ugly finish, because it didn't soak in as much as leaded solder does.

I thought this was just a heat issue, so I brought out my propane torch and ran it over them for a couple of seconds.

They are small, and the solder melted instantly. The wire also got pretty hot. And you know what happened? Well, I haven't a clue.
The metal is now very brittle, and has a completely different texture and color. I think the lead-free solder alloyed with the wire, creating a useless, not very pretty thing.

So there went an hour or so of work.
But at least I now have an excuse to make some more.

Step 8: The Remade Earrings

Done in copper

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    8 years ago on Introduction

    Try checking out some wire cutters and wire strippers. Cutting wire can damage scissors, and often times, at least with wire strippers, they have more than one size in a unit and have a built in wire cutter.
    Also, even though whatever happened is brittle, I liked the look of it. Something to try and do might be to simply tuck in your ends the best you can and fill in your gaps with a good glue (you could try dipping it in modge podge too, though you'd loose your texture)
    You could also try just soldering the back, and the entire back to give it a smooth, flat, secure surface. Or solder as you go- got a spot where two pieces are going to join? get it ready to go, drop of solder, stick it on, let it cool. You get the idea.

    Also- with craft wire (including copper), they say hammering or squeezing gently helps harden, and thus set the metal. NOW- this isn't just any old hammer or pair of pliers, mind you! To avoid destroying or leaving ugly tool marks in a piece, they say to get pliers with acrylic on them (they're special for jewelry making), and or a piece of stainless steal or a tiny stainless steal anvil (they're super cute- kinda expensive, but SO cute) and a hammer with an acrylic head (again, these are special for jewelry making), and sometimes they also sell a little piece of leather or special fabric to protect the piece (I'm new to this work, so I'm not an expert, I just love craft stores and have a book, so do your research!). But they say to squeeze it with the special pliers or to lightly hammer the piece to harden and set the metal. And it works! (For this one, I'd recommend a tiny anvil- the curved end helps you get all sides and preserve your curves).

    Either way, smart idea- I don't know that I ever would have thought of using the wires out of electronics! I really love the look!


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    Some great ideas there.

    - If I had wire strippers, I'd use them. As it is, a sharp knife works well enough for the amount of work I do.

    - Good luck soldering each wire in place. If this was with thick copper strands (ie ~0.5 mm), that would work, but with these 0.05mm ones, it's not likely to happen. I suspect that if I used regular solder rather than lead-free, it would have worked a lot better. Also, using a smaller torch would have been better I used a propane thing intended for plumbing.

    - I think if I could control the alloy-thing, it would have potential. If I could do it just on the tree, not on the ring, then the effect could be quite nice, and it would retain some strength. By brittle, I mean that dropping it would break it, so noy practical even for jewellery.

    - I don't think an anvil, even a jewellery one, would get inside this thing, but i think the acrylic pliers idea has merit. If only I could find a place to buy them.


    8 years ago

    so cool

    Blues Angel
    Blues Angel

    8 years ago

    I inherited a ton of tiny tumbled stones in every variety. I wonder if thick electrical wire would be a less expensive way to get the necessary wire for Gem Stone Trees? Copper is a great color.


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    I see no problem with using electrical wire. There are some nice instructables done by other people on mounting stones with wire.



    The copper wire I used in the ible is really really thin. A little too thin to mount stones with. However, if you take a heavier grade of electrical wire (eg a power cord from a dead appliance), then you can get wire of a nice thickness (0.5-1mm)


    8 years ago

    Wow, these are beautiful! They remind me of the Amity symbol from Divergent.