It could be a Christmas ornament. It could sit on the shelf. You could give it to someone with their favorite verse on it. So many possibilities!
Old guitar strings-a few thicker and thinner
A handful of nails
Scrap piece of wood
One sheet of paper
Helping hands/3rd hand/something to hold parts while you solder
Some drawing (optional-ish)
Creativity (Make your favorite shape too)
Step 1: Do a Jig
Don't worry, you don't have to dance. You're making a jig to shape your guitar strings on.
Draw or print out the design you want to use and place it on top of your wood. You want the board to be larger than your design.
Drive nails through each corner into the wood as shown. Be sure to keep in mind which way the wire will be bending around each nail.
Step 2: Get an Outline
Time to use the guitar strings. If you don't break your own often enough or know someone who does, many local music shops will give you a bag full if you ask nicely. They throw them out without people like you that want them.
Pick a few strings that will fit the look you want, both size and color. Also make sure the strings for your borders don't have bends and misshapen areas. I chose to make the borders from thicker Low-E and G copper wrapped strings for a slightly sturdier orangey-red color, and the interior crisscross from slightly thinner silver colored nickel-plated strings for a nice contrast.
Take your border strings and bend them around your jig nails, bending and creasing where necessary. Use pliers to make sure the wires have nice sharp corners.
You'll end up with an outline of your shape, though it might need a bit of adjustment to make it fully flat or hold its shape better. The less it flexes away from the shape you want it in the better.
Make two of these outline borders.
Step 3: Rise Up
Once you have your two shapes readied to your liking, snip off about 12+ equal lengths of wire of a similar look to the ones you previously used. These can be snipped from scraps of leftover guitar string and will be your side risers that separate the two outlines you already made. You can use as few as 12 or up to however many you want; the more you use the more sturdy and solid the outside edges of the final outcome will be. I found it turned out well with 16.
I originally planned to use 1 5/16" risers but once I held it together that seemed too far and I shortened them to 1" which looked much better.
Step 4: Make a Connection
Start by soldering the dangling ends of the two cross shapes together, then start adding the risers perpendicular to the first outline. I added them at each corner bend as well as a few in the longer straight section on the bottom, for 16 in total.
Helping hands/ third hands or a younger sibling with some extra hands to hold the wires very steady while you solder them in place is a must. I found that it helped to rest the side of the project I wasn't dealing with on the wooden jig to help balance it. If it doesn't come out perfectly perpendicular that's ok, you can bend them a little bit to where they should be without breaking the solder joint.
Next solder the second outline on top of the risers to match the bottom one. It can get tricky to hold the top frame in place and level while soldering, so again it's very helpful to have a helping hand.
Step 5: Decorate!
Decorate the top and/or bottom and sides however you see fit. I made a heart jig (a little tougher with all the rounded sides) and added a heart in the center, then a semi-random lattice of smaller nickel strings across the front. You can add other designs as well, guitar strings hold the shapes they're bent to quite well.
Step 6: What's Next?
Thinking of ways to modify this project(pictures included for things attempted):
- Fully made from nickel-plated silver wires to hide solder joints (photo 1)
- Make a star jig and see what comes of that (photo 2)
- Larger version to hang on the wall/display stand
- Smaller version for Christmas ornaments
- Candy cane with colored stripes
- 3D spherical ornament ball
- A 3D star out of the triangles with words on them (In progress, Instructable to come)
Feel free to comment other ideas and I'll try 'em out