Intro: Aluminum Branch Necklace Organizer
Recently I had a friend mention that she has accumulated quite a large collection of necklaces and no way to organize them. I instantly started planning out decorative, whimsical, and functional ways to display necklaces and this is what I came up with. I also designed in a bonus place to keep rings, trinkets, and things!
This is a very cheap project that will only take a couple of hours to make. Liven up your home with a touch of nature and a clever way to display and organize your necklaces.
Aluminum sheeting (I had left overs from duct work)
Floral wire (I had gold colored wire on hand but there are other colors available)
Pliers - regular and needle nosed
For those who are extra ambitious:
Casting resin + hardener
Transparent resin dye
Lets get started!
Step 1: Cutting and Forming the Branch
I started out by doing some quick google image searching to get a good idea of the basic shape of a branch. I got a mental picture in my head and sketched out a branch design on the aluminum sheet. I recommend using a washable pen for this, I struggled to remove the Sharpie marks I made. I made a "Y" shaped branch at one end, that will be the branch that will hold the bird's nest.
Cut out the branch following the outlines with the tin snips; slow and steady and don't worry about getting things perfect. Careful to not cut on yourself on the sharp edges of the aluminum during this step!
After cutting it out, the branch doesn't have a lot of shape or structure, so lets get to bending in those edges! I took the pair of pliers and slowly started bending it to a pretty solid curve; enough to provide support and shape. Go around the entire edge bending it around. It gets tricky at the little branches, that's where the needle nose pliers come in handy.
Finally, bend the branches out a bit to help add more dimension so necklaces don't get tangled (it also makes the branch really come to life!)
Step 2: The Bird's Nest
I will admit the bird's nest took a bit of trial and error and this was not my first attempt. Good thing floral wire is cheap and plentiful! This ended up being the fastest, easiest, and most visually effective way to make a nest out of wire. This step takes some experimenting and patience. Don't give up though! Bird's nests aren't perfect and usually quite messy so don't try to be perfect. I don't have many pictures because you just have to mess with it as you go.
I started by rolling a ball of newspaper about the size I wanted the nest to be. The newspaper was able to hold the wire in place while I wrapped it and give me an idea of the shape. I started wrapping the wire around the halfway point of the newspaper but I ended up condensing it after I took it off. I made the top edge of the nest thicker and secured it together with line of wire wrapped around it. Then I coiled around the base, up and down until it was fairly dense and looked like it would hold things without them falling out. I used a couple of loose wires to weave it together loosely.
The nest wasn't very stable on its own so I found some thicker wire to hold it in place. I made a ring with the thicker wire for the nest to sit in and the wire holds it behind the branch. You can probably use glue, epoxy, or a hardening putty to secure the nest. This is going to be mailed to my friend to another country and I didn't think the nest would survive attached. In order to make it removable I simply shaped some sculpy, got impressions of the wires, baked the sculpy, and super glued it to the aluminum. I also painted it to be fancy but its not necessary.
So far so good!
Step 3: Add a Bird!
I sketched out a few birds and picked out the design I like best. The first one I made was too large but I kept it around to be my experimental test dummy for the resin coating. Cutting the aluminum to make the bird takes a steady hand and small cuts, but it is possible to do with the tin snips. You could leave the bird silver, or make the bird out of a completely different material if you want, I stuck with a metal theme.
To make the bird stand out a bit more I decided to experiment with colored resin. It was far easier than I expected. I mixed up the resin as instructed on the can and added about 8 drops of blue color. I poured it on, smoothed it out with a popsicle stick and let it sit. I will say that the extra moisture of the dye slows the curing time, mine took overnight to harden. I was pleased with the results so I recommend trying it if you have the materials or curiosity at hand :)
Simply glue the bird on with super glue, with seems to work quite well on the aluminum.
Step 4: Hang It Up!
My friend lives in an apartment and can't put holes in the wall so I made the organizer portable and able to hang off of any door. Feel free to adapt yours to a more permanent installation if you want.
I cut out a strip of aluminum and bent it around the frame of a door and rounded the edges. For extra fancyness I glued some felt on the bottom as I didn't want it to scratch up the door.
Add the chain! At first I didn't foresee the limitations provided by physics and the branch leaned out. I ended up having to secure the chain to branches that reached out further and provided a better angle to the door.
Hang and enjoy! (be careful to hang it at a good height that won't end up with too many people getting their eye poked out.)
It can support quite a few necklaces and rings, not sure of its actually limits though. Good luck and happy building!