I just love Octopuses, (I know it sounds like it should be octopi but it, for some reason, is not.) They're smart, beautiful, and have even been known to display senses of humor. And copper is the perfect medium to capture these awesome animals, even if you're new to metalworking!
You will need a few basic tools to make this necklace, but you don't really need all the fancy expensive gear you find in real studios. It's helpful if you do have a rolling mill and a laser cutter, but you don't need them. You will need:
*1 piece of 26 gauge copper. I used a sheet that was 6"x4" but you can make yours as small or as large as you want.
* 1 jewelers saw.
* E-6000 glue.
* The enclosed octopus file.
* A set of small rounded files.
* A metal punch.
* A buffing wheel or a Dremel with a buffing bit.
* Black cord.
* Rolling mill.
* Laser cutter.
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Step 1: Making Your Octopus
If you have a laser cutter, you can use it to cut out your octopus, which will make your life much easier because you can turn off the air assist function and have the machine cut it out of cardstock for you. If you don't have one, you can simply print it out and cut it out by hand with an X-acto knife.
Step 2: Rolling Your Copper
You can get the image of your octopus in two different ways. If you have a rolling mill, tape your octopus pieces together then lay them facedown onto the copper sheet. add another piece of paper to the back and roll your copper tightly through the mill to leave the impression on the metal.
If you don't have a mill, use your octopus pieces as a stencil and draw the shape manually with a sharpie.
Step 3: Sawing the Outline
I used a rolling mill to emboss the metal with my octopus, but it doesn't show up well on camera so I marked the edges with a sharpie so you could see where I cut. When you're sawing metal you want to screw the blade in tightly enough that it twangs when you pluck it. Brace the metal against the edge of your worktable and position the blade straight up and down with the teeth of the blade facing downwards. Let the speed of the blade do the work for you.
Nevercut towards yourself or cut with your fingers in the way of the blade because the blades can snap and lodge themselves into your hand.
Step 4: Cut Out the Details
To cut out the details of your octopus, punch holes through the middle of the detail. I opted to cut out just the silhouette of the octopus because the rolling mill left the details impressed pretty well into the copper, but if you want to cut out more of the details, you can simply punch more holes and spend more time.
Thread the saw blade through the holes and reattach it at the top as shown. Then cut out the details as you did before.
Step 5: File the Edges
This step is very important because you're going to be wearing the final product. Sharp edges on jewelry is a big no-no!
Brace your piece against the table as best as you can and push the file hard along the edges. Files are designed to work of the "away cut" so there is no need for any sawing motions. Once you've filed away from you on one whole side of the piece, flip it over and file it again. Repeat this step until there are no sharp edges whatsoever!
Step 6: Buff It 'Till It Shines
Use your buffing wheel or your Dremel with a bit of polishing compound to remove scratches and make the piece shiny. Be very careful around the tentacles and the finer details because you don't want anything to snag! A good rule of thumb is to have it on a high-speed setting and move the piece over the wheel fairly quickly so that no part of it has a chance to heat up and burn you. Make sure you're using firm pressure or you will be there all day.
Step 7: Adding the Cord
If you made it this far, congratulations! The hard part is over! To attach the string to your gorgeous piece of metalwork, use a strip of scrap copper, loop it, and glue it down with some E-6000. Thread your cord through it and tie it in a knot so you can flaunt the sparkling necklace that you made with your own two hands! Good for you!
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