Christmas was coming and i was looking (last minute of course, cause thats the way it always is ;-) for presents for my sisters (and my fiancee). They have a lot of big earings that don't really fit well in jewlery boxes.
In one of the the last episodes of Desperate Housewives that i watched (not big fan but the show is ok) one of them (Lynette - the blond one) had this great jewlery hanger by their bed. I loved the idea - so simple and so usefull.
I started diggin in the internet and found a great jewlery tree by Centastional Girl http://www.centsationalgirl.com/2009/07/diy-jewelry-tree/ . Unfortunately it's winter (and it was -15C here in Poland when i wanted to do it) so i wasn't so eager to go and look for branches and it wouldn't really fit well in my sisters rooms. But it looks really great so check it out. Hours later i found some photos of minimalistic wood/wire hangers (can't find them now :/) made by a Polish artist - they weren't pricy and looke really good - i would probably buy them if it wasn't for the christmas season (there was no chance that it will arive by christmas)
So i made 3 hangers myself - "the wave", "the butterfly" and "bloom" ;-) so pictures of the process are mixed.
Appreciate any comments this is my first instructables. And sorry for any mistakes.
Step 1: Part List
You will need something to cut the wire - my old pliers (combination pliers/kleins) where able to cut it easily so i used them.One can use diagonal pliers that are more suitable for the job.
Pliers will also be used for bending the wire.
Drill will be used to make holes in the wood to place the wire. (i used a 2mm drill bit)
A Paint brush to paint the wood.
Sanding paper (i used 80/120/150/180/240/320-grit papers) (~1$/m)
Wire (see the next step on this) (~4.5$ for 20m)
Wood - I've got my piece of wood from my fiancees father (it was a part of a fance), you can get pieces of wood for free/cheap from wood shops or big markets where they cut wood (ask nicely for scraps)
Shellac, lacquer, varnish or oil - use one of these to give a nice finish to the wood. Here's a great instructable on Wood Finishing (~2$ for a little can)
Glue for glueing the wire to the base (if you match the drill bit to the wire it may not be needed)
Step 2: Choosing the Wire
I've visited several metal shops to look for a suitable wire. It had to be thick to hold the earings (some are quite heavy) and not bend when using the hanger but has to be easy to work with (cutting/bending).
I've bought a 2mm galvanized steel wire (at least the lady behind the desk told me so ;-). It's easy to bend with bare hands - i wanted something tougher but couldn't really find anything more suitable. You could try other materials (copper?) - maybe somone has more experience can comment wait would be more suitable.
I had to buy ~20m of wire cause it was the minimum but i've used about 5-8m on the 3 hangers (they're about 40cm high). If you will be able to get smaller amounts of wire - i advice to get a little extra so you can practice bending etc.
Step 3: Bending the Wire
It helps if you have the design drawn/printed/displayed somewhere.
Cut a piece of wire and practice different bending techniques with your wire.
YMMV but i used these techniques:
For long smooth curves don't try to bend the wire couple centimeters at a time - just grab the wire on both ends and bend moving the ends to each other.
For tight circles (like on the ends of "the wave") use a a round object (i used an empty beer bottle ;-) and bend the wire around the bottle, pushing it with fingers.
Next take the pliers, grab the end and bend toward the middle of the circle turning.
I have to record some videos cause it's hard to explain. Hope the pictures are enough for the time beeing.
Step 4: Making of "the Butterfly"
Some pictures of "the butterfly" which is a little different than the rest cause the ends are only bent once.
Step 5: Preparing the Stand
I'm not an expert on wood so i just went to a store and bought one of the things that they offered me for finishing. It was an all-in-one "gel" (probably a fancy name for a lacquer or something).
I strongly advice you to read a great instuctable on Wood Finishing. Almost all of my knowledge on wood finishing comes from it.
I had a 60cm wood stick from a fence. I've taken it to a friend that used a chainsaw (sic!) to cut it into pieces. It wasn't really the right tool for the job (sharp edges etc) but it seemed like the quickest way to do it (and it wasn't in the end - it made sanding a nightmare).
If I would do it once again i would either buy/get the wood that was prepared or use a grinder to sand the wood. The whole sanding process for 3 blocks and 6 papers each took me about 4 hours. The good thing is that it turned out really well. The wood was super smooth.
Step 6: Painting
Painting depends on the type of finish you will be applying.
I painted the blocks 2 times and waited 12hours before applying the secend layer.
I made two mistakes:
1. I painted in a basement and there was a lot of dust there so it didn't turn out perfect (but still looked great)
2. The first layer was too thick and the grains weren't so visible.
As for the hanging... there a are probably better way of handling it ;-)
Step 7: Drilling Holes
I used a 2mm drill bit as i had a 2mm wire. It turned out the wire was a little loose so i used glue.
Remember to clean the holes before applying the glue.
Step 8: Viola!
Now you can do the final adjustments to the design (straighten it up etc).
You new hand made jewlery hanger is finished and you can start hanging your collection.