This is an Instructable on how to make a bracelet out of old guitar strings. Mostly it is common sense and a little bit of wire bending practice. Use your old guitar strings, ask your friend for his/hers, or go to your local music store if they re-string guitars and ask them to save you the old strings. You can also use the ends they cut off of the new strings when they put them on, (which is again good recycling). :) Another thing you can do is use the "ball" ends from the ends of the strings as accent beads, which adds an extra recycling touch. So reduce, reuse, and recycle by making jewelry out of something usually headed for the landfill!
Step 1: Clean Your Guitar Strings!
Since most of your strings are going to be brass or copper, I would probably use a brass/copper cleaner to clean your guitar strings(Makes sense.) Alternatively, I would use a scouring powder that can be used on brass and copper. (I did read you can place them in coke overnight, and that will clean them, but I haven't tried that.) I used a scouring powder on mine, and it worked fine.
Step 2: Wire Bending
For this instructable, I am assuming that you know the basics of wireworking and what the basic tools are. That said, guitar string wire is cranky. Because it has a stiff core, you will need a little bit of patience in dealing with this material. However the result at the finish is worth the effort, I believe. Side note - I would use a cheap pair of flush cutters/ wire cutters with this wire, and DON'T USE your best pair. This wire will leave dents in your cutters.
Start with aproximately five and 1/2 inches of the twisted wire part of the guitar string. For your first bend, use your round nose pliers. Make a bend about an inch and 1/2 down your wire. Twist wire so that on top there are two visible twists. Keep your wire taut while you are bending it, so it doesn't spring apart. Cut off with a pair of wire cutters or flush cutters close to your center wire. Very carefully bend the end of the wire down with a pair of pliers so that it doesn't stick out to scratch the wearer of your bracelet. Test with your finger to make sure it doesn't stick out. Place a bead in the middle. Repeat on the other side.
Step 3: Finishing Up Your Bracelet.
There are a couple of different ways you can twist the wire for your bracelet to give it a slightly different look. You can look at the first picture, and it will show you four different styles. For my green and brass bracelet I twisted the wire three times instead of two, but this makes the links kind of long,(Approximately an inch and 1/2) especially when you use the extra brass "ball ends" as accent beads. Most people will probably want shorter links than that if used as a bracelet, since an average bracelet is about 7 inches long.
Here is my "Cheating" way of making jump rings. I used (20 gauge? I think. Packaging got tossed. :) ) I wrapped the wire around the bottom of my round nose pliers, it was about the size I wanted, and if you wrap the wire around the bottom it stays the same diameter. (Yes, I know that if you use a jeweler's saw and a wooden dowel [or whatever] it works better, but just at the moment I don't happen to have one.) Then I took my flush cutters and cut my rings two at a time, and because I am picky, I filed the ends of my jump rings flat, so they fit together better.
When I put the bracelet together, I connected two of the links with one jump ring. Then I took a second jump ring and placed it through the other jump ring as I joined the two links together, which gives it a nice little twist(See closeup photo). I like lobster claw clasps, because I feel that they work better, but they are not as elegant looking as some other forms of clasps.
I put liver of sulphur on the brass and green bracelet, just to see what would happen. It just turned it a brighter shade of bronze, really. (Liver of sulphur is a fairly common metal colorant, usually used on copper, but you can use it on silver also. It can change your copper different colors, or it will make it black, depending on how much you use.)
Last thing, if you put a colorant on your bracelet, or even if you don't, it is helpful to put a coat of floor wax(any half decent liquid floor wax, doesn't really matter, I don't think.) on your bracelet to help protect it and keep it from turning your arm green.
And that's it! Now you can go and make a treasured rememberance of that really great concert, if you can talk the guitar player out of his/her old guitar strings. :)
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