Recently, my girlfriend was looking around online and found a wire hair pin that she really liked. She knew that I am in the market for some projects to work on so she had me take a look at it and see if i could make something similar. Dispite not really working with craft wire all that much I agreed and tried my hand at making a metal wire hair pin.
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Step 1: Supplies
For this project, you will need
- About 7 feet of 16 gage wire
- About 3 feet of 22 gage wire
- Wire cutters
- Circular objects (optional, I tried using them but ended up doing everything by hand anyway)
Step 2: Cut Your Wire
In the first step, cut your 16 gage wire into two 3 ft sections and one 1 ft section. These will be the two arms of the pin and the actual pin itself respectively. It is a good idea to file down where you cut the wire to remove the likelihood of cutting yourself on the sharp edge. Once the edge is safe to work with, you can proceed. Now, depending on what shapes you are trying to create, the bends that you make can be very different from mine. Also since I am not used to doing wire projects I am going to try to be as general as possible to avoid "bend it like this" steps.
Step 3: Starting Loop
For the design that I was trying to create, it started with a small loop. Along with looking decorative, it lowers the chance that the wearer will get scratched or stabbed when they try to wear the pin. With this step, I tried several different round object to try to get a small curve that I liked. Sadly, none of them worked well at all so I ended up just using my pliers and just eyeballing it. One of the main things that we both liked about the pin was its mirroring and symmetry. As a result, a second loop was made, trying hard to recreate the loop as closely as possible. I bent the wire into the general larger curve and connected the two starting loops by wrapping the 22 gage wire tightly around the meeting point. Be sure to wrap the beginning of the wire under a couple of loops to keep the wire tight while you are wrapping.
Step 4: Large Curve
Once the two starting loops were connected, I could begin bending the main curve of the pin. Since I knew that the two wires needed to both intersect while following the same sort of curve shape, I decided that it would be best to clamp the two wires together and work them as one unit rather than individually. In the following steps, you will see small scraps of wire holding the pieces together as it is being shaped. I highly recommend doing this as it keeps everything in place and secured. As I began to bend the wires to make the main curve, I allowed the wires to slide just a little bit to adjust for the differences in length. When I was satisfied by the shape, I began connecting the wires by wrapping. It took me a little while to get the process down and as a result some of the early wraps are a bit shoddy. However, you can hide your mistakes easily by compressing the entire length of the wrapping with pliers once you are finished.
Step 5: Bringing It Back Around
In this step, the wires would be curving back around and closing into one of the starting loops. This presented a bit of a challenge as the wrapping point would have three wires rather than two and it became difficult to keep them aligned. I ended up just temporarily wrapping two and allowing the outer wire to be a little more open.
Step 6: Ending Loops
Like in the beginning, I wanted to end with some loops to finish the flowing feel of the design. This step ended up being more challenging than the first since there was less room to work with and the wires were less mobile. I decided to take a little bit of a gamble and trimmed most of the excess wire away to accommodate for the cramped space. It ended up working and I was able to finish the two ending loops. When they were finished I married the two newly created loops together.
Step 7: A Little Backpeddaling (Finishing the Center Wrap)
At this point, I made a second attempt to join all three of the intersecting wires together into a single wrapping. Just as the last time, I failed to keep them aligned. So I instead removed the temporary wrapping connecting the two wires and replaced it with one that looked a bit nicer. Once the wraps were finished, I went back with the file again to remove any sharp edges that may have survived and bent the entire hair pin into a general "head shaped" curve.
Step 8: The Actual Pin
Saving the best (and easiest) step for last. Straighten a piece of wire (about 18", you can always cut the excess) and file down the edges. Keeping with the flowing design, I decided to make a swirl to make the pin a little bit more decorative. I decided that putting a sharp bend centers the swirl while also standing out a bit against all of the more gentle curves. Sadly, the sharp bend is hidden during use, oh well. It is a good idea to size and trim the excess wire off of the pin at this time. But by this point, you are all done!
Step 9: Finished!
This wire project was a fun and sometimes frustrating challenge to take on. In the end, I am glad that I did it though since it gave me a chance to try out a new project medium and do something out of my usual repertoire. I am very satisfied with the results as it is a simple but elegant accessory. Thanks for reading!