A couple of years ago, I saw a picture of a wire tree here on Instructables. However, I didn't have the resources to build a big one. So I built a small one. It stands on my shelf, a mere 2cm high. This is simply a continuation: make tree-like ear-rings .
So here's my take on wire trees.
Also, since I bought a new camera recently, and I love macro photography....
Step 1: Tools and Materials
These tree's are really simple to make. All you need is:
- A knife
- A pair of scissors
- A pin
- 6cm electrical wire.(medium thickness, and this is each, so for a pair, you may want 12cm wire)
Step 2: Strip the Wire
Obviously you need to remove the insulation from the wire. Rather than do it all at once, do it little by little, in 5-10mm sections.
The way I do it is with a sharp knife:
- Lay the wire on a cutting mat
- Touch the knife to the wire 5-10mm from the end
- Apply very little pressure on the knife, and roll the piece of wire, so that it cuts all the way around. You only want to cut the plastic.
- Use your fingernails to pull the section you cut off.
If you cut a couple of strands, it's not a big deal. You only need 5 full length ones.
Don't remove the insulation completely. Leave a small section to hold the wires together till you need them.
Step 3: Make the Main Ring
The 'base' of the earring is the ring around the tree. Everything attaches to it, so it makes sense to build it first.
1) Pluck out 5-7 strands of wire from your bundle
2) Lay them so the ends don'e end at the same place (~5mm between each strands tip and the next one)
3) Twist the strands together. Remember that the tips are now staggered, so you only have to twist the middle bit
4) Bend it into the ring, with the ends overlapping. Ideally each strand should go around a single time
5) Twist the ends into the bundle, holding the ends together.
Because the ends are each a couple of mm apart, there is no beginning or end to the ring. It is just a twisted ring of wire with the ends evenly distributed.
I had issues keeping the ends tucked in, so I took another strand of wire, and twisted it around at a much steeper angle. This held the tips in nicely. See the last couple images.
Step 4: The Tree Trunk and Roots
Grab the bundle of remaining wires. Don't take them out of their insulation yet though.
Twist them together over a 1cm segment about 2cm from one of the ends. Do this by digging in your nails to give it a nice crisp start and end.
There you go. You just made a tree-trunk.
Time for the roots.
- Divide the shorter end of the bundle into six small bundles
- Twist each of these smaller bundles together
Now we can mount this to the frame.
- Flatten the roots so they are lying in a flat plane
- Starting with one of the edge roots, hold the tree in place, and give it a twist around the ring
- Keep twisting working up the ring
Try keep the roots to the lower third of the ring, otherwise it gets hard to differentiate roots and branches later on. (hint: roots are shorted!)
Continue with the other roots.
I find the pin useful to forcing the end through gaps between existing roots, as well as forcing the ends closer to the ring when you've gone around as many times as you can.
Don't do all the twists on top of each other, work the twists around the ring
Actually, just look at the images. It's pretty self-explanatory.
Step 5: The Branches
Pretty much the same as the roots.
- Remove the insulation
- Separate into bundles (this time have some size variation, all the way from two strands up to 6 or so)
- Twist the bundles into branches
- Twist a couple of the branches together for short distances to get branching branches.
- Attach to the ring in the same way as for the roots. Chances are the branches wire is longer, so I use the scissors to cut excess wire down to a manageable level.
The exception to the last step is the very top branch. This will turn into the ring we'll use to attach the tree to an earhook. So leave it long and sticking up vertically.
Step 6: The Small Ring
This is really simple. doesn't really deserve a step.
Take your remaining long branch, bend it round in a loop, and treat it like a branch coming from the outside of the ring.
Step 7: Where It All Went Wrong
Now, these things are delicate. They would survive as an earring, but if you made one as a pendant, it would unravel.
To rectify this, I decided I would apply some solder, and let it wick into the strands. This should hold things together and make it pretty strong, right?
So, using lead-free solder, I set out to get the solder into the tree's. It did go in, but left a rather ugly finish, because it didn't soak in as much as leaded solder does.
I thought this was just a heat issue, so I brought out my propane torch and ran it over them for a couple of seconds.
They are small, and the solder melted instantly. The wire also got pretty hot. And you know what happened? Well, I haven't a clue.
The metal is now very brittle, and has a completely different texture and color. I think the lead-free solder alloyed with the wire, creating a useless, not very pretty thing.
So there went an hour or so of work.
But at least I now have an excuse to make some more.
Step 8: The Remade Earrings
Done in copper