I am very proud to say that my nine year old daughter came up with this idea.
About a week ago, I was trying to come up with a snowflake ornament craft to reuse some crystal beads that had once belonged to my Grandmother. I'm sitting at the kitchen table surrounded with wire, beads and my ever present Diet Coke. I tried to make a form by twisting wire together, but it kept falling apart and the centers were too bulky. Just as I was about to give up, my first born pulled up a chair and suggested that I drill holes in my soda cap, string wire through the holes, and use hot glue to hold the whole thing together. Brilliant.
First we made six-pointed snowflakes, then eight, and then this amazing 24 inch by 24 inch, 17 plastic cap, snowflake.
I love that this idea has sentimental value and is also respecting our environment.
Step 1: GATHERING SUPPLIES:
* Plastic soda caps
* Wire - 24 gauge, 20 gauge and 18 gauge
* Drill Bits - 1/16 and 5/64
* Needle-nose pliers
* Hot glue gun & Hot glue
* Glass balls - the kind you would place to put in a vase or a fish tank. I don't like the kind that are flattened because they are not symmetrical=)
Step 2: PREPARING THE PLASTIC SODA CAP:
First you want to lightly sand the soda cap to smooth out the rough edges and remove any writing on the top of the cap. Make sure to check your rewards numbers:)
Step 3: DRILLING:
We caught a break here. In the design and manufacturing process, a grid was molded into the soda cap and we can take advantage of this. For purposes of this Instructable, I have only used Diet Coke caps, because I like the silver color and I tend to accumlate a lot of them.
There are 24 sections on the cap. Start by drilling a small hole in one section with the 1/16 bit. As you can see by the picture, your hole should be near the rim of the cap. I am going against nature and making an eight pointed snowflake, so I need four wires and eight holes, which will give you an eight-pointed snowflake. The drill pattern would be: hole in section one, nothing for section two, nothing for section three, hole in section four. Nothing, nothing, and then a hole again. Repeat this process for the entire cap.
When you are done, you will have eight holes drilled.
A 5/26 drill bit will produce a hole large enough for two strands of 20 gauge wire.
These are the most common configurations that I use.
NOTE: To do a six-pointed snowflake, the pattern is hole, nothing, nothing, nothing, hole.
Step 4: WIRE:
I find that I am using mostly three gauges of wire, 24, 20, and 18. For the center of all the snowflakes I have made I use 18 gauge wire because it will give you the sturdiest ornament.
The length of wire depends on the size ornament and the number of beads you want to use.
I use the 20 and 24 gauge wire for the detail of the points. Loops are made with the 24 gauge wire with the 20 gauge being the support.
For the first time, I suggest that you use FOUR, 12 inch pieces of 18 gauge wire. Better to cut some away than to need more.
Feed the first wire through the first hole and go straight across the cap and pull it out the other side. Repeat this with all four wires. Just by eyeballing it, make sure that the center of your wire pieces are in the center of the cap.
When you are satisfied with the placement of your wires, give them a little push at the point where all the wires meet in the center of the cap. This will help hold them secure while you fill the cap with hot glue.
Step 5: SECURING WIRE WITH HOT GLUE:
The next step is simply filling in the cap with hot glue. The important thing to remember is that you fill in the space below the wire, around the wire and on top of the wire. Hot glue will level off as it cools, so don't worry if there are some bumps at first.
NOTE: Make sure to leave a little room at the top, because later we will decorate the cap with beads and the glass marbles.
Step 6: THE FUN PART:
This is the step where you get to be creative and let the artist in you rule. There is no right or wrong here, but I do try to follow one rule. Again, it's that symmetry thing. The wires that are directly across from each other, I try to do those the same.
When you finish beading a wire, curl the end with the needle-nose pliers.
Beads can be expensive, so I love when I find vintage beaded necklaces or bracelets at garage sales or flea markets. You can create a high-end look by using a few focal point beads and mixing them with inexpensive plastic craft beads.
NOTE: Metalic, transparent glass, crystal, or irridescent beads reflect light and will sparkle.
Step 7: CREATIVE MODIFICATION:
By stringing more strands of wire through the soda cap, you can create more detailed snowflakes.
For these snowflakes pictured here, you will need TWO, 12 inch pieces of 18 gauge wire. TWO, 12 inch pieces of 20 gauge wire and FOUR, 12 inch pieces of 24 gauge wire.
Use the eight-point drill pattern from the first ornament.
Insert the 18 gauge wire pieces through the cap to form an X. Each side of the next X is created by stringing ONE 20 gauge piece with TWO 24 gauge pieces.
What you should have is four holes with one wire sticking through and four holes that have three wires sticking through.
Now that your form is complete, you can create designs by beading the three wires together, then separating them to form loops or points. Just curl the ends when you are done.
NOTE: It is easier to put the 24 gauge wire through holes first and then the 20 gauge.
Step 8: MONSTER SNOWFLAKE:
This snowflake is about two feet by two feet, so it is quite large. It is also very stable because I added a web of soda caps to strengthen the wires.
To create something on this scale, you really need to create a plan. If you take time to draw out what you want your snowflake to look like, then you know where you are heading. Make sure to figure out where you are going to add smaller wires for loops, where you are going to add supporting soda caps, and where you are going to attach one point to another. It is also a good idea to plan the drill holes in your supporting soda caps. Remember, you have 24 places on each cap. You can easily make a wire go in any direction you can imagine.
For this design I started with the same center that the smaller snowflakes were made from but used 18 gauge wire pieces that were 30 inches long.
Along each point I used soda caps, essentially, like another bead. This enabled me to add smaller wires to create detail, but it also allowed me to bridge one point to another. This is vital for support.
If you look at the picture, you will see where I bridged one point to another. The two wires there were 20 gauge, so I drilled one 5/64 inch hole in the soda cap. My design called for ONE piece of 20 gauge wire and TWO pieces of 24 gauge wire to exit the cap, so I cut off one piece of the 20 gauge wire in the cap and curled the end and added the two 24 gauge pieces. The hot glue keeps it all secure.
Step 9: FINISHING TOUCH:
The final thing to do is decorate the soda caps to hide the hot glue and wires. Make a little wreath to place over the rim of the cap and then place a marble in the center. This is all held together with hot glue.
I hope you enjoyed this project and that you have a Happy Holiday.