I want to share how to make an easy copper necklace with you that is stunning. Unfortunately I am not a photographer, I use my old iphone to take pics, and the detail is not captured but this tutorial should provide enough information and detail for you to play a bit on your own.
And please don't mind the less than pristine backgrounds, I'm photographing in my studio.
I am not going to list the supplies and materials, but am going to show you my step by step process in creating this piece, which will show the materials along the way.
I started with a piece of copper tubing purchased from Home Depot for a few dollars. The Letter M refers to wall thickness, I use this one because it is easier to work with, you will also see some that are marked with the Letter L, which is a thicker wall, so it requires more power to pound. Stick with M if you have a choice.
This was purchased at Home Depot as well for around $10 to cut the pieces for the
necklace. I have cut a total of 7 pieces.
To make the cuts you just slip the pipe into the opening, slightly tighten it using the knob at the bottom, then twist the pipe. The blade will begin to cut into the pipe. After a turn or two, tighten the knob a bit more, twist and turn, repeating these steps until the piece is completely cut through. It's very easy to do!
Once all the pieces were cut, I filed down the rough edges on each side. One of my favorite tools is shown there to the right. I picked it up in a thrift store for $1.99, it is meant for your nails, but works perfectly to sand metal, It is battery operated, and has both sanding and buffing heads. I use the sanding head mostly. It is light weight and does the job fast. If you don't have something like this, a metal jewelry file or steel wool works just fine.
The next step is to smash each of your cut pieces flat. I use an old steel bench block to pound on with a heavy duty hammer. Strike a blow, then rotate the piece, strike again, rotate, repeat a few times, then flip the metal over and do about the same amount of strikes you did on the front. Remember to rotate your piece as you work, and continue to work from front to back until you get it as flat as a pancake.
Don't worry that it is not a perfectly flat circle. How boring that would be! You are aiming for a unique piece with character.
The next step is to texturize the piece. Here is my favorite hammer for that. I use the edge of the flat side of the hammer and it creates little grooved lines in the copper. Texturize both sides of all of your pieces.
Another great reason to put texture into your metal, besides the cool look, is that it hides any imperfections or markings.
Next with a pair of flush cutters, cut pieces of 18 gauge wire to approximately 5 1/2 " . This will be used to make the connections for each of your smooshed metal tubes. You will need 2 pieces per tube.
Take your wire and bend it in half onto one side of your flattened tube. Be sure to use your flat nose pliers to get the wire nice and tight against the tube.
Use your round nose pliers to form a loop, centered above the wrap
I do not go for a perfect wrap, I like the sort of messy wrap look since I prefer my pieces to be organic and earthy in look, but if that is not your style, go for the perfect wrap around your loop.
Now we are ready to make the chain links to connect each of the tubes. I choose to use a 12 gauge copper wire because I wanted a heavier look to go with the tubes than 18 gauge wire would give. A word of warning- 12 gauge wire requires a lot more manpower to work with!
After making all the links, hammer to add texture to each side.
I use this Liver of Sulfur gel, I get it at Michael's. All you do is get a bowl of very hot water, add a few drops of the gel, mix it up a bit, then add your pieces into the water. The longer you keep the copper in the solution, the darker it gets, so don't walk away, keep any eye on it. Once it gets to where you want it, remove it from the solution, and rinse it well in soapy water. Use gloves to protect yourself
You will want to patina everything together so that your finish is consistent.
I love the richness of color that liver of sulfur gives to copper
How you can do this is to grab a piece of 12 gauge wire, flush cut the end, then file it smooth. Once that is done, use the round nose pliers to form a loop. Once the loop is complete, take your pliers again and form the curve, then cut the wire at the length you want it. File the ends smooth again. Texturize both sides.
Using the Dremel, to buff each piece both front and back.
Once everything is buffed I coat each one with a finishing wax and buff again.
I used Miniwax because that is what I had on hand. This helps to keep the patina looking good. Sometimes I finish a piece with a clear acrylic sealer, but opted not to do that with this particular necklace.
Attach a chain link between each of the copper tube pieces. Here you need to use a lot of strength to get these links fully closed, the 12 gauge wire requires a lot of arm power
If you make one yourself, I would love to hear from you and see a picture of what you have created.
This necklace is available at my Etsy shop.