Monthly Archives: April 2012

Copper mobile close up

Crafty Challenge 6: Twisted Disk Copper Mobile

Copper mobile close up

Loryn: This copper challenge was intriguing for me, as the only metalworking I’ve done is twisted wire jewelry. As soon as I saw the copper pieces, I immediately thought of doing a mobile in the style of Alexander Calder.

Full mobile picture

I started out making cut pieces like the leaf-shapes in many of Calder’s mobiles. I had cut about ten, and my hands were starting to hurt, when I had an idea to try making three dimensional shapes out of the disks.

Round copper mobile shape

Each shape is made from two disks cut to fit together.

Two simple pieces can make a huge variety of shapes. Read on to see how they are made.

Steps to make the mobile parts:

Two disks with first step completed

Make a cut to the center of each disk. Scissors work surprisingly well on this lightweight copper.

Slide the two disks together.

Slide the two disks together on the cuts that you just made. Keep sliding them together until the edges of the circles are even.

Then, start bending the cut pieces into interesting shapes. I started bending the pieces so that the two pieces wouldn’t fall apart. Turning each cut piece in the opposite direction creates a really stable object. This copper (leftover from a manufacturing process 20 years ago) is very hard to bend, so it makes really nice curves. I just kept playing around with different bends on each shape!

To hang each piece, I just used a nail to punch a hole. The mobile wires are made from 18 gauge galvanized wire, with a 12 gauge wire for the upper piece, which holds the most weight. I have a lot of disks left, so I’ll be making lots more of these twisted disk sculptures!

–Loryn

Copper Bracelet Hammered Crafty Sisters

Crafty Challenge 6: Hammered Cuff Bracelet

Copper Bracelet Hammered Crafty Sisters
Hand-hammered cuff bracelet.

Lynne:

I have been accused of shooting down the last few ideas for crafty challenges, so when Loryn came up with the idea of using some scrap copper discs in the garage I couldn’t very well argue. I have had those discs for the last 20 years and had never been able to find a good use for them and now I was backed into using them in a challenge.

I searched the internet and found this video on YouTube. The most exciting thing to me was the minimal need for specialty tools. Of course, when you are not using many tools, skill is always a bigger factor in the finished project. I pulled out a vise, a wrench and a ball peen hammer and set to. I will tell you now that ear plugs are a very good idea.

We have another sister who lives out of state and she was here visiting. She had brought some tools and a willingness to hammer out some ideas. Together the two us managed to hammer a small bowl with turned edges. Turning that outer edge under is not so easy but I found that brute strength is not the best idea. A small hammer with a light touch goes a long way as a hard hammer hit will put a tear in the copper.

Copper Craft Challenge Crafty Sisters Hammered
The diameter of our discs was jut 3" so the bowl is very small.
Copper Craft Challenge Crafty Sisters Hammered
Here is the bowl as seen from the bottom showing the turned edge.

I folded copper, hammered copper, cut copper and cursed copper, but I could not manage to make any progress until last Saturday. I just seemed to make one good hit with the hammer and the copper began to do what I wanted it to do. Failure does lead one to success as long as you keep trying.

I ended up cutting a rectangle from two copper discs for the two halves of a cuff bracelet. I turned the long edges under and then hammered the finished rectangles into a roughly oval wrist-fitting shape.

One of my failed projects was a ring that was too wide for my finger and I had tossed it into the growing scrap heap. However, when I needed a bridge to hold the two bracelet halves together the too wide ring was perfect. All I had to do was hammer the ring flat, punch holes in it, punch matching holes in the other two pieces and connect them all with paper fasteners (not really sturdy but the deadline was twenty minutes away) and there was my bracelet.

For my first piece of hammered metal work I was extremely happy, and despite all my complaining I have become intrigued with the process and am going to do some more work with copper.
Lynne

Hammered Copper Cuff Bracelet Crafty Sisters
Hammered copper cuff bracelet.