Tag Archives: copper

Wreath of copper leaves

Crafty Challenge 11: Copper Fall Wreath

Hello Again! I feel like I have been incommunicado for a very long time. All the Crafty Sisters got together last weekend for our latest Crafty Challenge. This challenge was to make a fall wreath.

Wreath of copper leaves
The wreath is 15″ tall and 13″ wide.

Due to everything in our house breaking down all at the same time, I was under a bit of a money crunch so I knew whatever I made, I had to have all the supplies already on hand. It helped that as soon as we started talking about a fall wreath, I was picturing a leaf wreath made of copper. And as some of you might remember, we did that wonderful Copper Crafty Challenge a while back and I still had a lot of the copper discs leftover from the copper necklace I made. The discs are remarkably easy to cut with heavy-duty scissors and I knew that they would make beautiful leaves.

Here you can really see the oily effect that burnishing the leaves created.

So, I started cutting and cutting and cutting. I had some very interesting dimples in my fingers from the force of cutting the copper discs, but I had some amazing maple leaf shapes. I also knew that I wanted to burnish the leaves to create different colors. I pulled out my trusty propane torch and proceeded to burn the crap out of one of the leaves. I learned very quickly that you only wanted to brush the copper leaves with heat very quickly. If you wanted a deeper color, you just kept running the torch over the copper quickly and letting it cool a second and repeat to the color desired. Thankfully, the blackened portions just wipe off and you can burnish again to your hearts content. I then bent the leaves very gently with a pair of pliers to give them some depth.

I did not coat the copper leaves with anything as I really will like the aging effect on the copper.

I made the ring the leaves are attached to as well, the wreath frame that is. I had a length of copper pipe (again left over from the Copper Challenge that I never used) and I ran a wire through the pipe and bent it all in a circle. I used the wire to make a hanger at the top of the frame. It turned out that the length of pipe was not long enough, but as I originally planned to let the pipe show through in some places, I would just make sure the leaves covered the wire parts of the wreath frame. I then used one of my hammers and my anvil to flatten the pipe to make the leaves attach better.

Here you can see the depth of the copper leaves.

I knew that my personal soldering abilities were not good enough to be able to place the leaves exactly where I wanted them so I switched my connecting component to hot glue. This worked out very well and I was able to place the leaves precisely where I wanted each one to go. I then flipped the wreath over and poured hot glue all over the frame where it connected to the leaves. This gave the wreath lots of stability and now absolutely nothing moves.

Photo showing wreath hanging from my loft
This is where I hang my wreathes in the house.

I am so happy with my wreath and it is now hanging in my house and just looks gorgeous. I did have a good laugh at the unveiling though. You will find out when more wreaths are posted! Amazingly, working with all that cut copper, I never did cut myself. This may be the first project in a while that didn’t end with a few bandaged fingers.

Happy Crafting,

Kristin!

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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.
Hammered Copper Pendant Necklace Crafty Sisters

Crafty Challenge 6: Verdigris Copper Pendant and Hammered Chain

Hammered Copper Pendant Necklace Crafty Sisters
Hammered copper necklace with verdigris patina.
Copper Necklace Pendant Hammered Crafty Sisters
Hammered copper pendant necklace.

Cheri: It felt so good to get back to a challenge after our winter hiatus. And this challenge couldn’t have been better. I think we were all a little excited and a bit apprehensive when this project was initiated. After playing with the copper for awhile, knew whatever I made, it would most likely be jewelry. This is when I let the metal do the talking. I had a ball peen hammer and a small vice with a flat edge and I went to town banging on some copper. I was pleasantly surprised with how pretty the copper became after being hammered. Metal can lose what small elasticity it has in it after it has been work-hardened so I really wanted to make sure that I did not overdo the hammering or it would become brittle. After I had mastered the shape I wanted, I decided to do some research on adding a patina. I came across an article that said I could add blue to the copper by suspending the piece over a bowl of ammonia in a closed container. This was super easy, just be careful with the odor, it can be a bit overwhelming.  The patina on my piece took about 12 hours to achieve and I think it came out pretty nice.

Copper Rings Hammered Crafty Sisters
Hammered copper rings with button-hole style closure-clasp.

I punched holes with a hole punch and used copper wire to embellish the pendant and make the chain. I also hammered the copper wire to give it a rustic look. The rings were made by hammering a small strip of copper and then coiling it around a mandrel. I put two holes in the upper end and two holes in the under part. This had a button hole effect when I used a bead to bring the two pieces together and basically tied them with brass wire.

The copper turned out to be an awesome material to work with and I look forward to making many more pieces.

Cheri

Crafty Sisters Hammered Copper Pendant Necklace
Hammered verdigris copper pendant and necklace.
View of copper star-burst necklace from the bottom of the pendant.

Crafty Challenge Six: Copper Star-burst Necklace

View of copper star-burst necklace from the bottom of the pendant.

We are back, baby!

After an additional week due to some time constraints, our Copper Crafty Challenge is complete. We had our final reveal among the Crafty Sisters this afternoon, and boy, we really seem to be at the top of our game for this challenge. I cannot wait for you to see all the projects. We are going to post one project a day, so keep coming back!

I waffled quite a bit on this challenge. I make a lot of jewelry and I wasn’t sure if that was where I wanted to go with this particular project. After a week and a half of indecision, I decided, why mess with a good thing, jewelry it would be.

Copper star-burst pendant and leaf chain.

Using a compass I played Spirograph on a copper disc and cut out the star burst pendant. Amazingly, the copper is thin and soft enough that you can cut the discs with heavy duty scissors. I hammered the star on both sides to give it some depth. I then curled the points of the star (I couldn’t see any other way to really blunt the points. Those suckers were sharp!) to keep from puncturing anyone wearing it or snagging your clothes. I attached the light green crystal bead in the middle with wire and did some wire-wrapped crystals (also light green in color) for the dangles at the bottom of the pendant.

Close-up of the star-burst pendant.

The chain is made up of hammered copper ovals and more wire-wrapped crystals. I did  make all the jump rings and the clasp out of wire as well. The wire is standard 18 gauge copper wire from the hardware store.

All the hammering was done on an anvil that my dad made me for Christmas several years ago and with a series of hammers that he made for me 2 years ago. I started all the holes with a punching awl then enlarged then with a Dremel tool and a diamond tipped drill bit. I filled all the edges with a mini file to be sure that you wouldn’t slice yourself open on the sharp edges caused by the scissors.

The star-burst was actually the second pendant I made for this necklace. I wasn’t all that happy with the first one I had made. I showed it around and the other Crafty Sisters and my M-I-L (who joined us from my house this week) thought it was great, which just goes to show how hyper-critical I can be about my own work.

First copper pendant I made.
This pendant is made of a copper plumbing pipe fitting.

Side view of the alternate copper pendant.

I did make a pair of earrings to go along with the necklace (my usual M.O.) and I think they turned out rather well.

Copper leaf earrings.

I really like how the hammered ovals came out looking like leaves. The hammering causes the copper to curl a little and I liked the affect so much that I left it and used the same affect in the star-burst pendant.

Close-up of the hammered copper leaf.

That is my completed project! It was a fairly easy process all in all and one that I found rather fun (until my arm got tired of all the hammering). I cannot wait for the next challenge. In the meantime, I have promised this necklace to my M-I-L and and am going to take the earrings apart to make a matching bracelet instead as she does not have pierced ears. So, back to my craft table to work on some more copper!

Happy Crafting!

Kristin

This post is featured on Todays Creative Blog.

Crafty Challenge Six: Copper Discs

Spring is here and around Indiana, it is running full steam already. In celebration, we are gearing up for our sixth Crafty Challenge. This round is all about copper.

In another bid to help clean out the garage, Loryn found some really nifty copper discs hiding in a box. (This was how our Wooden Spool Challenge started.) These are cut-outs from sheet metal and their origin is unknown. (Really, where does half the stuff in garages come from? It is like the inverse of the dryer phenomenon.)

Photo of 4 stacks of copper discs.
Four roughly even stacks for the four Crafty Sisters!

We each got our own stack (we didn’t actually count them out this time, there were too many) and you could just see all our brains buzzing already.

I thought it was really funny after we divided them up, we all took a stack and then remembered that we would need a photo for the blog. We all placed our stack just so and made sure to pick up the same one we set down. We certainly get proprietary over our craft materials don’t we?

One pile of copper discs fanned out.
This is actually Lynne's pile of copper discs. The rest of us snapped ours up pretty quickly.

So, we now have two weeks (well, at this point 12 days) to come up with a craft that makes use of these bendy little circles.

Stay tuned for the final results on April 8th! I can’t wait to see what we all come up with!

Happy crafting!

Kristin