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Geometry lesson

Add texture and dimension to simple metal shapes

SUPPLIES

Oval bracelet

  • 5 22x29mm 22-gauge sterling-silver ovals or 1x6-inch (2.5x5.2cm) 22-gauge sterling-silver sheet
  • Glad Press ‘n Seal
  • 6 inches (91cm) .056-inch-diameter twisted wire made by twisting two 20-gauge wires
  • 18 inches (45.7cm) 16-gauge wire
  • Liver of sulfur or alternate blackening agent
  • 11 or more 6mm 16-gauge jump rings
  • 2 1⁄2 inches (6.4cm) 16- or 18-gauge wire

Multishape bracelet

  • 1x6-inch (2.5x5.2cm) 22-gauge sterling-silver sheet
  • Glad Press ‘n Seal
  • 3 1⁄2 feet (1.1m) .056-inch-diameter twisted wire made by twisting two 20-gauge wires
  • Liver of sulfur or alternative blackening agent
  • 6mm 16-gauge jump ring(s)
  • 2 1⁄2 inches (6.4cm) 16- or 18-gauge wire

Tools

  • Fine-tip permanent marker
  • Nail or punch to mark holes
  • Tin snips or jeweler’s saw with 4/0 or 5/0 blade and bench pin
  • Texturing sheet and plain hammer or engraved hammer*
  • Bench block or anvil
  • Metal files
  • Drill or pin vise with #54 or #52 (.055- or .063-inch) bit
  • Diagonal wire cutters
  • Chainnose pliers
  • Roundnose pliers
  • Dapping block with punch
  • Polishing cloth

*Engrave a pattern on the head of your hammer using an engraving tool. 

INSTRUCTIONS

The simplest of geometrics—ovals, rectangles, and triangles—have inspired artists for centuries. Let the symmetrical beauty of this oval bracelet inspire you to mix your own formula for metal and wire. You may begin with precut metal shapes and concentrate on refining your wireworking skills, or you can cut your own unusual shapes, add interesting textures, and make freeform connectors. (See “Multishape Bracelet,” below, for a version that uses three geometric shapes.)

Create the metal shapes. If you’re using purchased oval metal shapes, skip this step. Otherwise, place a piece of Glad Press ‘n Seal™ plastic on top of the oval pattern, below. Use a fine-tip permanent marker to trace the oval five times onto the plastic; mark the positions of the dots, too. (Editor’s Note: The oval bracelet shown, is 7 1⁄4 inches [18.4cm] long. Either add another oval or adjust the spiral connectors for a longer bracelet.) Peel up the plastic and press it onto 22-gauge sheet metal. Using tin snips or a jeweler’s saw with a 4/0 or 5/0 blade and a bench pin, cut out your shapes. Use a nail or punch to make a small indentation at each dot. Remove the plastic from the metal. 

Geometry lesson 1
Step 1
Geometry lesson 2
Step 2
1–2. Texture the metal shapes. To make the surface of the metal shapes more interesting, place a texturing sheet on top of the shapes, then hammer them. Or, you can use an engraved hammer and pound the shapes without the texture sheet. File the edges smooth.
Geometry lesson 3
Step 3
Geometry lesson 4
Step 4
3–4. Drill the holes in the metal shapes. The center and end holes should snugly accommodate the twisted wire; use a #54 (.055-inch) bit for these holes. The side holes will accommodate jump rings, which should fit loosely to allow for movement; use a #52 (.063-inch) bit for these holes.
Geometry lesson 5
Step 5
Geometry lesson 6
Step 6
5–6. Coil the twisted wire. Cut a 6-inch (15.2cm) piece of twisted wire. Using a chainnose pliers, make a right-angle bend 1⁄4 inch (6.4mm) from one end. Insert the bent end into the center hole. Following the lines of the metal shape, use your fingers to spiral the twisted wire. When you’ve reached the other twisted-wire hole, bend the wire at a right angle and slide it through the hole. Trim the tail to 1⁄4 inch (6.4mm).
Geometry lesson 7
Step 7
Geometry lesson 8
Step 8
7–8. Form the connector spirals. Cut a 2 1⁄2-inch (6.4cm) piece of 16-gauge wire. Use your roundnose pliers to form the wire into a spiral. Cut off any excess and file the end. Add texture and harden the wire by lightly hammering the spiral. Bend the outer end of the spiral flush with the spiral to close it. Make a total of five small spirals.
Geometry lesson 9
Step 9
Geometry lesson 10
Step 10

9. Curve the shapes. To keep the twisted-wire spirals with their respective metal shape, remove the spiral, work with the metal shape, then replace the spiral. Place the metal shape, face down, in the largest hole of a dapping block and use the punch to press on the metal shape. This will cause the shape to gently cup, creating an attractive convex profile.

Add patina. If desired, use liver of sulfur or a blackening agent to add depth to the metal pieces, the twisted-wire spirals, the smaller connector spirals, and the jump rings. Polish to remove the patina on the top layers, so it shows only in the crevices.

10. Join the spirals and shapes. Insert the spirals into the holes drilled in their corresponding shapes. Bend the tails over on the back of the metal shape and trim the tails short, bending and flattening them with a tap of a hammer to keep them in place.

Geometry lesson 11
Step 11
11–13. Make the clasp. Cut a 2 1⁄2-inch (6.4cm) piece of 16- or 18-gauge wire. Turn a loop on one end. Using your roundnose pliers, form the wire into a hook. Trim any excess wire and turn back the tip of the wire. Hammer the entire clasp on a bench block to strengthen it.
Geometry lesson 12
Step 12
Geometry lesson 13
Step 13

14--15. Join the pieces to form a bracelet. Open a jump ring, slide it into a side hole of one metal shape and the loop of the hook clasp. Close the jump ring. Open another jump ring and slide it through the other side hole. Link it through one of the connector spirals and close the jump ring. Join the other side of the connector spiral to another metal shape using a jump ring. Continue until the bracelet is the desired length, ending with one or more jump rings.

Tumble the bracelet if desired.

Geometry lesson 14
Step 14
Geometry lesson 15
Step 15

 

Multishape bracelet

Make the 7 1⁄4-inch (18.4cm) multishape bracelet following the instructions for the oval bracelet, with the exceptions noted below.

Create the metal shapes. Trace one rectangle, one triangle, and two ovals on the Press ‘n Seal™. File the edges, rounding the points.

Drill the holes. The center holes and the holes placed off-center at one end of the oval pieces need to fit snugly around the twisted wire. The remaining holes at the ends of each piece will also accommodate twisted wire, but these holes should be larger, which will allow for some movement.

Form the twisted wire. On the more angular pieces, you may need to use chainnose or flatnose pliers to form the corners of the spiral. After you slide the twisted wire into an end hole of the triangle and rectangle, trim the twisted wire 1⁄2 inch (1.3cm) from the edge of the metal shape. For the ovals, slide the twisted wire into the off-center hole. Do not trim the excess at this time.

Form the connector spirals. The connector spirals are made from twisted wire with a loop at one end to replace the jump ring. Cut a 4-inch (10.2cm) piece of 20-gauge twisted wire. Start at one end and form a three-round spiral. After the third round, bend the wire at a right angle away from the spiral. Trim the wire, leaving a 1⁄2-inch (1.3cm) tail. Form the tail into a plain loop, perpendicular to the spiral. Make a total of three spirals.

Join the spirals and shapes. Bend the tail in the center hole back and tap it lightly with a hammer. For the triangle and rectangle, bend the 1⁄2-inch tail (1.3cm) at one end away from the shape. Form the tail into a plain loop, perpendicular to the shape, to link to the connector spiral. For the ovals, bring the remaining wire from the wrong side through the off-center hole to the right side in the nearby centered hole at the end. Trim the wire to 1⁄2 inch (1.3cm) and make a plain loop; keep the cut end toward the wrong side of the shape and the loop perpendicular to the shape.

Join the pieces to form the bracelet. Open the loop at one end of an oval shape, slide the hook clasp on the loop, and close the loop. Open the loop on a connector spiral, slide the open hole at the other end of this oval shape on the loop, and close the loop. Open the loop on the rectangle shape, link it through the outer round of the previously joined spiral, and close the loop. Repeat in this manner, adding the triangle and the oval. Insert a jump ring through the remaining hole in the oval, linking additional jump rings if needed for length.

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