One of my favorite things about going to bead shows for me are the bowls of "seconds" beads from local lampworkers. Seconds are imperfect beads, experiments in color and shapes that are sold for considerably less than their more successful counterparts that are laid out in black velvet trays.
I love those beads, and never come out of a bead show without any, and usually with several. My 16 and 20 year old come with me to the bead shows and have since they were little. They enjoy picking their special seconds that either they or I put into a piece of jewelry or a bookmark for them.
When my son was about 15 I noticed that he would fidget with his necklaces or with the buttons on his shirt sometimes, so I designed necklaces with that in mind. The beads on them spin freely, and they are chosen for tactile enjoyment. If you look at the beads next to the necklace, you can see some perfect beads for that with bumps and swirls. The fidget necklaces start with a bead and wire, and I "doodle" with the wire while watching tv to create the necklace.
- To make the necklace above, you will need:
- 18 gauge copper wire
- 24 gauge copper wire
- big bead
- mandrels- 2, one for the bail, one for the design.*
- needle nose pliers
- round nose pliers
*I used skewer for the bail, and a pill bottle for the main part of the pendant. Be creative and look at all the bottles and other shapes you have around regularly!
Cut a 10 inch piece of the 18 gauge wire. About half way, make 2 90 degree bends in the wire about 1/8-1/4 of an inch apart. Wrap the wire around the small mandrel to make a loop.
Use the pliers to bend the wire around post made by the bends. Then curve the ends of wire around the bigger mandrel. I have a bottle that I've marked so I can match up the ends on the other side. In the diagram, the bail is the same direction as the pendant, refer to the photo and you'll see it's actually perpendicular. Bend on side of the wire at 90 degrees and wrap the other wire around it and trim close. The wire left long is turned in a flat open spiral.
Now cut 3 pieces of the 24 gauge soft copper wire. 1 5 inches, the other 2 are 20 inches. Thread them centered through the bead and wrap the ends of the short wire around the other two, then center it in the pendant and wrap the ends of the short wire to place the bead.
Now you wind the rest of the wire around the frame. Cinch down the ends securely and make sure there are no loose wires to snag on anything.
For my necklace, there was still more movement than I wanted in it, so I added two more wires on either side wrapped around the top, middle wire, and bottom.
You can darken it using Liver of Sulfur, and there are instructions in my Beginning Metal Stamping article.
I put it on an adjustable cord using wrapped sliding knots
Copper is one of my favorite wires to work with because it's inexpensive, can be darkened and hammered. It works a lot like sterling does but for a lot less so I can experiment with it and decide if I want to spend the money on silver.
Buying it on spools, it's about .34 USD per yard. The second link is for a smaller hobby amount of copper wire, and it's a bit over 1.00 USD a yard. Buying the hardware copper is way less expensive!
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