Copper is becoming increasingly popular because of the high cost of other metals. It's a favorite because you can use lots of techniques with it, it looks wonderful with colors like red or turquoise blue and it looks a lot better than plated metals for casual jewelry.
Copper washers and wire are available at hardware stores very inexpensively. This bracelet works up very quickly.
You will need:
- Copper washers- I like buying assortments, you'll find a link at the bottom of this article
- A punch that will work through metal or a drill and drill bits. My favorite for lightweight metals is the screw type punch made by Eurotool
- Copper wire in 24 gauge and 18 gauge
- Copper clasp, either handmade or store bought
- Pliers- needle nose and round nose
- Mandrel for making jump rings- I used the back end of a crochet hook, anything about 4 mm in diameter will work
- Wire cutters
- Permanent marker
- Rubbing alcohol
Optional supplies include things like texturing hammers or a ball hammer if you want to add texture to the washers, and an oxidizing agent like Liver of Sulfur.
This bracelet uses a small washer size and a medium sized washer, however, you can use the sizes you like. Arrange washers and beads in a line to decide how you want you bracelet to look. I used a very simple arrangement of alternating large and small with beads in the large ones.
Mark your washers with the permanent marker. For the large ones, I marked 4 spots equidistant from each other. For the small, only 2 sides. Just draw straight down the middle of the washers to make the marks.
Drill or punch the holes. If you're using a drill, use small bit. For the punch, you'll use the 1.6mm side, which is the smaller side. The ink will wipe off fairly easily. If it's stubborn, use the alcohol to help remove it.
Now cut a 2 inch piece of the 24 gauge wire, and wire the beads in place on the larger washers. I found it was easier working from the outside of the washer rather than the inside. Wrap the wire, trim close and tighten the wire with the pliers.
Make jump rings using the 18 gauge wire around your mandrel. The pliers are helpful here because the wire can be hard to turn around something that small, but it does make fairly strong jump rings. Cut them apart carefully with the wire cutters. Link your washers together, and add a clasp.
Using these techniques, all sorts of looks are possible, you can hammer or stamp the washers for interest, or instead of linking them together as a bracelet, you can link them on a necklace, or you could make a wonderful statement necklace by linking together panels of beaded washers.
Punch and Washers in the U.S.A.
Punch and Washers in the U.K.
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