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- NEW DVD Series – Stone Setting with Cold Connections
- New DVD Series – Stone Setting with Wire
- NEW DVD Series: Introduction to Stone Setting by Kim St. Jean
- Featured Tool: Bracelet Bending Plier
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Daily Wire Tip: How to Shape a Bracelet
Daily Wire Jewelry Making Tip
I make plain wire (1/2 hard) and twisted wire (dead soft) bangles from both Sterling and Gold-filled square wire. The wrapping goes fine (with 18-gauge half round) but forming the bangle into a nice round shape is very time consuming and sometimes frustrating.
Currently I use a variety of found objects as mandrels and just wrap around them. I also do some forming with my pliers. I was wondering if a bracelet mandrel and a rawhide hammer could work? The spring in the half-hard wire is what makes me unsure of this technique. Do you think it would hold its shape if I formed a rough circle and then hammered the wire on the mandrel? Or do you have any tips or ideas for making this process easier or faster?
Many wire workers use a metal bracelet mandrel and a rawhide or nylon mallet to shape their bracelets with success. The procedure involves beginning the shape by hand, around the mandrel, by hold one end on the mandrel and bending the wire bundle around with the other hand until the bracelet can be clasped. Then the bracelet needs to be held in place with one hand while using a mallet to pound on it, working from one end toward the other.
Personally, I prefer to shape all of my bracelets around a larger, plastic medicine bottle. Hold one end of the wire bundle on the bottle and bend it around the bottle 2/3 of the way, forming half of an arch. Repeat by holding the opposite end, forming another arch, that together look like a rainbow. Then reverse the procedure used to take the curve out of the wire, slightly bending the wire with your thumb, over the index finger, in 1/4 inch increments, working form one end toward the center and then reverse the procedure from the opposite end.
My very favorite project ‘The All Wire Bangle’ is now on a DVD and explains this as well as many other useful procedures: Beginner Series DVD 1
Answer contributed by Dale “Cougar” Armstrong
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