Sunday, September 13, 2015

Tutorial Time - Making Copper Wire Ornament Hangers

Been a while since I've written a this is LONG OVER DUE!  I was looking for an alternative to the plain ole ribbon or hemp I was using to string up my ceramic ornaments.  So I started playing around with some 18g copper wire I had laying around and VOILA!  I think the end result turned out rather nicely. This tutorial will be VERY photo centric with captions.   ENJOY

Materials: 18g copper wire, ruler, round nose pliers, flat needle nose pliers, wire cutters, and an object to wrap the wire around.  I used a pottery tool I had available to get the right size I wanted for the hanger. 
STEP 1 (not pictured) - Cut the wire into approximately 6" lengths.  This size worked well for my purposes.  Adjust the length based on your needs and trial and error.

STEP 2 - Ensure the end of the wire is flush cut, not beveled.  Grasp the end of the wire at the very tip of the round nose pliers and make a small loop.  To get a nice even loop, grasp the wire at the very end (so it's not hanging over the top of the pliers.)  Rotate your hand/wrist towards you a quarter of a turn, release the wire being careful not to move the position on the shaft of the pliers, rotate the pliers back towards the wire, grasp again and rotate towards you another quarter turn.  Repeat this process until the end of the wire meets the tail.

STEP 3 - Grab the tool you will be using to make the hanging portion of your ornament hanger.  In my case, I used a tool often used to hollow out solid lumps of clay.  Hold the end of the wire against the tool with the edge of the loop you just made facing the tool.  Wrap the wire around the object until you have about a finger's width of space left between the tail of the wire and where the loop is.  When you pull the tool out of the wire loop, it will widen the larger loop you just made, which makes it "just right" for what we're going for.
STEP 4 - Grasp the tail of the wire in your fingers approximately parallel with where the smaller loop is now positioned.  Gently bend the wire down so that it makes a sharp bend in the wire.  It should look like a question mark at this point.
STEP 5 - I used my thumb to gauge this next distance.  Place your thumb at the edge of the bend you just made.  On the opposite end of your thumb, grasp the wire with your round nose pliers at the largest part of the pliers.  Bend the wire around until it makes a full "U", or so that the two ends of the wire are now parallel to one another.
STEP 6 - Grasp the end of the wire you just bent up with the flat needle nose pliers slightly above the round needle nose pliers and bend the wire back down.  In the pictures, I had grabbed the wire right above the pliers but ended up needing a tad more space.
STEP 7 - Now that the wire is bent on top of itself, use the flat nose pliers to tighten up the bend and flatten it out.  In the images the wire is on top of itself.  In subsequent renditions, I rotated the wire so the bend ends up being side by side.  It makes the spiral we make later on sit more flat on ornament hanger.
STEP 8 - Now grasp the end of the tale of the wire.  Remember that loop we made at the beginning?  Do it again. :)  Then we're just going to keep on winding until we make a spiral.  Once you've made the small loop, use your finger to guide the wire as you wrap.  Once you get 1.5 loops, you will need to grasp the wire with the flat needle nose pliers to keep wrapping (continue guiding the wire with your finger).
STEP 9 - Once you spiral the wire all the way up to the bend, it gets a tad tricky.  You want to continue the spiral, but putting the spiral over this bend.  The spiral hides the bend in the wire and adds just that little extra "something" when you put the ornament on.  Once you get the spiral over this bend in the wire, use the flat needle nose pliers to compress everything.  It makes it nice and tight and pretty.  It also hides the pierced hole in the ornament.  Win-Win

STEP 10 - String on your ornament!  
BONUS - For a little extra flair, I added a cute reindeer charm to this Santa Boot ornament.  Take your flat nose pliers and turn the small loop at the top perpendicular to the rest of the hanger.  Gently open it up and slide on your charm.

Want one of these?  I have 10 available in my Etsy Shop. :)
It will take some time and fidgeting to the spiral to look the way you want.  With subsequent ornament hangers, I was able to get the spiral to completely hide the pierced hole in the ornament.  Just takes a little bit of fiddling with the wire spiral, and how much wire you actually need for that *U* where the ornament sits.

Have fun!  Let me know how yours turn out in the comments below!  Looking forward to seeing your own renditions of this simple ornament hanger. :)

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