Wire Techniques, page 1
1: Determining Mandrel Size
The mandrel wire will form the foundation of your bangle. It is the wire
that runs through the center of your beads.The length of
your mandrel wire depends on the size of your wrist, the size of the
beads you use, and how loose you like your bangle to hang. Because there
is no easy way to calculate this, I strongly urge you to make a sample
using copper wire, especially for your first few bangles. Click here for
estimated mandrel lengths to fit your wrist.
with cutting your mandrel in 14 gauge copper wire.
If you want your finished bangle to actually have a copper mandrel I recommend
you use 12 gauge wire - 14 is a little flimsy.
Please click on the small photos to see an enlarged view.
2: Hardening the Mandrel Wire
This step isn't really necessary to do with your copper sample wire.
But, remember when you cut your silver mandrel you need to work harden
the wire. This is accomplished by hammering the wire with your plastic
mallet on the steel bench block. Take note how the metal
hardens as you pound away.
Coil 36" of 18 gauge silver wire onto your copper mandrel. If you
are going to have a lot of coiling on your bangle you may need more than
36" of silver wire. Remove the silver coil from your copper mandrel
wire. It can be sliced with your wire cutters into the desired lengths for your
bangle. Click here if you need help learning
how to coil?
4: Bead Placement
String beads and coils onto the mandrel wire.
Gently curve your mandrel wire. Check to see that your design is what
you want and don't hesitate to make changes. Slip it around your wrist
and see if it looks like it just might fit your wrist. Add or subtract
beads as needed. Several years ago I studied
Ikebana (Japanese floral design) and learned that each arrangement has
the potential of achieving perfect harmony. Use design principles to
point you in the direction of harmony, but let intuition take you
the final mile.
5: Eyes Blunt cut one end of your mandrel wire and make an eye pin. Notice the
direction I have made the eye pin. You will need to make an eye
pin at the other end of your bangle. Now this is always a challenge -
how much do I cut off to achieve this? You may be pretty good at
guessing. If not, here is a tried
and true way to make your calculation. Keep track of how much you
cut off - when you subtract this length from your original copper
mandrel length, you will know how long your silver mandrel needs
6: Silver Mandrel Cut
your silver mandrel. Don't forget to work harden your silver mandrel.
Please read the Antique
and Polish section before you string your beads onto the mandrel. Make the eyes at both ends of the