Message Board Chat Bookstore My Delphi Polymer Clay Central

Wire Techniques, page 1

Step 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. 

Proceed 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.


Step 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.


Step 3: Coiling
  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


Step 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.

Step 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 to be. 

Step 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 mandrel.

Next Page - Wire Techniques 2


Polymer Clay Central Home Page