First Things First
1. 16 gauge steel wire from the hardware store. It's sometimes called "mechanic's wire" or "anchor wire". You can find it in the ropes and chains aisle.
2. A really good heavy duty pair of wire cutters. Do NOT use your fine jewelry wire cutters on this stuff. It will chew them up and spit them out!
3. Small steel block or anvil for hammering the wire.
4. Folded towel or rag to cushion the anvil. This cuts down considerably on the noise, and also helps keep the anvil from sliding around or from damaging your work surface.
5. A pair of earplugs. Believe me, you really should use these! You don't want to damage your ears with the noise of impact while you're creating something beautiful.
6. Good jewelry hammer. If you only have a household hammer that's fine. The jewelry hammers are very smooth and will not leave scratches and marks on your surfaces. But this style of work is very rough and I'm sure any good heavy hammer will do just fine. Those marks could add to the character of the piece.
7. Two sanding blocks. These are for cleaning the wire. They are foam blocks coated with sandpaper, also available at your local hardware store in the paint section.
8. Mandrel for winding wire into shapes. This can be just about anything, from wooden dowels, small bottles, handles of all kinds of things. For this necklace I use my case for my reading glasses!
Now that you have all your tools, it's a good idea to make a nice clean work area for yourself.
Let's get started!!
Step One - Cleaning the wire
Uncoil about 2-1/2 feet of wire. Place the wire between your two sanding blocks and holding them firmly with one hand, pull the wire through the blocks several times. This cleans the surface and leaves a nice dull sheen that looks like pewter.
Step Two - Winding the wire
Start winding the wire around your mandrel. Wind it all the way to the end and make the ends as flat as you can against your mandrel. Slide the coil off the mandrel.
Step Three - cutting the links
Stretch out the coil slightly so that you can get your wire cutters in between each wire to cut the links. I like to make my cut in the middle of the longer side of the oval. Cut your links one at a time.
Step Four - Finishing the ends
If you have a flush cutter then you will have one end of each link that has a nice flat cut, and the other will have a triangular point. With your flush cutters, cut the pointed end off, holding your cutter facing away from the long part of the wire, as shown below. If you don't have a flush cutter you can file the tips of the cut wire smooth.
Step Five - Hammering the links
Time to put in your earplugs! Take a link in one hand, holding it carefully so you don't pound your fingers. Start hammering the link with the flat surface of the hammer as flat against the wire as you can. Pound it just until it has flattened a bit and has a shiny sheen. You don't want to pound it too thin as that will weaken the wire.
Step Six - Making the clasp
Now all that's left is the make the clasp and assemble the necklace.
Cut a piece of wire about 6 inches long. Make a small loop at one end with round pliers, closing the loop completely.
Now make a second loop in the opposite direction, forming a lopsided "S". I use my trusty wooden dowel for this loop. Don't close the second loop.
Hammer the clasp flat, the same way you did the links. Then connect the clasp to the links, and the links to the links.
If you want to add a charm, now's the time!
And there you have it!
I hope you enjoyed this project. If you have any questions of comments, please feel free to post them!
Thanks for reading!