Monday, September 12, 2016

How to: Copper Cuff

By Cindy Goldrick

Since last week's blog was a "How To" I decided to offer another one this week. I designed this cuff over four years ago and I still love it and wear it a lot. It has an Etruscan (or maybe Celtic?) feel to it, and looks like you plucked it from a horde on display at a museum. 

Here's how to make one of your own. 

Start with a sheet of 30 gauge copper from which you will measure and cut a piece from it that measures 2.5" high and a length suitable for your wrist. Mine measures 8".

Flush cut two pieces of 16 gauge copper wire at least 1 inch longer than your copper sheet. Fold 1/8" over on each short end to ensure you have a smooth edge that won't snag your clothes or scratch you. I use nylon jaw pliers to confirm that fold tightly. 

Mark 1/8" in on each long side, lay your wire along the edge of your copper (make sure you leave the same amount of overhang at each end) and, using pliers if necessary, start to fold the copper over the wire. Fold the copper over the wire a second time. 

Repeat on the opposite side. 

Now you can decorate the cuff with stamps. My favourite one is the vortex or swirl you see on my cuff here but you might want stars or leaves or's where you personalize your cuff. Stamp randomly and not too hard on this very thin copper or you can break through the metal and create sharp edges. Of course, you could just cut circles randomly across the copper then back the piece with copper mesh, leather, ultra suede or anything you want to peek through the holes you've created. 

Once the stamping is done, use your round nose pliers then flat nose pliers to create and finish even coils at each end of the bracelet. See the picture below as a guide. 

I shaped my cuff around a mandrel, using a rawhide hammer to do so and to work harden the copper as well. 

To really make the stamped pattern show up, I applied liver of sulphur to the cuff then used steel wool to bring up the contrast and sealed with Renaissance Wax. You could apply Gilders Paste as well for colour. 

Easy, right? If you create a cuff like this or a variation on it, please post a pic below. Happy creating!

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