With just a few practice pieces of solder wire, you'll discover how easily you can create beautiful handmade ornaments. For all the projects shown here, start with these basic materials, then let your hands and imagination do the rest.
For all ornaments
For glittered ornaments
For beaded ornaments
Glittering Ornaments Note: The snowflake and candle designs are created in sections and soldered together (the solder locations look like silver dots). The reindeer is soldered at the base of the antlers, and the tree requires no soldering. 1. Download the free pattern for this project. Downloading requires Adobe Acrobat software.)
2. Cut and bend the wire into the needed shapes following the pattern and using the pliers, then solder together (see Bending and Soldering Techniques). 3. Lay the ornament onto a paper towel and spray with adhesive spray, then move it to a clean piece of paper and sprinkle with glitter. 4. Allow 24 hours to dry; then apply two coats of clear acrylic gloss spray.
Beaded Ornaments Note: Three of the ornaments are made from one continuous piece of wire, and one is made from three separate pieces of wire, curled on the ends, and soldered in the middle (wire and beads were wrapped around the soldering later). 1. Download the free pattern for this project. Downloading requires Adobe Acrobat software.)
2. Using the pliers, cut and bend the wire into the needed shapes following the pattern, then solder together if required (see Bending and Soldering Techniques). You will need to lift the piece to create a three-dimensional section. Note: The ornaments with three-dimensional sections were formed around household objects, for example, a wooden spoon, a bottle, or a cone fashioned from heavy cardboard. 3. If desired, hammer select areas on a hard surface with a tack hammer to add texture. 4. To attach beads, use silver or colored wire and work from the center of the pattern outward or from the top downward, depending on the ornament. To curl the wire, wrap it around a bamboo skewer. Use a small amount of extra-strong adhesive to secure the wire and beads. To create dangling beads, use a head pin strung with beads and wire it on using the pliers. 5. When finished, apply two coats of clear acrylic gloss spray.
Hold the wire end with round-nose pliers, and bend it around into a small curl. If necessary, use your fingers to manipulate the curl to the desired size.
Hold round-nose pliers 2 inches from the end of a wire and bend. Move pliers just below the turn, and bend again in the opposite direction. Continue bending the wire in opposite directions, gradually reducing the distance between the bends.
Use pliers to bend a piece of wire 1 inch from the end. Hold pliers 1/8 inch below the first bend, and turn in the opposite direction. Continue bending in opposite directions, keeping the bends even, and the distance between the bends the same.
Use pliers, your hands, and any other tools to bend the wire into any imaginable shape. Wrap, wind, twist, turn, hammer, and experiment to refine your own techniques.
Before soldering your ornaments, practice first for best results. Lay two pieces of scrap solder closely together with no gaps. Apply flux to the top side of the joint. Holding a third piece of solder about an inch above the joint, heat it with the soldering iron until it forms a hot molten bead. Let the bead drop carefully onto the joint, where it will melt the two pieces together. Quickly take away the iron. To remove excess flux, wash ornaments in warm water and mild kitchen detergent.