Make Your Own Spiral Head Pins

Make Your Own Spiral Head Pins

Working as a freelance writer and designer has its perks. For instance, right now I’m still in my pajamas, my hair looks like I’ve been on a G-force machine, and it’s 11:00. The commute is very eco-friendly and the commissary is about ten steps away from my office.

Another great perk is that publishers like Interweave often give me sneak peeks at books that are coming down the pike. This week they let me preview Sharilyn Miller’s Contemporary Copper Jewelry. All I can say is . . . wow. I remember when I first started teaching wirework classes and told students “Go to the hardware store, pick up some cheap copper wire, and practice your techniques with it before you use precious metals; you can just toss it if you make a mistake.” Well Sharilyn proves that copper wirework is not throwaway, but a versatile, beautiful material that can be wireworked, textured, drilled, and woven. The projects within have an earthy feel due to the color of the metal, but all are very modern, very creative. The projects are intriguing enough for intermediate and advanced wireworkers, but the ample step-by-step photography is great for people who are just learning. I’d definitely recommend this book.

Make Your Own Spiral Head Pins

Copper wire is a wonderful material because unlike other metals, it’s extremely malleable. That’s why I’d always recommend it for beginners—you can concentrate on what you’re actually doing with the wire without struggling to bend it. I love that copper is in vogue now because it’s so easy to work, and yes, it’s cheap enough that few tears will be shed if you end up with a kinky mess. So why not head down to the hardware store, pick up some cheap copper wire, and try out this head pin that you won’t want to toss?

  1. Clean the wire with steel wool; use wire straighteners to get the wire really straight, and flush cut the end. (You can work this head pin straight from the wire spool.)
  2. Use chain-nose pliers to make a 90° bend in the wire about 1" from the end. 

  3. Grasp the bend with round-nose pliers so the pliers are perpendicular to the 1" tail wire. Keep the pliers in place as you use your fingers to bend the tail wire around the tip of the pliers’ bottom jaw.

  4. Switch the pliers grasp so the top jaw is in the loop just made.

  5. Make another wrap around the top jaw like you did in Step 3.
  6. Grasp the beginning of the coil within the widest part of chain-nose pliers. Use your fingers to guide the tail wire along the spiral until you reach the desired width.

  7. Flush cut the end so it flows along the edge of the spiral and file out any rough spots if necessary. 

This is just one way to make a head pin, but I can think of many more ways. Can you? Why not share them on the website? 

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