Thursday, May 6
artful thursdays #17.....wire bird cage tutorial
welcome to artful thursdays part 2, the little wire cage to go with the bird you made last week. i added a few extra goodies to my cage when i made it today, i couldn't resist...
you will only need some inexpensive 20 gauge craft wire, wire cutters and pliers, some junk chain from a broken necklace, and your paper clay bird from last week.
tools left to right: beadsmith needle nose pliers , lindstrom flush cut wire cutters (totally worth it!), and craftsman bent nose pliers.
step 1. cut a piece of wire to form a 3 inch circle. twist the ends together.
step 2. cut 3 pieces of wire 11 inches long. these wires will form the dome of your cage. twist the end of your first wire around your circle and crimp tight with your bent nose pliers. this will keep your wires from sliding around your circle.
now twist the other end of your first wire straight across on the circle.
step 3. attach the other two wires following this diagram for the placement of the six wire ends around the circle.
step 4. to make the swing cut a piece of wire 8 inches long and shape it into a gothic arch. hold your bird inside to be sure she will fit comfortably.
twist one wire end around the top of the swing to secure. make a wire loop with the other wire end using your needle nose pliers. thread a piece of chain on the wire loop and then twist the wire end around to secure and clip off excess wire.
hold the swing inside the cage to measure how long you want the chain. mark the chain and clip.
step 5. now attach your bird to the swing. wrap one leg wire around the swing. the wire legs are short, only about 1/4 of an inch long after wrapping. to be sure your bird doesn't slip forward on the swing crimp wire to secure and clip off any extra wire. repeat for the second leg wire.
step 6. to hang the swing from the top of your cage cut a 4 inch piece of wire and bend it slightly in the center. slide the chain attached to the swing onto the wire and let it fall to the center bend. slip one end of the wire under the top of your cage where the 3 wires cross right in the center.
twist the wire ends around to secure the chain for the swing. with your needle nose plier curl up the wire ends. twist two more wires around the top and curl up the wire ends for a total of 6 curled up wires.
step 7. to make the wire loops twist the wire around a paintbrush, remove the paintbrush and place it next to the loop and wrap the wire around the paintbrush again to form another loop. keep forming loops until you can make a circlet of wire loops that will fit around the top of your cage.
slide the wire loop circlet over your wire cage and secure by bending the loops around each of the 6 dome wires. here is where you need to learn the word 'wonky'
working with wire forms will cure you of any perfectionist tendencies... i try to shape the wire so it is fairly even and symetrical, but there is always a bit of wonkiness about it, i think this just adds to the handmade feel of your piece and give it a lovely charm all its own.
note: this wire cage is definitely better than the first one i made (just look at the last post!) mostly because i cut the three wires that form the dome all the same length to begin with...
now it is time to add a bit of fun if you like. i tied some of vintage ribbon around the top and let it curl down both sides. i threaded silver lined seed beads on a spool of very fine silver wire and wrapped it around the top of my cage leaving the beads to slide along the wires for some sparkle and a little movement.
the beads came from this broken vintage necklace.
here is a close-up of the wire loop circlet in place and the beads strung around the cage.
the paper tag is the final touch. i removed the string from the tag and slipped a vintage button with a wire loop shank in the hole at the top of the tag. then i tied the string through the button shank and tied a strip of tulle around the button and curled a painted paper leaf around the button as well. a lovely gift for someone very special. enjoy, julie