Things You'll Need
- Wood board
- Finishing nails
- Measuring tape
- 18-gauge copper wire
- Wire cutters
- Round nose pliers
- Large-hole glass beads
- Needle nose pliers
- Wooden dowel
- 24-gauge copper wire
Copper wire art projects can add whimsy, color and dimension to your garden landscape or home interior. Creating art projects from copper wire is not difficult; you only need an outline of the object and a jig to shape the wire. Copper wire comes in a variety of colors and thicknesses, so you can create any type of wire art that suits your decor. Make beaded wire insects to decorate your potted plants or hang wire art as sun catchers in your windows.
Select a butterfly wing template for the outline of your wire art. Look for butterfly shapes that you like in the stencil aisle of a craft store, in coloring books or online. Cut out the shape of the butterfly's wing. You only need one wing.
Trace the butterfly wing outline onto a wood board. Hammer finishing nails along the outline of the butterfly to create a jig. You only need to insert the nails 1/4 inch or so into the wood; just make sure that they are secure. Place the nails every 1 to 2 inches around the perimeter of your butterfly wing’s outline, paying special attention to any dips or curves in the outline. You will be wrapping the wire around the nails to make the wire wing, so your nail outline should be indicative of the true shape of your butterfly wing template.
Measure the outside perimeter of your nail jig with a measuring tape. Cut a section of 18-gauge craft wire to fit around the nail jig, plus 2 inches. You can use thinner craft wire, such as 20-gauge or 24-gauge if you like, but your butterfly will be more flimsy.
Bend one tip of the wire into a hook, just large enough to hook onto a finishing nail. Hook the wire onto the nail closest to the center where the butterfly wing will connect to the body. Wrap the wire around the outside of the nail jig to form the butterfly wing. Wrap the ends together when they meet and remove from the jig.
Repeat Steps 3 and 4 to make another wing. If you flip the second wing over after you create it, you will have a symmetrical copy to complete your wire butterfly.
Measure the width across the butterfly wing. Cut a section of copper wire four times as long as the width to create a vein. Insert a glass bead to the center of the wire. Spiral the wire on either side of the bead to hold it in place. You can spiral the wire by wrapping it around the long end of your needle nose pliers or a pencil. Leave 1/4-inch of wire at the tip of each end straight so you can attach the vein to the wing. Make as many beaded veins as you like, but keep the wings symmetrical.
Attach the copper wire veins to the butterfly wings by wrapping the tip ends around the wire wings. Use your round nose pliers to press the wire in place.
Cut a 2-foot section of 18-gauge copper wire. Spiral wrap the wire around a dowel to make the body of your butterfly. Adjust the length of the wire to make a smaller or larger spiral body.
Attach the wings to the body, one on each side, with a small section of 24-gauge copper wire.
Add more color to your copper wire art by inserting large glass stones into the butterfly’s spiral body. Separate the spiral just enough to place the stones, and then press them closed again. Line the body with the stones, pressing the wire just enough to hold them in place.
Katherine Kally is a freelance writer specializing in eco-friendly home-improvement projects, practical craft ideas and cost-effective decorating solutions. Kally's work has been featured on sites across the Web. She holds a Bachelor of Science in psychology from the University of South Carolina and is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.