My newest copper and rhinestone sun-catcher. See it come together step-by-step…
The frame is made with 4 lengths of 14 gauge copper wire, hammered for texture and hardness. The squiggly design inside the frame is made using 1 long length of 18 gauge copper wire, also hammered. Hammering the metal makes it hard enough to retain its shape.
Use leftover wire snips to temporarily hold the design inside the frame as you secure the four corners.
Use 26 gauge copper wire to secure the corners.
The 26 gauge wire is also used to attach the beadwork. I work with 1 and 1/2 ft of thin wire at a time, zigging and zagging it back and forth through the areas of the design I want to fill with colored beads.
In this design, I envision a flower with petals that range from soft pastel purple tones out to vibrant fire hues at the outer edges. The squiggly wire outlines the petals and defines the center of the flower.
As the wire attaches the beads to the outline, it is also used to attach the outline to the 16 gauge frame.
Every so often, I look at the bead colors against an illuminated light background to make sure the colors transition perfectly in any lighting.
Once the design is complete, tie off the last of the wire strands by twisting them tightly around the outline. Then cut the excess thin wire flush with the thick wire outline, and use your pliers to push the end down flat.
The light pink/purple beads are Alexandrite. Depending on the light, they may range from a soft lilac pink shade to a icy blue violet. Alexandrite is one of the few color-changing beads available on the market.
The magenta bicone beads are Swarovski AB2X in ruby and light siam. The AB2X finish gives them a blue/purple luminescence that ties them in with the Alexandrite beads in the center.
Most of the rest of these are inexpensive rhinestone beads that I’ve acquired over the years from various bead shows and craft stores. The wire is easy to find on Amazon, or you can substitute 16 gauge for the 14 and 20 gauge for the 18.