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Copper bead necklace - part one

In the April 2011 issue of Bead&Button, Kimberly Berlin ("Can't-beat-copper earrings") demonstrated a clever way to decorate copper tube beads by using a hammer to strike in some texture. I decided to use my torch instead. I'd been wanting to experiment a bit with copper tubing, so this seemed like a great opportunity.

Materials and Tools

Copper tubing
Tube cutter or coping saw
Emery board
Liver of sulfur (optional)
Ammonia (optional)
Salt (optional)
Torch (optional)

1. Mark lengths with a pencil on your tubing and use a tube cutter to carefully twist off the pieces. Only tighten the cutter a little bit with each twist so that you don't collapse and distort your tubing.

2. Use an emery board or jeweler's file to clean up the edges and smooth them out.

3. Mix up liver of sulfur according to the package directions. I like to use a patination method that I learned to use with CopprClay.  

4. For added zip and more colors, I used my lampworking torch to fire each bead, dipping them into ammonia before firing and quenching in water afterwards. Make sure you've got great ventilation to do this!

On Wednesday, I'm going to finish up this tutorial, showing you how I combined the copper beads with some surprising friends to make a finished necklace.

Part one
Part two

Copyright 2011 Cyndi Lavin. Not to be reprinted, resold, or redistributed for profit. May be printed out for personal use or distributed electronically provided that entire file, including this notice, remains intact.

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KayzKreationz said…
I love copper and have just gotten a small torch to play with. This sounds so great. Can't wait to try this. Thanks.
Lisa Crone said…
Fun stuff, love it when the real tools come out! :)
Great post, Cyndi. I love how you keep sharing affordable ways to make/find jewelry beads and findings.
Cherie said…
Nice! Can't wait to see the second part.
You find the greatest inexpensive things to use for beads and findings, Cyndi.

Better yet, by the time you're done with them, they're absolutely unique.

Thanks a bunch for the ideas and tips!
Kim said…
oh my gosh are they beautiful!!!
I bought a roll of that tubing at Home Depot awhile back to use as cores for polymer clay beads. I love how you used them on their own like that. Especially with the patina. They look wonderful Cyndi!
Cyndi L said…
What a great idea to use them inside other beads! I hadn't thought of that.