Whimsical Whirled Wire Candle Holders

 

Sometimes I try a project and it doesn’t work out.  In fact, sometimes it is just a big fail.  Well, these wire candle holders have been frustrating me for the last three weeks!  A friend had received a hanging wire candle holder as a gift and then copied it and given several as gifts.  She had supplies left over from this project and generously passed them on to me.

I am all about getting free craft supplies and I loved how the loops and curlicues of wire looked.  So I pulled out my jewelry pliers and started twisting wire.  Or rather I started putting angles and crimps into wire.  And getting a bit annoyed. The wire was fairly stiff and hard to bend and I felt clumsy and inept.  I asked my friend for some guidance and tips on how to bend wire.  She  gave me different, softer wire.  She suggested wrapping the wire around the barrel of a pen, or a piece of doweling.  She was very encouraging.

Newly inspired I starting bending wire again.  Oh, the soft wire made lovely, fat, round loops and spirals. It was easy enough to bend with my fingers.

However, when I tried to hang the resulting chain and candle holder with glass votive it was so soft that it sagged and straightened out. I was beginning to feel like a not-very-crafty Goldilocks: “This wire it too hard! This wire is too soft!”  One part of me wanted to chuck the whole idea but another part wanted to dominate the wire.

I looked online for information on bending wire.  I saw wire-bending YouTube videos.  I discussed wire properties with a helpful saleswoman at the bead store.  I bought new wire and some nylon-jaw pliers.  I learned about work-hardening wire.  Wire comes in different gauges or thicknesses and in different strengths or degrees of softness or hardness – both of these affect how easy or difficult it is to bend the wire.  I learned that you can make wire harder by drawing it through the flat jaws of nylon-jaw pliers (kind of like a flat-iron for curly hair, but without the heat).  Wire is also hardened with heat and by hammering with a plastic or rawhide hammer.

Once again I worked with the wire.  I curled it, I twisted it and I even tried hammering it and heating it.  The nylon-jaw pliers were wonderful for smoothing crimps out of wire.  They do seem to make soft wire a bit stronger.  I even bought some baby-food so I would have the jar for another variation (the bottle of cream I bought at the Farmer’s Market was like a half-sized milk jug and will look very sweet holding flowers but was too heavy for this project – believe me, I tried that too).

In the end I created some wire candle holders.  I used some gifted and some newly purchased supplies.  I used some tools I had on hand and some I bought for the project. I created a new wire hanger for a pretty blue glass candle holder that had been hanging from a badly formed, bent wire hanger for years.  But, my friends, if you are inspired to craft a hanging wire candle holder, you’re on your own!  If there is one thing I learned is that I’m not the person to give a tutorial on this project.

Thanks for stopping by!

 

7 Comments

Filed under Crafts

7 responses to “Whimsical Whirled Wire Candle Holders

  1. I love these candle holders. I didn’t know it was complicated to do, though. Your efforts were well worth it. You will have lovely candles in your garden. Thanks for passing on what you have learned.

    • Thanks – I’m really pleased with how they turned out but they really did give me fits. I think if someone were more simpatico with wire they might find them pretty simple to do. It just seemed like everything that could go wrong with this project did, even when I was trying to take photos for the post. I’m glad they’re done!

  2. Wayside Artist

    Dianne-

    For some reason this made me think about hand-spinning wool. When I first started out my yarn was fat, thin, over-twisted, under twisted, everything but a nice, even strand of yarn. When I teach a new pupil now, I secretly smile at her frustration, pointing out that some time in the future, after she’s so proficient as to spin lace weight yarn, she will miss those kinky, free-spirited yarns from way back when. In your frustration, that’s what you’ve created – wonderful, charming, unique wire candle holders. They’re great!

    I do appreciate that you shared your experience and photos for this challenging project. But it does look and sound like a “project” I might just admire and not try just yet.

    Yours,
    Nanina

    • Thanks, Nanina – I can appreciate the charm of the candle holders and I’m never trying to achieve perfection with my handcrafted creations but these did manage to frustrate me. I’m sure with time and practice I would become more proficient but I don’t have the patience or interest for that practice! I used the word whimsical not only because of the alliteration with “whirled” and “wire” but to embrace the unique quality of these confounded things!
      Thanks for also commenting on the fact that I shared my challenges…I don’t want people to think that everything I do comes out perfectly. I think I need to make a point of showing failures and attempts along with successes.

  3. veronica anderson

    So cool!

  4. Pingback: Day 11: Button Rings | dianne faw

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