Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Tutorial: Collaged Wire Birdcage

It drives my husband crazy. I'll have a stack of what looks like junk or recyclables on the counter, he'll decide to be a dear and help clean things off. As he's in the act I'll walk into the room and yell "nooooo!' He sighs and knows what's coming next- "I was going to use those for an art project!" I know it drives him crazy and I try to keep everything in my art room but it does all tend to seep over into other rooms. My latest save are Sunbutter jar lids. I keep thinking they'd make such a nice substrate for- something. I didn't know what. But then it came to me- little wire birdcages. The jar lids make the base. My lids were plastic but you could certainly sub a metal lid instead. I'm also thinking they'd make a good mini shadow box or cameo art but haven't quite figured those out yet. What about you? What could you do with your lids? Give it some thought and then let me know- I'd love to see!
Tutorial: Collaged Wire Birdcage

Tools and Materials
16 gauge steel wire (I used a sepia toned)
19 gauge wire (brown)
Jar lid
Old book paper/scrap paper
Matte or Gel Medium
Glue brush or foam applicator
Needle nose pliers
Heavy Duty Wire Cutters

Step One: Tear your book or scrap paper into strips. Using your brush apply matte medium to the jar lid. Lay on a strip of paper, and then brush more medium on top. Using your fingers to smooth the paper down really helps to create a flat adhesion. Apply more medium and then layer more strips over the edge of the lid. Continue until you've completely covered the lid with at least two layers. Let dry.

Step Two: Using your handy dandy Crop-a-dile punch 6 holes evenly around the exterior of the lid. Position the Crop-a-dile so that you don't punch the holes too close to the edge. (See picture at top.)

Step Three: Cut three pieces of wire to about 12" long. Using a jar or bottle of some sort, create a gently bend in the center of the wires by wrapping all three of the wires around the object at once.

Step Four: Bend the end of each wire out to create a 90- degree angle. Do this with each of the three wires. Then place one within the jar lid. Insert the wire through two holes opposite each other, and then bend the wire up and wrap around itself to secure. Repeat with each of the wires. You might need to slightly adjust the length of each so that the tops will cross over each other snugly. When you've completely wrapped the wire ends then use your needle nose to bend your cut ends in.

Step Five: Using your 19-gauge wire wrap together the tops of your three wires. Create a loop, cut your wire, leaving another 1/2" or so. Then continue to wrap your wire end around the loop to finish. If necessary, use your needle nose wire to bend your cut end in.

Step Six: Using your 19-gauge wire again, begin to wrap it around the bottom of the wires, about 1" up from the bottom. Then continue to the next wire, until you've gone completely around the cage. Repeat around the top of the cage. If desired, you can repeat this as often as you like to enhance your design.

To create the swing- Use the needle nose pliers to curl one end of the 16-gauge wire, cut the wire, and then curl the other end. Using your 19-gauge wire, wrap the end around the top of one of your curls. Leave about 5" and cut. Then repeat with the other side. Position your swing inside the cage and then wrap the ends of your wire around the top of the cage. Add your little birdie 
(I found mine at a local junk/antique store) and display your creation!


Single Stone Studios said...

Oh my GOSH this is SO cute! I want to make a baby mobile out of them with all different colors of birdies :)

PS - are those your silver nails? LOVE!

Cristi Baxter Clothier said...

Too cute!!!

olive + hope said...

this is adorable. I love me a good bird project :) so thank you!

Jen said...

Yup- silver. Pretty much ruined the paint job between the matte medium, the spray paint, and now the epoxy I've been working with the last day. Ps- is your skin supposed to burn when you've got a little epoxy on it?

Must go Web Md.:)

Jo Wholohan said...

love this jen, thanks so much for sharing xx

Single Stone Studios said...

It is hard to keep a nice manicure and be a fab artist. So I say go for the latter - anyone can get a manicure ;)

Kelly said...

Man, that is the cutest! That turned out so well. And I know what you mean about saving junk. I've got two shoe boxes that I just KNOW will make something cute, when I figure out exactly what that is...

Elizabeth, blogging for SunButter said...

Hi Jen,
I came across your blog while searching for SunButter. Thanks for a clever suggestion for SunButter that even we haven’t heard before. The birdcages are adorable and would make a terrific summer craft project while the kids are home from school.
~ Elizabeth H, blogger for SunButter