Saturday, July 25, 2015

It's a Boondoggle!

This week, I thought I would do a 2nd attempt at kiln enameling and started cutting out a boat-load of copper shapes.  While cutting copper and dreading the epic fail I think kiln-enameling holds for me, I got distracted by some fold-formed shapes on Pinterest,  I have only touched the surface of foldforming but I have the bible...Charles Lewton-Brain's book, Foldforming.  I have done the simple folds to make cute leaves, hearts, and components like my fold-formed hoops in the newest Easy Metal publication  from Interweave, but I wanted to try something new.

Fast forward to the book and finding the page about what he calls "Boondoggle" OMG, doesn't  this take everyone back to childhood summer camp or vacation bible school?  I was intrigued and decided to play!

Remember making cord/plastic lanyards or keychains? This is the same technique, only in metal. Charles doesn't go into detail in his book about the procedure, as it is out there in  the realm, but I documented my steps. Sorry for some blurry photos :(

Materials/Tools required:
Copper sheet (I used 24g but you could go smaller)
Flat nosed pliers
2nd pair of any type of plier
hammer (any type)
rubber or rawhide mallet
small torch for annealing
steel block
metal shears

Steps 1-4

  • Cut copper strip to desired length and width; shape ends if desired
  • File/sand edges until smooth to touch
  • Anneal with torch 
  • Fold over ends
  • Interlock as shown and pinch tight

Steps 5-8
  • Start folding metal over onto itself
  • Squeeze tightly after each fold
  • Continue until there is no more left
  • Once the cube gets to big for your flat nose pliers, switch to tapping with hammer
Steps 9-12
  • Align the shape with hammer as necessary
  • Anneal with torch and pull out tabs on the ends
  • Using pliers, holding the tabs on the ends, pull apart.  Twisting as you pull adds more dimension.
  • Shape on mandrel
Pickled and ready for use!
As you see, I didn't quite have enough to complete a bangle bracelet, but think I will add chain and a clasp!  I really like it and think smaller segments for earring components would be very cool! So many possibilities.

Go have fun!


  1. This should be very interesting to try, but I think 24g would be too thick

    1. Divya, this was scrap I had and I guessed it to be 24g. I don't usually buy finer. It could have been, though. Anything can be annealed to fold, though!

  2. Wow, this looks pretty interesting! Thanks for sharing that!

  3. What a cool way to add dimensionality to your work!! Thanks for sharing!


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