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Making Ball Tip Headpins Using Copper Zebra Wire™

by Tammy Honaman, Author, Jewelry-Making Expert and Educator, Exclusively for Fire Mountain Gems and Beads®
E521

: : : Materials : : :

  • Pliers, flush-cutters
  • Butane fuel
  • Glass bowl
  • Water
  • Dust mask
  • Heatproof surface, like a ceramic tile
  • Fire extinguisher
Form your own ball tip headpins from natural copper Zebra Wire so you can have the gauge and length you need for your designs.

Set up a safe torch area by placing the fire block on top of a heatproof surface. Remove any flammable items, like paper, from the area. Place a small bowl of water within reach and keep a fire extinguisher handy. It is advisable to wear safety glasses while you heat the wire.
STEP 1
Working in a well-ventilated room, fill the butane torch with fuel.
STEP 2
Cut 2- to 3-inch lengths of copper wire.

Tip: The heating and creating of the ball tip will use up about 1/4 to 1/2 inch of the wire, so plan accordingly.
STEP 3
Place the end of one wire into the tweezers so the tweezers are horizontal and the wire is vertical. Ignite the torch and begin to heat the wire. For the heavier gauges of Zebra Wire there will be a small flame that chases up the length of the wire as the coating is burned off.
STEP 4
Once the length of the wire is heated, focus the heat of the torch on the lower end of the wire. The end of the wire will begin to glow then form a ball.
STEP 5
When the ball forms remove from heat, let the red glow fade then quench in the water.
STEP 6
To remove oxides which form on the wire when heated, clean the headpins using Penny Brite®.

Use in your design as is or coat with enamel.

Have a question regarding this project? Email Customer Service.

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Permission to copy this instruction sheet is granted for non-commercial educational purposes only. All other reproduction requires written permission. Please email copyrightpermission@firemtn.com for more information.