Easy metal project: basic penannular brooches

I’ve started playing with making some simple dress accessories, like pins, using wire, and I’m finding I’m really enjoying it. My first project was a number of small brass penannular brooches:

  
These are VERY easy to make, and a great starter project for learning basic (cold) metalworking techniques. The end product is quite handy, and would make nice pieces for largesse. I used brass wire from the craft store for these; you can also use copper wire, and I hope to work my way up to using silver or even gold (filled) wire. The wire gauge you use will depend on the size pin you hope to end up with; I used 14 ga for these. 

You will need some special tools to be successful:

  

  • A steel block / anvil or other hard surface
  • Round nose pliers
  • Wire cutters
  • Metal file
  • Chasing hammer
  • A dowel or other small cylinder (not pictured)
  • Optional (not pictured): a plastic mallet

Step by step:

  
Wrap wire around dowel. 

  
You can wrap it as a coil to make many rings at once. 

  
Cut the rings apart. 

  
Rings!

  
Use a mallet or the chasing hammer to gently hammer the ring flat. This should also strengthen it. Set the ring aside. 

  
Gently flatten a short length of wire. 

  
Use the ring as a guide to cut the wire. I found cutting at an angle made sharpening the pin much easier. 

  

Use the chasing hammer to flatten the less sharp end.  

  
Make a little loop in the now flat end with the pliers. 

  
Put the pin on the ring. 

  
Use the file to sharpen pin. 

  
Use the chasing hammer to carefully flatten the cut ends of the ring. 

  
Yay! A brooch!

To use:

   
   
Easy peasy!

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Author: eulalia

I'm a foodie, medievalist, crafter, and gardener living in beautiful Portland, Oregon.

3 thoughts on “Easy metal project: basic penannular brooches”

  1. Thank you for the clear photos, Eulalia. We’ll be making these in copper wire this weekend for site tokens out here in Wealdsmere this weekend. For what it’s worth, if you use a finer gauge or a softer wire, it’s good to also harden the pin by tapping it with the metal hammer. You have to be careful to roll it back and forth to avoid flattening it too wide, but it helps the pin not bend too easily and pull out.

    Lady Kathleen O’Donnelly

    Liked by 1 person

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