FFf Eclectic Red Barn: How to make twisted wire hangers

Friday, July 4, 2014

How to make twisted wire hangers

I have always loved the look of twisted wires. I would see them and want some for my projects. I tried to twist them myself, but they never looked quite right. Then one day, while I was frustrated with the darn wires, my husband said, "let me see what I can do".

He is so smart and came up with this idea for me and ever since, when I need twisted wire, I know how to make it. Recall that I used it on this tin heart vase holder that I shared with you in May.
Eclectic Red Barn: Metal heart vase holder with twisted handle

This is really a two person project. I have made a few shorter ones by myself, but usually I need my husband to help with the longer ones. You will see why.

Materials:
wire (any size will do)
pliers
drill
vice (if by yourself)

Now for the how-to part:
Take your wire - for the heart handle I used 16 gauge wire.
Eclectic Red Barn: 16 Gauge Wire
Since this is rather thick wire, I would only double it. I made two 36 inches long pieces. (Actually here I measured out 72 inches and just folded it in half), but you can cut each 36 inch piece separately.
Eclectic Red Barn: 2 pieces of 16 gauge wire cut
You will get about a 5 - 6 % reduction in length when you are finished. So with a 36 inch length of wire, you will end up with about 34 inches of twisted wire.

Take one end of the wire and place it in the end of the drill and tighten it. You don't want it to come out.
Eclectic Red Barn: Insert wire into drill
Next take the other end and put it in the pliers. 
Eclectic Red Barn: Hold wire with pliers
I usually make my husband hold the end with the pliers and I handle the drill. With a 36 inch piece of wire my arms are not long enough to hold both tools. If you have a variable speed on your drill, set it to slow. If not, just make sure to go slowly. Before you turn the drill on, make sure the wire is stretched out tight, so you won't get any kinks it in. 

Now turn on the drill, slowly. The wire will begin to turn and twist. The amount you twist is up to you. The more you twist, the tighter the wire will be.However, if you twist too much the wire will eventually kink.  With a little practice you will know when to stop before the kinking starts.
Eclectic Red Barn: Completed twisted wire
Here is the one I did for the Heart. It is tight but not too tight. And notice how uniform it is.

I have used thinner wire like the one below.
Eclectic Red Barn: Thin wire for making twisted hangers
I used 3 strands of this wire.  For this project I only needed the wire to be about 18 inches long. This I could do myself. Instead of having the other person hold the wire with pliers, I placed the wires in a vice and then twisted them, making sure to keep the wires tight. You can also use the vice for longer wires.
Eclectic Red Barn: Insert wire into vice
So now you know how to make decorative twisted wires for all of your projects. You can mix sizes and types of wire. You can make them tightly twisted or a lightly twisted. Just practice and have fun with it!


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