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How To Make a Punched Tin Dragonfly
Submitted by Pam on Wed, 07/04/2012 - 04:46
Several requests have arrived from the blogiverse for a tutorial for making a punched tin and bead dragonfly. So here it is!
NOTES before we start:
** Wiring on the wings is a bit tricky and I have done my best to make the process clear. If you will follow the written steps, you should have no problem creating your own dragonfly. However, if you have a question, don't hesitate to write me.
** And keep in mind that attaching the wings to the body with wire is optional. Any embellishing glue like Jewel-it can be used to attach the wings to the body. I have often used glue and most of the time the bond is permanent - most of the time.
However, I have come to prefer using wire to attach the body to the wings. And that is the technique I will describe here. The punched tin butterfly tutorial covers using glue.
** Your dragonfly will be very happy in your garden as garden art as long as you use aluminum pop cans for the wing material and polymer clay such as Sculpey for the body beads. Both materials are completely resistant to water damage.
To create the wings, refer to my tutorial for punched tin butterfly wings. Dragonfly wings are created using the exact same technique.
FYI - the wing span of this particular dragon fly is 7 1/2" because I am using rather large beads for the body. When I use 6mm rounds for the body, the wing span is usually about 4".
After drawing paper patterns for the upper wing and the lower wing, trace them onto the aluminum you have chosen to use. (If you are not sure of a shape - go here for help!)
I use roof flashing most of the time; however, recycled pop cans and disposable aluminum pie tins work well also. Foil sold for tooling is, in my opinion, too flimsy, but it too can be used. However, if you do chose this last option, it might be best to imprint your design on the wings using a tooling stylus.
Annette uses her Cuttlebug to imprint designs on pop cans! Might make some very interesting wings!
Tools are very basic - a light weight hammer, nail and tin snips. And for the beaded body - wire cutters are about all that is needed.
Once the wings have been completed, select your beads.
For the dragonfly pictured, I used 10 Gypsy Trade Beads (which can be ordered from Elysian Studios Components shop), 7 - 8mm iris rounds and 7 - 6mm iris rounds. These last are common beads and can be purchased at almost any bead shop. I order mine from Fire Mountain.
I use 28 gauge colored craft wire to string the body beads and to attach the body to the wings. Any color wire is fine but the gauge is very important. Most of the bead holes will need to accommodate two wires so 28 gauge is essential.
TO ASSEMBLE THE BODY
Note added 8/18/12: You will find step by step images showing how this is done at the bottom of this post "Kid Friendly Version of Punched Tin Dragonfly (or Butterfly)"
1. Cut a piece of wire 36" long.
2. Place a 6mm bead on the wire and place it right in the center of the wire so that there are 18" of wire on each side of the bead.
3. Bring the two 18" pieces of wire together and string as one wire through 4 - 6mm beads, the 8mm beads and all the Gypsy Trade beads except the one chosen to be the "head".
Be sure to snug the beads close together as you string.
4. Once you have reached the last body bead, separate the two wires and thread each through a 6mm "eye" bead, then through the "head" bead and finally through the opposite "eye" bead. Once both sides of the wire have been strung through the "eyes" and "head", pull the wire as snugly as possible so that the "eyes" are right next to the "head", and there is as little distance as possible between the "head" and body.
Needle nose pliers covered with a protective sheath is helpful for this step.
5. Now cross the two wires under the "head" and wrap them around the "neck" 4 times. See the close-up below to view the neck wrap.
At this point, you are READY TO ATTACH THE WINGS to the body.
6. Before proceeding with the attachment process, punch holes in the wings as shown on the above diagram.
** If you prefer to simply glue your wings to the dragonfly body, punch only #1 holes and complete step 7 before applying glue. However, if your dragonfly is large like mine, punching two sets of holes for wires - one set in the top wing and one set in the bottom wing - will provide better stability when the dragonfly is attached to an object.
** The distance between the two #1 holes is approximately 1/2 inch. (distance is exaggerated on the diagram). The distance between #2 and #2, # 3 and #3 - etc, is approximately 1/4 inch.
7. Cut a separate piece of wire about 8" long. Place both ends into the #1 holes and pull flush against the top surface of the wing. On the underside of the wing, wrap the wires around each other a couple times to secure and then lay the ends out toward the wing tips to keep them out of the way while attaching the wings to the body.
8. Hold the body over the top surface of the top wing and place the ends of each body wire into holes #2 and pull the wing snugly against the body.
9. Bring the two wires up from the under side of the wing through the #3 holes, cross the wires and then slide both wires between the first and second body beads and then back down through hole #3.
10. Place the bottom wing below the top wing and thread the two wires through holes #4. The top wing should just slightly overlap the bottom wing.
11. Pull the wings snugly together and against the body. The wires are now underneath the bottom wing.
12. Cross the wires and then thread them through holes #5.
13. The wires are now above the bottom wing. Cross them and slide them between the space between the two beads closest to the #5 holes just as was done in step 9. Now reinsert them into holes #5 so that they are again at the underside of the wing.
14. Twist a few times to secure.
The underside of your wings will look like this.
Secure your beautiful dragonfly to the object of your choice by twisting each set of wires together. (Your dragonfly will be secured in two places.) Usually a couple of light twists will be sufficient.
Ideas for using and displaying your dragonflies can be found here.
And you are done!
Again, if you love the dragonfly but are concerned about usng metal, you might like this tutorial for making the very same dragonfly with "faux punched tin" metallic paper wings.
And you might like to check out this tutorial for making a "faux punched tin" angel ornament using metallic paper.