I recently made some of these for @Sleepless-Ghost in the Easter egg swap, and @AIMR requested a tutorial, so here it is! This project is a bit fiddly, and you have to be very cautious because the edges of freshly-cut metal are quite sharp. Safety first!
Specialized metalwork tools are helpful, but in a pinch, you can do without most of them.
These were inspired by a pin I received as a gift decades ago. A friend of mine moved to Zimbabwe for a year and brought back a lot of cool handcrafted items, including the pin she gave me. It was entirely crafted from wire and beverage cans, and had similar dangles on it.
The tools I used: cone-nosed jewelry pliers, a 3/4” punch, wire (I think mine is 24 gauge), wire cutters, a metal file, tin snips, box cutter, and a metal punch. If you don’t have a metal punch, you could use an awl or nail along with a hammer and scrap wood. If you don’t have tin snips, regular household scissors will do…but working with the metal may ruin them for other future use.
You start with a clean, dry, empty beverage can. Using the box cutter and tin snips, carefully cut it and flatten it (there should be plenty of tutorials on YouTube about the cutting and flattening process.) Then punch some 3/4” circles.
If you turn the punch upside-down, you’ll be able to see what you’re cutting, so that you can choose the graphics you like and center them.
It’s actually better to do slightly off-center. The top edge will be covered with wire, so your design should be lower than exact center.
Next, lightly file the edges of the circles you’ve punched. Try to go always in one direction, and file away from your body.
If you have a metal punch, use the smallest size punch to make a hole at the top of the circle.
This picture shows the approximate position of the hole: close to the top edge, but not so close it is in danger of breaking. I don’t ever measure, but if you want to be super-precise, you could do that.
If you don’t have a metal punch, you could use an awl or nail instead. Position the circle on top of the scrap wood — pretty side up — and use the hammer to tap a small hole. It should be at least twice the width of your wire. After you make the hole using this method, you’ll need to file down any sharp edges. (Not necessary if you use the metal punch.)
Next, use the cone-nosed pliers and your fingers to curl the circle into a bell shape. It is important that the hole stays at the tip top of the bell. The opening at the top of the bell should be a similar size as the hole you made in the flat circle.
Try to curl the top flap of the bell inward enough so there is not a sharp edge when you handle the bell.
Next, use the wire cutters to cut a length of wire about 3.5 inches. Use the cone-nosed pliers to form a ring at one end of the wire. It should be large enough so that the bell will stay in place when strung onto the wire.
Insert the wire into the bottom of the bell and pull it all the way through until it stops.
Then use the cone-tipped pliers to form another ring at the top of the bell. It should be as close as possible to the top of the bell. Keep holding the ring with the pliers as you wrap the rest of the wire around the top of the bell, all the way to the punched hole.
Use the pliers to bend the free end of the wire inward and tuck it into the punched hole. If the wire seems too long, you may need to trim it before tucking it into the hole.
Make any final adjustments to the position of the wire (I like to try to have the opening of the bell face forward). Then your dangle is complete!
To make a double dangle, complete the bottom bell first. Then attach a second length of wire (maybe slightly longer) to the top ring.
I sometimes make a second loop so that the lower dangle shows better and has freer movement.
Then proceed as before, to complete the top dangle.
The picture below shows what the double dangles look like if you don’t add the extra loop.
Now that I look at that picture, I wonder if I did 1/2 inch circles for those? Hard to tell…
Of course, you can also make triple dangles, etc. Just start at the bottom and keep adding new bells at the top.
Edited to add: I checked today, and the correct punch size is indeed 3/4”. See below for comparison of 1/2” and 3/4” circle dangles.