When I blogged about my wire mesh jewelry holders with beads, I mentioned that I planned to make a Christmas ornament out of wire. Here it is. But instead of 1/4-inch hardware cloth, I went with chicken wire. Apparently, it’s called poultry netting these days, but my family raised chickens when I was growing up, and we called it chicken wire. We also raised pigeons, doves, and ducks—including a Mallard named Donald until a neighborhood cat killed him. This is one reason I don’t like cats. But I digress.
I got the idea for this ornament from an old issue of Marie Claire Idées, my favorite French magazine. As best I can tell in my limited French, they hung their diamond- and heart-shaped chimes in a cherry tree to keep birds away. I thought they would also make excellent Christmas ornaments or jingly door bells, hence the bell shape. This is my first one, so it’s a little lopsided. I show you how to not repeat my mistake.
Tutorial and photos after the jump!
Supplies and tools
1. Print out the bell pattern. Cut a piece of 18-gauge wire. Using the pattern as a guide, shape the wire into a bell. Start in the middle of the wire and the bottom of the bell. Work your way slowly to the top. Be patient until your wire closely resembles the shape of the bell. You can make the loop at the top any size you want. I made my double loop rather large and twisted the wire around a few times to secure it.
2. Lay the wire bell on top of the chicken wire and move it around until you find just the right placement.
3. Using wire cutters, trim off the excess chicken wire, but leave about an inch of extra wire to wrap around the bell frame.
4. Fold the ends of the chicken wire around the edge of the bell. After they are all folded, use pliers to twist them one by one onto the frame. Continue until all the ends are twisted and secure. Make sure no ends are poking out.
Note: Don’t start twisting until all the ends are folded. I made this mistake, which is why the chicken wire is lopsided on mine.
5. Cut a 2-inch piece of 22- or 24-gauge wire. Slide a bell onto the wire. Fold the shorter end over and twist it around the longer end. The easiest way to do this is to hold the short end with pliers as you twist the bell. Clamp the end down tight.
6. Twist the other end of the wire around the chicken wire at the top of one of the hexagon openings. Try to keep the bell in the center of the hexagon.
7. Repeat step 5 and 6 until all 10 jingle bells are hanging from your bell ornament.
8. Feed a ribbon through the top loop, tie a loose knot, then tie a bow around your doorknob or Christmas tree branch. Trim the ends diagonally. You can melt the ends of the ribbon with a lighter to keep them from fraying if you wish. Click here for tips on melting ribbon ends.