I love the combination of the rugged shell casing (which has been fired) with the sparkly quartz. Want one?
- Bullet shell casing (ask a firearm-loving friend - you can also find them on Amazon)
- Rough cut rock crystal/quartz spike bead pre-drilled across the top (like these)
- 24 gauge wire
- Needle Nose Plier
- Drill and 1/16" drill bit (or another small size)
- Pipe cutter (this one is similar to ours - same brand as well) or small saw
- Metal File (like this one)
- Safety Glasses (did you know they come in hot pink???)
- Jewellery chain (something in an "antique gold," like this one, suits the brass casing)
I collected a wide selection of fired shell casings on our last trip to the firing range. I cleaned all the casings in the same vinegar bath & baking soda scrub I used to clean my penny for my penny ring project. Although the gunk came off, the casings kept a nice patina which I was happy about. Be sure to thoroughly rinse all vinegar and baking soda. I plan to start selling casings soon, for anyone who doesn't have access to them.
I brought one of each size to craft stores in search of the right stones. I finally found a strand at a local bead shop in Thunder Bay. I'm happy I brought the casings because these stones are naturally irregular and only four or five fit well. I suggest checking out your local shops first. If ordering online, pay particular attention to the size of the beads. Specifically ask the seller if the stones will fit in a tube the diameter of your casing. I'm currently hoping to find some colourful crystal from a local shop to make more.
|Rock Crystal Rough Point Stick Beads from Etsy|
Next, Hubby and I headed to the garage where he drilled a hole into the top of each casing (wearing eye protection, of course!).
The handgun casings were ready to use, but the rifle casings needed to be sawed off. A pipe cutter worked really well but if you don't have one, a jeweller's saw or a plain old saw will work. If using a saw, wrap a piece of paper towel around the casing so your vice grips, etc., don't mar the surface.
One thing to note: although more uniform, the pipe cutter slightly curves the end of the casing inward.
Afterward we used a metal file to gently file the metal at the cut edges and also where the holes were drilled. Work on a piece of paper towel to catch the filings and I recommend wearing gloves - the little metal bits are itchy as hell if they work their way into your skin. Trust me.
Next, I strung about five inches of the wire through the bead. I worked with one end, wrapping the wire tightly against itself.
Then I threaded the end of the wire up through the drilled hole.
Using a pen, I wrapped the wire into a circle (the pen helped me keep the shape, but you can freehand it) and then wrapped the wire tightly around the base of the loop.
Finally, I added chain from the craft store. I made mine long enough to slip over my head, like with my DIY agate necklace, to avoid a clasp. I simply opened one loop, attached it to the other end and, voila, a fun new necklace!
You can also drill two holes in the side of the casings (use a nail to make a dent first, so your drill bit doesn't slip off) and run the chain through the casing. With this method, you can even use a hunk of rock glued into the casing, instead of a proper bead, and string the chain through the holes.
Here's an example of how that would look, from etsy seller Changes Jewelry:
As another variation, instead of drilling the top you can push the primer out, but then the hole is inset. We used a nail set to push it out (which may not be the best tool for the job, but it worked).
Update May 2015: If the DIY route doesn't sound fun and you'd prefer to buy one, email me: email@example.com. I have a couple I could make available for sale in my Etsy shop - as well as some spare casings.