Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Beginners Guide to Make Copper Pipe Cuff Bracelet with Popnicute

Making the Moon Crater copper pipe bracelet is a lot of fun. All you need, material wise, is a piece of copper pipe, M thickness (the thinnest copper pipe). Easily obtainable from any hardware stores. But to form it, there are a lot of tools involved. I will show you here some basic tools to help you get started. I'm not affiliated to any of these websites or brands. I shared them here simply because I believe they have good products and services.

For a complete instruction on 
watch the video below.

Check my Craftsy store, Popnicute.Supply, for PDF Tutorials and Digital Sawing Templates!

PS: you can replace any of these tools with comparable products. Shop around for the best prices.


Propane torch is needed to anneal copper. A butane torch is too small and will not give you enough heat to anneal copper pipe. Your choice of refillable or disposable propane tank. Plenty of them available at the hardware store. Acetylene torch can be used as an alternative. 



Fire brick is available at the hardware store. A charcoal block can be found at a jewelry supply company like Otto Frei or Rio Grande even at Amazon. Fire brick will be the surface to fire your copper pipe. Do not anneal copper on top of concrete. Concrete can shatter from heat and is potentially dangerous.


You can use any baking pan to contain your charcoal block to protect your surface from direct heat. I bought a used stainless steel cooking pan in a thrift shop as my annealing pan and filled it with pumice. I place my pumice pan on top of a granite lazy suzan so I can turn the pan around easily if needed.



You can get one from a thrift store. Plastic or ceramic lid is better to use. Pickle is acidic and can rust steel which would contaminate pickle and copper plate the pieces you dipped into it.
To make a pickle, use PH Down (pool chemical, can be purchased at hardware store/pool supply store) mixed with water to remove firescale from your copper pipe. Do not boil. Warm setting is enough. Warm pickle cleans faster but it can be used cold too.
PS: if you intend to use cold pickle, any glass container big enough for your piece would do.


Use a big enough ceramic or glass bowl and fill it with water. It will be used to dip a heated copper to cool it down. It's best to not use plastic as plastic can melt in touch with high heat. If you use pickle, you'll need another quenching bowl filled with water and baking soda solution to neutralize the pickle.



Pickle is used to remove the black oxide that's forming on top layer of the metal after firing. I use pH DOWN (any brand) which is a chemical used in swimming pool to lower the pH of the water. Mine came in granule form and I basically pour water inside the quenching bowl and add enough granules, don't be shy. I only pickle after I'm done with forming the pipe bracelet as forming this bracelet requires multiple firing so pickling is unnecessary. For the rest of the process I just quench the pipe inside plain water. Leave the metal in pickle for about a few minutes or until the black oxide has softened. I used my copper tong to scratch the piece lightly, if the black oxide is lifted then it's done pickling. You don't really need to leave it in pickle until the blackness is completely gone.

Pickle is acidic and will paint rust on steel tools so don't ever put it inside a metallic container nor dip any steel tool inside a pickle solution. 



Dilute baking soda in water to neutralize the acidic piece after pickling. Again, don't be shy. When dipping your pickled piece in baking soda solution, the piece will fizzle like an effervescent. Wait until the bubbles are gone to lift it off. When it no longer bubbles it indicates that your piece has been neutralized.


Use long copper tongs to handle hot copper pipe and to put in and pick up your copper pipe inside a pickle solution. Do not use steel. Steel reacts with pickle and will contaminate your pickle.


An anvil or a bench block is where you hammer and form your copper pipe on.


I use a chasing hammer to create the initial dents on the copper pipe.



These dapping punch set can be used to create deeper and tighter craters. Use a delrin or brass mallet or a chasing hammer to drive the punches.



A stepped mandrel is used to form the hammered pipe into a bracelet. I prefer a stepped mandrel as it can hold down the bracelet as I form it a little further (see video).


So there you have it. A list of basic tools you needed to make a Moon Crater bracelet out of copper pipe. Have fun creating!!

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