Wire Hinges for Jewelry Boxes, Cage or Box Pendants

by Barbara MacDougall.
(Ontario, Canada)

Wire Hinges for Jewelry Boxes, Cage or Box Pendants by Barbara MacDougall  - featured on Jewelry Making Journal

Simple wire cross

I’ve been making and selling jewellery at a weekly farmers market in a small town for over 12 years. Over this time, people have come to know me, and it’s doing custom work and repairs which have made being a vendor at this market worthwhile.

I get many requests for crosses, and the other day I was playing with a design for a wire-woven cross specifically for a male customer on a budget. My goal here was to keep the overall design strong and spare and the weaving simple to keep my hard costs down while meeting his aesthetic requirements.

Wire Hinges for Jewelry Boxes, Cage or Box Pendants by Barbara MacDougall  - featured on Jewelry Making Journal

Uh oh… simple wire cross which immediately flopped over

I’m not terribly happy with the design itself (the curls on the ends gotta go), but what I ended up coming up with completely by accident was a perfect hinge design for caged pendants, box pendants, large woven boxes… almost anything.

Most weaves start by using a bottom base wire. This is a very simple 2/2 weave plus 4 singles — but here I was using the *middle* wire as the base wire — which is how I was able to get the hinge effect. The top and bottom freely move and bend through 180 degrees. There appears to be no stress or catching on any individual part across the hinge.

Wire Hinges for Jewelry Boxes, Cage or Box Pendants by Barbara MacDougall  - featured on Jewelry Making Journal

Showing how the hinge works at 90 degrees on an anvil

To prevent the cross from bending while wearing it, I wire-wrapped an oval flat-backed bead above and below the centre portion. Unfortunately my customer arrived just as I was finishing up, and I forgot to take a picture of that step. He loved it.

One other comment: eagle-eyed readers will notice several mistakes in the weaving. Yep. They’re there. This was a prototype. One of the nice things about a weekly local market (versus a one-off craft show) is you see the same people every week and you get to know each other.

Wire Hinges for Jewelry Boxes, Cage or Box Pendants by Barbara MacDougall  - featured on Jewelry Making Journal

Finished cross before I added the bead.

Many of these people love my work but can’t afford it, so to them I’ll occasionally offer my flawed prototypes and wonky experiments at a discount, something I would never do at high(er) end craft shows.

Hope you find this design element useful.

Barbara MacDougall
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  • Thank you for publishing this, Rena!

    In case people are wondering, for this size of cross I think I used 16 gauge for the base wires and 24 gauge for the weaving wire, all dead soft. I straightened and then hammered the base wires with a hide mallet first to work-harden them before I started weaving.

    Another tip: you don’t want to be hammering your frame to work-harden it after weaving. Trust me, it does NOT work: the weaving wire will stretch and disintegrate into tiny pieces.

    Barbara

  • Rena Klingenberg says:

    Barbara, I agree, being at the same venue over time is such a good way to develop regular customers and friends who build your business. I love your clever idea for offering wonky experiments at a discount. Some people would love having a unique and different item, and often they don’t see any wonky-ness in those pieces.

  • Mary Anne says:

    I love the curls on the ends. It reminds me of the French 18th Century crosses. The cross has a very historical look…especially if it were to be done in sterling silver.

  • Debra Lowe says:

    SUPER idea, a great way to do repairs that are attractive.

  • Judith says:

    Wonderful idea. It works just fine IMO. Thank you.

  • bj says:

    Clever!

  • Catherine Campaigne says:

    Thank you so much Barbara! Great idea.

  • Barbara Evans says:

    Love the wire wrap hinge idea. Very clever and ever so useful. Thanks for posting this.

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