As you know, I'm all about crafting with recycled materials.
But I was a bit naughty with those wire bracelets I made recently...
My beads were reclaimed from old and broken jewellery pieces, but... I was working with... gasp... shock... horror... NEW WIRE! But I promise you, it was just an experiment - so that I could 'get a feel' for working with crafting/jewellery wire, and then decide if I wanted to recycle some... or walk away from the wire and move on to something else. Also, I wanted to have a comparison point for when I started using recycled wires. If I knew what I needed for a successful project then I could start looking around at sources, and determine fairly quickly if a particular wire was suitable or not.
You might remember that a while back Mr Goldfish brought home some electrical cable from work, which he thought I might be able to use in my craft. Yes... that man knows the way to my heart! The cable was too short to be useful to them, but I was sure I could use it for something.
Well, my first task was to strip back the green casing, to release the seven cores of cable inside. I kid you not... that job took me two hours!!! Unlike the telephone cables which just peel back like a banana, this needed to be sliced inch by inch with a sharp knife.
Here you can see six of those seven cables. That's right... it took me TWO HOURS just to get to this point... but wait, it gets worse!
Releasing the copper wires was even tougher. Same process of slicing away with a craft knife, but working on a much finer cable this time. It took me FOUR MORE HOURS to reclaim the copper wires from inside ONE coloured cable.
I tried a couple of different craft knives. The smaller one was actually more effective, but every now and then I would switch to the other one when my wrist was getting sore from holding the same position all the time.
So... just doing some mental gymnastics with the maths here - it would take approximately 30 hours in total to retrieve all of the copper wire from the original cable. Please, please, please... if you have tried this before and know of a better (and faster) technique you simply must share it with me!
One thing I will try next time, is to leave the cable in a sunny window for an hour or so before slicing. Hopefully it will be easier to remove if softened a little first.
This is the copper! There are seven strands in each coloured cable. Seven coloured cables in total... So I will end up with 49 of these rolls to work with. Oh, and a 2L soft drink bottle was the perfect size and shape to wind the wire on to. That's how I shaped those coloured cables in the earlier photograph, too.
Did I mention it is hard on the hands, too? Lots of little cuts from peeling off the hard plastic coating, and a very sore wrist from slicing so firmly. Oh... and a bit messy, too. I probably could have found a more appropriate spot to work than the middle of the formal lounge room.
Just thinking aloud here... the cable I used is designed to run outdoors, over long distances, sometimes underground... therefore it is supposed to be tough and durable. So it makes sense that it was hard to get in to. Perhaps I need to experiment some more with different types of cables.
Anyway. This one will yield enough wire to make 49 bracelets. So that's a little more than half an hour retrieval time for each bracelet. Maybe it's not so bad when you look at it that way...
So I'm not trying to put anyone off this recycling caper... in fact, I really do encourage it... I'm just sharing my experiences... good, bad and otherwise... so that you know what you might be in for.
I'm off to have a play with this wire now... check back tomorrow to see how I go with it