Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Bira-Bira tutorial

Pictured above: Pair of bira-bira kanzashi with custom obijime

A fellow Etsian recently convo'd me inquiring about where to acquire bira-bira - metal flutters that sometimes accompany the main part of certain types of kanzashi (e.g.: tsunami kanzashi). They're attached via small rings, causing the metal strips to brush against each another, creating a pleasant "tinkling" noise as one moves.

Anywho, I've made note that I've almost always made my own bira-bira. And so, said Etsian's inquiry inspired me to post a quick tutorial.

You will need:

-Aluminum sheeting. Must be somewhat flexible, preferably of .032 thickness. You can find these sheets available in 6x12" at most hardware stores and some art supply stores (can be found in drafting supplies or metal crafts dept.) [Link]
-Floral wire (preferably silver, 18 gauge)
-4mm jump rings
-Wire jig [Link]
-A pair of tin snips [Link]
-Needle-nose pliers
-1/16" hole puncher [Link]
-Metal file
-A pair of work gloves
-Work goggles
-Ruler with both inches and centimeter marks (preferably one with a rubber/cork underlining to prevent slippage)
-Ball point pen
-Optional: Small t-square


-With the ruler and ball point pen, mark down sections measuring 1.5" long by 0.5cm wide each. You can use an optional t-square for easier perpendicular lines.
-Wearing gloves and goggles, carefully use the tin snips to cut down the lines. It's easier to cut through the entire width of the metal sheeting into smaller sections before cutting lengthwise. As you cut out each piece, the metal will curl some, but don't worry! You can straighten them out later.

-Using the 1/16" hole puncher, pierce a single hole at one end of the flutter piece, as shown below, and repeat with the other pieces. Just to forewarn you, it can be a bit of a pain to remove the bira-bira piece from said hole puncher. Just gently try to wiggle the end with the needle-nose pliers.-You will now have a pile of bent bira-bira pieces. for this part, you can simply take the same needle-nose pliers and clamp the flutters until they're straight. If you wish to make them perfectly flat, you can gently hammer them on a flat, hard surface.

-Now onto the wire, in which your bira-bira will hang from. Take the wire jig, and the amount of pegs for however many loops you want (odd numbers are recommended). Insert pegs adjacent to one another diagonally across the jig pad.

-Taking a single 18ga floral wire, start with one end and bend using pliers about a couple inches in. Follow the illustrated diagram below, making a tight curve inward to form one corner of the "triangular" shape. With the corner placed at the first peg, wrap the wire around the first peg, while keeping the wire pinned flat against the pegboard. Guide the wire over to the second peg and wrap it, repeating with the other pegs. Be sure that the odd loop is aligned at center point. To note, the loops will surely look better than my crappy illustration. :P
-After wrapping the wire, gently shift the loops off the pegs. Clamp any open gaps shut with the pliers and shape the wire to reflect the other half. Twist both ends together to secure.

-Acquire the appropriate amount of flutters and 4mm jump rings (which can be found at any craft/jewelry supply store). Using needle-nose pliers once more, gently twist both ends slightly open. Slide one end through the bira-bira hole, then through one of the wire loops before clamping the jump ring shut. Be sure not to squeeze the pliers too tightly, which can flatten the jump ring. Repeat with the others.

-Bind with whatever tsunami kanzashi you're making and voila!

Of course, one can always expand on their creativity and incorporate bira-bira into other crafts. You can also use different colored metals and even experiment with different materials. Now go, create!


Laura said...

ooh thanks for the tutorial, was looking for something like this :D

Anonymous said...

Wow! This was just what I have been looking for and the best tutorial I have found! Thanks for posting it!!

pintsized said...

I have been looking ALL OVER for bira bira hair ornaments! I am going to try this! Thank you for this tute!

Stella Martis said...

Thank you!

dmb321 said...

Thank you