Instructions on Making Barbed Wire Art

Barbed wire is sharp, so be careful when making art with it.
Barbed wire is sharp, so be careful when making art with it. (Image: barbed wire image by Annika from Fotolia.com)

Barbed wire, once known as "Devil's Rope" used in fence construction to keep livestock from wandering, is also a medium used in making sculpture. There are more than a dozen styles of barbed wire. Some of the older designs were made by farmers and farm hands with hand-forged nails and metal pieces. With the proper tools and willingness to risk getting poked, you can make a free-standing or wall-hung sculpture with barbed wire, new or old.

Things You'll Need

  • Pencil
  • Paper
  • Barbed wire
  • Leather gloves
  • Wire cutter
  • Pliers
  • Safety glasses

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Draw a sketch on a piece of paper. Having a strategy will help you plan the amount of wire you need for each project and will reduce the number of times you need to handle the wire. If this is your first time, begin with something simple such as a basic shape or a letter that can be hung on a wall.

Cut a length of wire and set the remaining wire aside and away from your work area. When working with barbed wire, it sometimes flips and turns unexpectedly -- so it's wise to keep other hazards out of reach.

Grip one end of the wire with a leather-gloved hand. Grip a section of the wire, and then another section with pliers about 12 inches from your gloved hand -- bend according to your sketch. Continue working in this way, one hand on the wire and the other using a pliers, forming the wire into your design.

Wrap the ends of the wire and crimp them -- meaning pinch them tightly with the pliers -- so that they don't come unwrapped.

Tips & Warnings

  • As you gain more experience using barbed wire, make three-dimensional pieces by crimping pieces of wire together.
  • Hang barbed wire sculptures out of reach of young children.

References

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