DIY Copper Plated Steel Decorative Sphere

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My latest and greatest project is these copper plated decorative spheres. I made them for $7 total and they took about 30 minutes to make. I got the Pinsperation from the blog, Retropolitanhip which gives a great step-by-step tutorial. She used galvanized steel, I used copper plated steel but the steps were very similar.

Materials
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  • 10′ steel hanger strap.
  • 16 bolts to fit in the small holes of the metal strap. There are two different size holes and I ended up using both. The nut held in the bolt in either size hole.
  • 16 nuts to fit the bolts. I opted for silver colored nuts and bolts and like the contrast of the copper with the steel but you can use whatever!
  • Protective gloves – the metal straps are sharp!
  • Wire cutter.

Steps

  1. Put on the gloves.
  2. For the large sphere, measure out about 17.5″. I flattened the metal strap for measuring purposes and wish I hadn’t. The strap was naturally coiled and flattening it gave it an odd shape. You can see it in various pictures below.
  3. Using the wire cutter, cut the strap on part of the hole so that you don’t have to cut through the entire piece. I had problems cutting through the entire strap so I made a dent on either side of the hole, then bent the piece back and forth until it snapped.
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  4. Repeat this step 3 more times so that you have 4, 17.5″ pieces.
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  5. Connect the ends of one strap to make a loop then secure the loop with a nut and bolt.
  6. Using another strap, make another loop. Secure both ends of the loop to the existing loop. You’ll have to unscrew the nut to do this. You should now have two connected loops in opposite directions.
  7. Repeat this step one more time, placing this strap in the middle so that you have three intersecting straps. I secured all three together using two nuts and bolts (see picture).
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  8. Wrap the final strap around all three of the existing straps to secure them together and complete the sphere. Secure each intersection with a nut and bolt.
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  9. The larger sphere is complete!
  10. For the smaller sphere, cut 4 metal straps that are about 12.5″ long each.
  11. Repeat steps 5-8 with the smaller sphere. I had to take the gloves off for this one. It was hard to reach into the sphere to secure the nuts and bolts when I had gloves on. Be careful, the edges are sharp!
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  12. Next, I wanted to age them and create patina, which did not work, but they did age a bit. I think that since the layer of copper on them is so thin, the mixture I made was too strong. I looked all over Pinterest and didn’t find a great solution to do this. I finally made up a solution of apple cider vinegar, white vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, and a bit of water. I mixed them together, put them in a bowl, and let the spheres soak in the mixture for about 20 minutes. 20 minutes was too long. Look what it did:
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    It totally wiped off all the copper plating.
    So when I flipped it and soaked the other half, I let it soak about 10 minutes. I think it looks better:
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    (it’s the one on the right)With the larger sphere, I let it soak for about 5 minutes and I think I like the end product even better:
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Side by side, they look pretty cool.

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