Monday, March 18, 2013

Cold connections and shotgun shells!

I have seen some jewelry out there made from shotgun shells and other spent shell casings.  The look intrigues me, not sure why exactly since I have never fired anything more than a pellet gun in my life.  Hunting however, is very popular in my area and in my family.  And I am a fan of upcycling when you can.  So I started asking family to save their spent rounds.  Brother in law Jack was the first to be accommodating and my Sis mailed them off to me last week.  Thanks Jack for picking these all up for me and Syd for running off to the PO to get them to me.

Here is the great box of all types of spent shotgun shells Jack salvaged for me :).  Who knew they came in so many colors, including pink?  Ok, maybe many of you knew,  but I had no idea.

Next step was to figure out how to separate the plastic shell from the metal part that I really want for most projects.  Turns out this is a bit more difficult than it would seem, tried pulling, cutting, prying and then I turned to YouTube.  Honestly, is there anything that can't be learned on YouTube?  Found a gentleman from the UK on there who was first cutting most of the shell off then heating the plastic to a gooey mess over his stove and digging the goo out with a knife.  My process went a little more cleanly with a bit of practice.  PLEASE NOTE, use all safety precautions if you are going to try these things on your own.  The shell casings I received have been fired and are empty of shot and gun powder.  For mine I turned to my torch, heated the metal end for about 5 seconds, pull on the plastic shell and most if not all of it comes out neatly.
From there I had to decide the best way to use these little metal gems.  The edges can be a little sharp, and in some cases a bit deeper than I wanted them to be.  The edges can be easily pierced with my Eurotool hole punch though for earrings and pendants.  Much more experimenting is yet to be done but I will share what I have so far.
First up was a pink sell container, one of the guys on YouTube was making wilderness survival kits with these, but chicks have survival needs too.  I'm sure there are any number of things a gal could stash in here from pics, to bobby pins, lipstick perhaps.  Still working out the details of how to hang it, but here is the container itself.  I consider this a sorta cold connection since the cap just slips on, lol.
Pretty in pink!
Next up was some hammering, cutting, drilling and riveting!  This was the first time I have actually made my own rivet from 10g copper wire.  I'm pleased with the result, particularly for a first go.  Now that I look at the close up I can see where the rivet could be a bit flatter but it isn't high enough to scratch or snag.  The cuff is hammered 10 g copper too.  I cut the metal piece of the shell down a bit so it didn't sit o high, not sure if I will do that on the next one or not.  Next was drilling a hole through firing pin portion, the actual "pin" came out when I sawed it's back off so that made it a bit easier.  Also had to drill a hole in the cuff to accept the rivet.  Tip of the Day:  Be sure to wear ear protection when drilling metal, it is very loud and extremely high pitched! 
I like it!  I think this works for girls and guys.  What do you think?
Here are a few other views...
A true cold connection.
Stay tuned, I hope to get more pieces done this week.


  1. That is great! Jack feels like he did good. Let us know if you need more. I like what you did and can't wait to see what you come up with next!

    1. He did awesome! Keep 'em coming and if he practices with his rifle or pistol I'd be happy to have the spent brass too :).

  2. LOVE THE BRACELET! I would like to place an order for two please. One in small for a woman and another larger on for my husband! Please email and let me know how much.

  3. I too have a fascination with this as art work... I've been collecting spent bullets on my hikes for ages...

  4. CANNOT THANK YOU ENOUGH! For over a year, I have been looking for a way to remove the plastic from the metal...alas, I didn't see that youtube video!! Thank you so much for the info...we collect these on our dog walks and I've been dying to make some necklaces! Thank you, thank you!


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