I like to make my own custom screw eyes for my Christmas Tree Ornaments out of 20 gauge brass
wire. My wire screw eyes are small and elegant!
Commercially available screw eyes are generally to big and ugly! If you do find small ones then the threads on the screw eyes are really small and wimpy. They will not hold the screw eye in place for long.
I have been using the same 50 foot roll of 20 gauge brass wire for the last 10 years or more. It is always in a drawer ready to go. Another reason to make your own screw eyes.
I have seen way to many nice turned Christmas Tree Ornaments on the web with big ugly screw eyes. I decided not to offend anyone by showing pictures.
DIY Wire Screw Eyes
I like to us a chuck when turning ornaments. Using a chuck allows me to create a nice point on
the tailstock side of the ornament.
I turn a flat spot on the top of the ornament. Roughly 1/8" in diameter. This gives me a flat spot to start a tiny drill on latter.
I part the ornament off or saw it off with a small Japanese pull saw.
Note: Any chuck will do. The great little chuck in the photo is Record Power SC2 chuck. See my SC1 & SC2 Mini 4 Jaw Scroll Chucks blog entry for more info.
I drill a tiny 5/64" (2 mm) hole for my screw eye wire. Roughly 3/4 of an inch deep.
I have found the easiest way to do this is with a drill press. Not on the lathe!
I mount the tiny drill bit in the drill press. Then I PUSH THE ORNAMENT UP ONTO THE DRILL while holding it with 2 hands.
I DO NOT crank the drill press down onto the ornament!
If, I am hand holding the ornament it does not get crushed by the drill press. I can easily move the ornament around to get the drill started on center (or close enough).
You need to back the drill out several times as you go. To clear the wood shavings. To avoid breaking the drill bit.
In the photo, I am using a "Mini Drill Adapter" to hold the tiny drill bit. My drill press chuck does not go small enough. Thus, I use the adapter. I leave the tiny drill bit in the adapter semi permanently. This makes it harder to lose the tiny drill bit. See "Tiny Drills" below for more info.
Notes: 1. I am only using one hand in photo. I recommend using 2 hands. My other hand is taking the photo.
2. I drill the hole off the lathe, because trying to get a tiny drill started on center in the lathe is a nightmare. That, I have learned to avoid.
Purchase 20 gauge (0.88 mm) SOFT brass or copper wire from local hardware store.
I like brass. Copper also works, if you like the color of copper better or you can't find brass.
Purchase on Amazon if not locally available. See 20 Gauge Wire below.
Make a "U" shaped bend with a 1 inch long leg. See photo.
I like to leave the wire attached to the roll of wire. This makes it easier to handle and hard to lose.
This photo shows the finished wire screw eye after I cut it off the roll.
I leave or add little bends in the long legs. The bends, wedge the wire screw eye into the hole in the ornament.
Test fit the new wire screw eye in the hole you drilled earlier.
Is the hole deep enough? If not, then make the hole deeper or cut the wires shorter.
Start the wire screw eye in the hole, with most of it sticking out.
Apply MEDIUM viscosity super glue to the long straight part of the wire screw eye.
Then push it into the hole. Wipe off any excess super glue with a paper towel.
Note: Any brand of super glue will get the job done.
A fancy hook adds a nice touch to the ornament. See my Fancy “S” Hooks for Christmas Ornaments blog entry.
You can purchase tiny drills at your local hardware store or an assortment on Amazon.
I use a 5/64" or 2mm drill for my wire screw eyes.
Always, purchase more than one! This way, you will not break the one and only one you have! A corollary to Murphy's law.
You can use a "Mini Drill Adapter" to hold tiny drills if you drill press chuck does not go
Purchase at local hardware store or on Amazon.
I recommend purchasing 20 gauge (0.88 mm) wire from a local hardware store. See Purchase Wire above.
If you can't find it locally you can get it on Amazon.
Beware! I have not ordered this wire. Thus, I have not really checked it out. It just looks like it will do the job.