A Bit Of Wire Work For Mr. Mer

A Bit Of Wire Work For Mr. Mer

Mr. Mer has spent another week making subtle comments about wanting an upgrade on his muscles…the fishy ones this time. His fishy bits are based on a Northern Pike which is common in the lake at my parents’ cottage. I have been beefing up his fishy bits but he says he is not ready for his close-up. I will keep working on his upgrades and try to tempt him to show you as soon as he feels he is done.  SO we will get back to him in a blog or two.

 Northern Pike reference


While we wait for him, I had something else I wanted to show you.

For the last week, I have been watching non-felting related videos from curios mondo. They seem to mostly have crafts to do with fabric stiffening products, that they sell, but have had some other interesting topics too. I did catch parts of the nine-class, workshop series on making a wire-wrapped bug necklace with beads. (They do the live broadcast free or you can buy the workshop and watch all of them at your leisure. So far I’m cheap and have so far only watched the live ones.)

You never know what you will be able to pick up while watching or taking a class. This includes topics that are not actually on the topic you mainly do. Even with missing large parts of the workshop, it gave me some odd ideas I wanted to investigate further. (yes, I will get back to that in a moment)

The instructor, while teaching, used the stepped pliers. I had been curious as to what their original purpose was. He used them while making a bail (it attached the bug to the chain).  He also had some very tiny-nosed pliers that might be quite useful for rolling ends of finer gauge wire. I have got to track down a pair of those! He showed an interesting technique of locking the bail and a similar way of making links on a beaded chain that I likely should have written myself notes on.

Another good suggestion he had was putting a mark on tapering rounded pliers so you will get the same size ring on each turning of wire. This would be more important on wire-work that shows but could affect your armature construction if you were working on a smaller scale.

He also work-hardened the antenna of the bug with a hammer (I would have suggested the smallest flattening hammer from the blacksmithing hammers around here which would have been more effective.) This might be useful in armature construction for the tips of claws if they are exposed? Or stiffening antler wires? You don’t want to work-harden the wire too much or it will be more prone to breaking when bent or posed. So, an area that will not be repositioned frequently like tips of claws or antlers may be fine.


Now back to what I got distracted thinking about while I was suppose-to-be learning to make wire-work bugs necklaces (with beads). It just doesn’t seem fair to give Mr. Mer a tennis ball but not give him a tennis racket.

Oddly, In last weeks guild social one of our members had made a tennis racket and was next going to felt a tennis ball. I seem to be working opposite to her as I had Mr. Mer’s tennis ball (which I used as my show and tell)  so now it’s time to make him the racket to go with it.

I have tried to play tennis in my much younger days. It did not go well. My glasses move if I run or suddenly change direction so I can’t see anything beyond blurs. This makes it hard to hit or dodge a moving object. I also got tennis rackets that tennis balls seem to be able to go right through!! That doesn’t seem fair at all. But if Mr. Mer would like to try then I should let him.  It may go better for him than it did for me. I am not sure if there are different rules for water tennis. I should ask my niece about that.  She might know. (She is very good at swimming, which I am not)

Now how to make the racket. It will be wirework! The gauge will be important.  With Something larger for the rim and much finer for the stringing.  I will also need to have a wrapped handle.  The black floral tape should work. If it is not adhering well I could try black acrylic paint, mog-pog or clear glue to finish it off.

Wire gauge selection

I pulled out and considered from 6 to 14 gauge aluminum for the outer rim. I decided on 9 gauge.  The little section of the inner rim had to be finer. After a bit of looking and debating, I felt the 12 gauge – 2mm Dollerama aluminum would likely work. For the lacing I selected the 26 gauge (steel?) coated gardening wire. After making the first racket I can see a way of making the lacing a bit neater but I am content with the first attempt.

2-3 two of the wires gauges I will need

The handle needs to be wider than the width of two 9 gauge wires. I debated between four or three wires and found 3 more in scale.

4 Three 9ga wire looks better than four

Since I didn’t have a bending jig I gently shaped the oval by hand at the top of the 9 gauge wire bringing the handle ends together and adding the middle piece of wire. I added floral tape to hold the handle in shape as I measured, cut, then shaped the lower curve in the 12 gauge wire. I added a wrap of black floral tape before taping it in place on the racket.

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5-6 Lower rim of racket added

I cut off a couple of lengths of the 26ga fine coated steel wire. ( If I did this again I would have made each vertical a separate piece and wrap to give the spacing between each string.) I wrapped then laid in the vertical longer strings (9 in total).  Then, used the back of the felting needle to create a shed to pass the horizontal strings through.  (Why did I not grab the large darning needle hanging from my desk lamp? It would have worked even better.)  I added extra wire wrapping around the perimeter which would likely not have been necessary if I had done the wires individually.

7 the strung racket

At this point, I needed a bit more stabilization of the handle. It was compressing towards the base of the racket (The three wires were not sitting flat. One was trying to lift up between the other two.) I can fix such errant behaviour with more wire!!! I pulled the lengths of the 22ga black steel floral wire and carefully positioned and wrapped the thin wire around the parallel 9ga wire. This required another layer of floral tape over top and all looked much neater and more like a tennis racket!

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8-10 Adding wire to strengthen the handle

Mr. Mer was thrilled with his new acquisition! Which he held and posed with trying to get just the right look.

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11-15 The photoshoot!

Here is a quick idea of scale as I hold his new racket and ball

16 To get a sense of scale

He has put away his racket and ball carefully and wants me to get back to work on his fishiness. Then, maybe finish off the muscles of his arms….maybe some hair…… (Mr. Mer is getting demanding).

17 Good Job Mr. Mer! toys should be put away after you’re done playing.


18 A final shot

9 thoughts on “A Bit Of Wire Work For Mr. Mer

  1. The tennis racket is superb! No wonder Mr Mer is packing it away very carefully in his bag.

    The way you pose Mr Mer is making the boundary between fact and fiction very blurry – he’s very much alive!

    1. Thank you!! it was a fun project to think through and make. i understand you should always excessorize your outfits… i am not sure i do that well for myself (do i need a different outfit for each wheel i am using? can a doffer be considered a hair stick……) but i will try my best for the Mers.

      he is vary good at staring at me and making me feel vary guilty about sitting and typing when i could be beefing up his various muscles!!! oh no he is looking at me again!!! i better get back to work soon!

  2. The racket is fabulous. You will have to make another so he can play with someone and you must find out what the rules for underwater tennis are. I had one of those holey tennis rackets too, very unfair. He is demanding, does he have seaweed hair? what kind of seaweed?

    1. thanks, yes i think Mrs. Mer needs a racket too! i will have to check with my neece to see if she can detrmin the rules for underwater tennis, we may need to make a weigted tennis ball so its not slowed down by the water too much or float!
      hum i hadnt considered actual seaweed for hair…. i will have to look and see what sea weed looks like. i just know about the kinds in the kitchen that go in hot and sour soup. or get raped around onigari (rice balls with filling).i was going to do a blend of Pedencal Tussah silk and maybe alpaca but now i have to go do more resurch!

  3. Mr. Mer will need all kinds of accessories now for every sport he wants to try and who knows what else. You might have created a “sea monster”. Ha. Good job on the wirework. It’s definitely harder than it looks when you try it yourself. I was terrible at tennis, my depth perception isn’t good and that really makes any sport with moving objects that you have to hit very difficult.

    1. Thanks Ruth! i had made the quodrafoils for some of the Mers (trifoils looked funny) but maybe a krackin will be required too. maybe a pleasasaur? i hope he dosnt want to take up skeying ether the water or snow veriety, i dont know how i could attach the skey!!!

      i dont know why i use to get to drive the big moving trucks for myself and frends moves. i could do spacial packing of the truck to get the most stuff in it, but could not get left and right turns correct when we drove to the new location (drivers side passanger side worked fine). the hitting a moveing object was horrible but that may have been the glasses bouncing rather than spacial coordination. life is werd. (the have jan lable boxes untill we are ready to load the truck didnt go as well as hoped ether. the boxes had to be opened then the words made more sence).

  4. What a tidy chap Mr Mer is – putting away his toys.
    I think I could have done with his tennis racket when I was a kid – full size ones were too heavy for me – I still couldn’t play for long when I got bigger – badminton now, that was much easier (though I was playing in the days of wooden rackets and one had to shout “wood” if you hit the shuttlecock with the wooden rim. What do they shout these days I wonder, or doesn’t it matter any more?)
    Looking forward to seeing Mr Mer’s enhanced musculature.

  5. Jan, thanks for the laugh! I had a lot of fun seeing your racket creation and wondering why my own creatures don’t clean up like Mr Mer… would be handy in this mess of a studio 😀

    (Another thing: you mentioned the fish being a Northern Pike and all I saw was “Northern Pickle” – kept wondering why the poor water animal was pickled before even being captured! Ah, brain…)

  6. Great tennis racket Jan and your attention to detail is phenomenal! Mr Mer is a fine body of a (half) man – you had best keep an eye on him or he will get ideas above his station and start looking of appearance fees. Love your post!

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