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Monday, June 29, 2009

Easy Wire Wrap Jewelry Projects

Wire wrapping can create fantastic pieces of jewelry. You can wire wrap bead or pendents for great looks. This is a technique that takes a little practice, but over time can make fantastic and interesting looking pieces.

With that in mind, it isn't a bad idea to start with inexpensive wire that isn't made of fancy materials. Eventually you may want to move into gold- and silver-filled wires.

For now, you can pick up spools of wire for a few dollars or less and make fantastic interesting pieces.

This article will cover making wire wrapped pieces that can then be hooked together. The technique described is specifically for beads that have been drilled through, but can be used for top-drilled pieces and other types as well.

Step 1:
Cut your wire. It is always a good idea to have too much wire and then trim it after you are done. If working with beads under 10 or 12 millimeters, three to four inches of wire is a good idea. If your bead is larger than that, go for more wire so you can get the look that you want.

Step 2:
Insert the wire into the bead and create a wrapped loop. Insert the wire through the hole in the bead and make a wire wrapped loop. If you are doing this for a top-drilled bead then this will be a wrapped wire loop that will let you add it to the piece, if this is a regular bead you will end up making a second wrapped wire loop, but will want to start with one.

*To Make a Wrapped wire loop-

1) Make sure you have at least 1 1/4" of wire above your bead. Use your chain nose pliers and position them grasping the wire above the bead. This is going to help you form the neck of the wrapped loop and will actually be the place you will wrap the wire around after you have formed the loop. Bend the wire (using your fingers) at a ninety degree angle.

2) Place your round nose pliers on the bent wire (the portion that is at a 90 degree angle) so that it butts up against the "neck" of the piece. Using your fingers wrap your wire around the nose of your pliers. This will make a loop.

3) Reposition your round nose pliers so that the bottom jaw is placed into the forming loop. Finish wrapping your wire around the bottom jaw. You should now see the loop portion of the wrapped wire loop.

4) Position the chain nose pliers so that they are holding the loop.

5) Wrap the wire around the "neck" that you created earlier. You want your wire to look nice, so you will want to go slowly and get it so that each layer is up against the next with out odd looking overlaps.

6) Trim the excess wire (end cutters make this easiest) and press the cut end close to your wrapped wire using your chain nose pliers.

Step 3:
Make a second wrapped wire loop. As long as you are doing a bead you will want to make a second wrapped wire loop on the other side, however you want want to trim your wire. These links will let you connect them to other beads and to findings with jump rings.

If you would prefer, you can make the links so that they link together.

Step 4:
Wrap your bead. This is the creative part. You will want to gently wrap the wire to form loops and designs on your bead. Make sure you go slowly and use your pliers for holding the wire, but your fingers for bending it. You will also want to decide how much of your bead you will want to have showing (after all if using a material that is really pretty or expensive you will want some to show through!).

While this is a fairly simple thing to do when writing it down, it is more difficult when you are actually making the projects. You will find that it can be hard to get the look you really want. Additionally as you practice you will find new techniques that can make great looking pieces. However, this is the basic start for all those learning to make wrapped wire jewelry. If you are wanting to make even better pieces this is a good thing to take a class in because there are a lot of things you can learn to do and having a teacher show you with hands on help can be a great improvement to your style as well as learning caging, wire altering, twisting, and hammer techniques to create truly awe inspiring pieces.

Learn more about this author, Danelle Karth.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

How to Make a Wire Wrap on a Top Drilled Bead

Commonly referred to as a briolette wrap to honor those lovely little tear drops or a Bail wrap to attach a large pendant, wire wrapping these beads can be a challenge.
If you are familiar with how to wrap beads onto head pins, this should come more easily.
1- Cut a piece of suitable sized wire 2-3 inches.
2- Fold it up on either side of the bead. One side of the wire should only extend about 1/4 inch past the tip of the bead.

The rest of the length will be doing all of the work making the loop and wrapping on the other side of the bead.
3- Pinch the wire tight at the tip of the bead (or top of the pendant). The wire must be as close as possible to the sides of the bead for security. If you are using heavier wire, making this pinch with your pliers helps.

Steps 4 on are how you would make a wire wrap on a head pin as well.

4- Using the tip of you needle nose pliers, grip both wires at the bead. Working with only the longer wire, make a 90 degree angle.
5- Change to your round nose pliers. Grasp the longer wire only with these pliers, one side of the pliers on top, and one underneath at the bend you made in step 4. Look at how the pliers meet around the wire. Imagine how the number "8" is shaped. That is how the pliers should meet; to look like the #8.
6- Pull the long wire up and over the top of the pliers, and then straight down.
7- Loosen and rotate your pliers to again look like a figure 8, but the loop you started should be between and on the bottom half of the pliers.
8- Complete you loop by following around the bottom and out the back, again finishing at a 90 degree angle.
*your loop should now look like a lollipop. If it looks like a "P" your plier position was off*

9- Before you finish wrapping attach the loop onto whatever you want to attach it to.
10- With your needle nosed pliers get a secure grip on the loop towards the back of your pliers as well as the short wire which should line up across the center of the loop.
11- Using your fingers or bent nose pliers wrap the long wire from under the loop to the tip of the bead.
12- Cut off excess at the bottom and bend the short wire out at a 90 degree angle to get it away from your loop before trimming it.
13- If the wire is sticking out, smooth it in with your bent or needle nose pliers so it won't catch.

If you are wrapping a briolette, you can continue down to make a "cap" on it.

To see pictured free step-by-step instructions visit under the Learning tab.

Learn more about this author, Karey Grant.