Jun 082015
 

wire wrapped ammonite

In this video I show you a wire wrapping technique that can turn just about anything into a pendant. Today I’m using a polished ammonite that I picked up at a bead show a while back.

The wire wrapping is fairly straightforward as I wanted the focus to be on the fossil shell. You can find quite a few varieties of wrapped ammonites on this Pinterest board. Some of them have very elaborate wire work, and some don’t even use an ammonite at all!

Here’s the video on how to finish this piece with beads and crystals.

Enjoy the video and happy creating!

You can watch the Wire Wrapped Ammonite Video Tutorial over at YouTube.

Apr 242015
 

friday findings-wrapped top drilled.jpg

Top drilled beads add a lot of interest to a piece because they aren’t necessarily so perfectly symmetrical as center drilled beads. Also, all those wire wraps give great opportunity to make nice neat coils or add lots of fun messy wraps.

I love the way the wire wraps above the purple pearl and the amber chips act as funky bead caps.

If you are wrapping with a fine wire (24 gauge or smaller) I would suggest you leave the shorter wire long enough to make the loop as well (treating both wires as one.) Then you can do your wraps with both wires, tucking in the shorter one when it runs out. This will ensure that that short wire doesn’t pull out from under the wraps. (Try it and you’ll see what I mean.)

Enjoy the video and happy creating!

You can watch the Friday Findings-Wire Wrapping Top Drilled Beads video over at YouTube.

Jun 232014
 

Sometimes all it takes for inspiration is a lovely grouping of colors.  As soon as I saw Swarovski’s “Sea Breeze” assortment of 6mm bicone crystals, I knew what I wanted to do.

sea-breeze-crystal-necklace-still-down

(Click on either photo for a closer look.)

I have no idea of the name of the pendant shape. It was a free goodie tucked in with an order from Art Beads and I wasn’t able to find it in any Swarovski catalog.  If you know, please let us know!

sea-breeze-crystal-necklace-still-hanging

The chain is actual antique brass… it’s cuckoo clock chain from my friends who repair clocks.

You can watch the Sea Breeze Crystal Necklace Video Tutorial over at YouTube.

Happy creating!

Materials:

  • desired length 4-links-per-inch necklace chain with clasp (mine is 30 inches long)
  • approx. 6-inches 7-link-per-inch chain, separated into links that are 4, 5, 6, 7, & 8 links long
  • 1 package 15-6mm Swarovski crystal bicone beads in color assortment “Sea Breeze”
  • 15 daisy spacers for bicones (optional)
  • 18mm x 10mm Swarovski crystal pendant
  • 2 bead caps for pendant (optional)
  • 15 head pins
  • 1 3-inch piece 20 gauge wire

Tools:

  • two pair chain nose pliers
  • round nose pliers
  • wire cutters
  1. Slide onto a head pin: 6mm Swarovski crystal bicone bead and a daisy spacer.
  2. Use chain nose pliers to grasp wire just at point where it exits daisy spacer.  Bend wire at 90° angle.  Grasp bend with round nose pliers and wrap wire around pliers as far as possible to start to make a loop.  Reposition pliers to finish loop.  Slightly twist loop open and insert end link of one of the short pieces of chain. Close loop and hold with chain nose pliers. Use another pair of chain nose to wrap remaining wire around wire below 90° bend. Use wire cutters to trim, if necessary. Use chain nose pliers to tuck in end.
  3. Repeat steps 1 & 2 to add a 6mm crystal to one end of each of the smaller pieces of chain.
  4. Find center link of necklace chain. Repeat steps 1 & 2 to add a 6mm crystal to every other link on each side of center link.  (Five crystals on each side.)
  5. Grasp 3-inch piece of wire near the center with chain nose pliers; make a 90° bend. Grasp bend with round nose pliers about halfway up the round nose and wrap wire around pliers as far as possible to start to make a larger loop than usual.  Reposition pliers to finish loop.  Slightly twist loop open and insert other end links of each of the five short pieces of chain. Close loop and hold with chain nose pliers. Use another pair of chain nose to wrap remaining wire around wire below 90° bend. Use wire cutters to trim, if necessary. Use chain nose pliers to tuck in end.
  6. Slide on a bead cap, if using, 18mm x 10 mm Swarovski crystal pendant and another bead cap.
  7. Repeat step 2 to make a wrapped loop attached to center link of necklace.
Mar 102014
 

My son saw me wire wrapping this bracelet with copper wire and decided to pull the wire out of a bunch of electronics he had saved for recycling. Now I’ve got piles of 28 gauge copper wire and figured I’d better do something with some of it.

messy-wrapped-drops-dangle-bracelet-2

Top drilled beads are wrapped with just wire, not head pins or eye pins, so I went digging around in my stash for some some drops that would work.

The only bummer is that this kind of wire has an enamel coating, so it won’t patina with liver of sulfur. Any suggestions for a quick and easy way to remove the coating?

messy-wrapped-drops-dangle-bracelet-1

I’m really liking the mix of earthy tones in this bracelet, but it feels like it still needs something.  Perhaps if I come across some drops in an amber color, those will be the perfect finishing touch.

You can watch the Messy Wrap Drop Dangle Bracelet Video Tutorial over at YouTube.

Materials: 

  • total of 7 inches chain for bracelet base (mine uses 6-inches of large link and 1-inch smaller links)
  • 12 – 8mm Swarovski crystal top-drilled bicone beads in color Mocha
  • 8 – 15mm red dyed stone top-drilled triangle shape beads
  • lobster clasp
  • approximately seven yards 28 gauge copper wire (reclaimed from the inside of discarded electronics)

 Tools: 

  • chain nose pliers
  • round nose pliers
  • nylon jaw pliers
  • wire cutters 
  1. Cut wire into 8 – 16-inch pieces and 12 – 10-inch pieces. To straighten wire, hold one end firmly with chain nose pliers and slide through nylon jaw pliers several times.
  2. Slide a 16-inch piece of wire into a 15mm bead, leaving an inch sticking out one end. Bend both wire ends up at 90-degree angle to hole of bead. Bend wires over top of bead, making a triangle shape. Bend remaining ends of wire up, perpendicular to bead hole.  Grasp both wires with chain nose pliers at top of triangle and bend at 90° angle.
  3. Treating both wires as one grasp bend with round nose pliers and wrap wire around pliers as far as possible to start to make a loop.  Reposition pliers to finish loop.  Slightly twist loop open and slide over a link of your bracelet chain. Close loop and hold with chain nose pliers.
  4. Wrap remaining wire around bends and down to cover bead hole.  You will be building up a cone shape of wire from the bottom of the loop to just below the bead holes. Tuck in wire end with chain nose pliers.
  5. Repeat steps 2-4 to wire wrap all 15mm beads with 16-inch pieces of wire and 8mm Swarovski crystal bicones with 10-inch pieces of wire and attach to bracelet.
  6. If necessary, attach all pieces of chain together to make length of bracelet. Use jump ring to attach lobster clasp.
Feb 102014
 

Just in time for Valentine’s day here’s a great sparkly, dangly pair of earrings. With hearts! ….and crystals… and gold. How much better can it get?  

gold-crystal-sparkle-still

Now that I’ve gotten used to Swarovski crystals, I don’t think I’ll ever go back to anything else.  You just can’t beat their quality, sparkle and shine.

gold-crystal-sparkle-still-close-up

These earring aren’t for those of you who like them small and simple.  These are long, with lotsa swingy dangles & jangles. I love ’em. 🙂

If you want a less complicated version, feel free to leave off any of the elements and simplify.

Whatever you create, make sure it’s something you love. Happy Creating!

You can watch Sparkle & Gold Crystal Earrings Video Tutorial over at YouTube.

Materials:

  • 2 10mm Swarovski crystal hearts, amethyst
  • 2 11mm x 7mm Swarovski crystal teardrops, amethyst
  • 2 6mm Swarovski crystal bicones, crystal clear
  • 2 4mm Swarovski crystal bicones, crystal clear
  • 2 20mm square fused links, gold plated
  • 2 10mm round fused rings, gold plated
  • 2 2-inch pieces 26 gauge gold filled wire
  • 2 7mm jump rings
  • 2 decorative head pins
  • 2 plain head pins
  • 2 ear wires

Tools:

  • two pair chain nose pliers
  • round nose pliers
  • wire cutters
  1. Slide an amethyst teardrop and a 6mm crystal onto a decorative headpin.
  2. Make a wrapped loop by using chain nose pliers to grasp wire just at point where it exits last bead.  Bend wire at 90° angle.  Grasp bend with round nose pliers and wrap wire around pliers as far as possible to start to make a loop.  Reposition pliers to finish loop.
  3. Twist slightly to the side to open loop and insert square link. Close loop and hold with chain nose pliers.
  4.  Use second pair of chain nose pliers to wrap remaining wire around wire below 90° bend. Use wire cutters to trim, if necessary. Use chain nose pliers to tuck in end.
  5. Wire wrap heart crystal by sliding piece of 26 gauge gold filled wire into hole of bead, leaving 1/4 inch sticking out on one side. Bend both wire ends up at 90-degree angle to hole of bead. Bend wires over top of bead, making a triangle shape. Where wires cross bend remaining ends of wire up, perpendicular to bead hole.
  6. Grasp both wires with chain nose pliers and bend longer remaining wire at 90° angle. Use round nose pliers to make a loop with longer wire. Hold loop with chain nose pliers and use second pair of chain nose pliers to wrap remaining wire around wires below 90° bend. Use wire cutters to trim, if necessary. Use chain nose pliers to tuck in end.
  7. Open a jump ring and slide on: loop of wire wrapped crystal heart, square link and 10mm round ring. Close jump ring securely.
  8. Slide a 4mm crystal bicone onto a plain head pin and repeat steps 2 and 4 to make a wrapped loop dangle.
  9. Open the loop and an ear wire and insert 10mm ring and loop of 4mm bicone unit.
  10. Repeat to make second earring.
Feb 032014
 

Here are the earrings to match the necklace I posted last week.

wire-wrap-class-earrings

This is a super quick project.  What makes it special is you can use any beads that catch your fancy.  If you find a pair of larger ones that you love, use only two.  Got some smaller beads?  Use three.  Use spacers of any type: crystal, seed beads or metal.

wire-wrap-class-necklace-earrings

You’re only limited by your imagination. Oh, the possibilities…

Watch Wire Wrapping 101 – Simple Bead Earrings Video Tutorial over at YouTube.

Happy creating! 🙂

Materials:

  • 2 matching pairs 10-15mm beads
  • 6 large glass seed beads, or other spacers of your choice
  • 2 fish hook ear wires
  • 2 – 2-inch head pins

Tools:

  • chain nose pliers
  • round nose pliers
  • wire cutters

To make earrings:

  1. On a head pin arrange two of the 10-15mm beads alternating with 3 large seed beads.
  2. Make a wire wrapped loop to make a bead dangle:
    • Use chain nose pliers to grasp wire just at point where it exits last bead.
    • Bend wire at 90° angle.
    • Grasp bend with round nose pliers and wrap wire around pliers as far as possible to start to make a loop.
    • Reposition pliers to finish loop.
    • Wrap remaining wire around wire below 90° bend.
    • Use wire cutters to trim excess wire.
    • Use chain nose pliers to tuck in end of wire.
  1. Use chain nose pliers to open loop of an ear wire and insert wrapped loop just made.
  2. Repeat to make matching earring.
Jan 182014
 

Hi all!  I hope you’re having a wonderful weekend.  I’ve been having fun trying out a technique I learned in a Craftsy class I bought a while back, Wire-Wrapped Stones Crystals and Clusters.

(Click on any of the photos for a closer look.)

craftsy-wire-pendant-before-liver-of-sulfur

I just finished this pendant. It’s not exactly anything that was taught in the class, but she showed us the concept of twisting two wires together with a power drill, hammering the twisted wires flat until spaces open and then using the resulting piece as a frame for other wire work.

It was my idea to wire wrap the scrolls, pearls and crystals inside the frame.  I used 20 gauge silver filled wire for the frame and 26 gauge silver filled for the wrapping.

earrings-from-craftsy-class

The class  instructor made two pairs of frames and wrapped beads in between to make a pair of earrings.

twisted-wire-frame-ring

This style of earring isn’t exactly “me,” but I went ahead and made one, just to try the technique. Don’t know what I’m going to do with this, it’s too small to be a ring for the finger. Maybe someday I’ll make it part of something else.

wire-wrapped-bangle-from-craftsy-class

You might remember that I made this bracelet a couple months ago. If you’re going to use copper wire for a bracelet I’d suggest a heavier gauge than the 20 that I used. Probably 16 gauge would be best, so it’s nice and firm. Mine’s kind of squishy and flops about.

craftsy-wire-pendant-after-liver-of-sulfur

Just before Christmas I picked up some liver of sulfur to add patinas to my wire work.  I finally got to play with it this week. (I had to wait for the weather to warm up so I could do it outside as the family strongly objected to the stench of rotten eggs in the house. Huh.)

Here’s the first pendant I showed you after 20 minutes in the Liver of Sulfur and then polished a bit with a Pro-Polish Pad. I need to shine it up a bit more so the darkened areas in the crevices will really contrast.  Kinda looks like an antique piece of jewelry, eh?

Btw, Craftsy is having a flash sale this weekend. Craftsy Flash Sale 1/18-1/19 For the next 48 hours, choose from over 50 classes in 14 categories that are up to 50% off.

So, if you want to learn this twisted wire frame technique, and many others check out the class, Wire-Wrapped Stones Crystals and Clusters, it’s one of the ones on sale this weekend.

wire-wrap-class-jpg

Of course, if you want to learn something else, they’ve got classes in cooking, photography, sewing, quilting, fine art, knitting and more.

Have fun and Happy creating!

Nov 142013
 

More often than not we are inspired by materials.  Catalogs and conventions tend to overwhelm with the sheer volume of ideas.  But can’t you usually pick up just a simple component, like a length of chain or some beads and have the beginning of an idea?

urban-girly-bracelet

That’s how this bracelet started, with just the chain.

urban-girly-bracelet-2

Sometimes designing is about asking what if.  What if this edgy, industrial chain had girly pink beads on it?  What if we added LOTS of bead dangles?  What if we had a huge, funky clasp?

urban-girly-bracelet-close-up

Sometimes the answer is, “Nah, don’t bother. Yuck.” And sometimes it comes out pretty cool. 🙂

How about you?  What inspires you and what is your design process?

Watch Urban Girly Bead Dangle Bracelet Video Tutorial over at YouTube.

Materials:

  • 6.5 inch length of chunky chain for bracelet base, the one I used has 8 large links
  • large lobster claw clasp
  • 40 assorted beads of your choice, I used a combination of pressed glass bicones, lampwork glass, faceted metallics, frosted round glass beads, glass cube beads and white ivory look beads
  • 40 assorted bead caps to fit your beads
  • 40 headpins
  • 2 pair chain nose pliers
  • round nose pliers
  • wire cutters
  • crimping pliers, optional (for rounding over wire wrapping)

Directions:

1.  Note the thickness of the large links in your bracelet chain.  Find the point on your round nose pliers that will make a loop large enough to fit over the large links. Use a sharpie, if you like, to mark that point on your round nose pliers.

2  Slide a bead and a bead cap onto a headpin. Use chain nose pliers to grasp wire just at point where it exits bead cap.  Bend wire at 90° angle.  Grasp bend with round nose pliers at marked point and wrap wire around pliers as far as possible to start to make a loop.  Reposition pliers to finish loop.  Wrap remaining wire around wire below 90° bend. Use wire cutters to trim, if necessary. Use chain nose or crimping pliers to tuck in end.

3. Test to make sure your loop will fit over the chain link, then repeat step 2 for all 40 beads, bead caps and headpins.

4. If some of your beads (like my blue ones) are too big for the head pins, feel free to add a seed bead and/or a spacer bead to hold it in place.

5. Use two pairs of chain nose pliers to open a large link of your bracelet chain.  Add five bead dangles to each link, three on one side and two on the other. Repeat to add dangles evenly along entire length of chain.

6.  Attach lobster clasp on one end of bracelet chain.

Jan 312013
 

My friends over at All Free Jewelry Making have just released a wonderful new 38-page free e-book on wire wrapping jewelry.

How to Wire Wrap Jewelry: 16 DIY Jewelry Wire Wrap Tutorials eBook

Several of my projects are included, but there many others I want to try.  The Spiral Wire Ring, The Sunshine Spiral Beaded Earrings, and all the pendant wire wrapping (which for some reason, I still  haven’t tried yet) are definitely pieces I want to make.

Although videos are not included in the e-book, keep in mind that all of my projects have accompanying video tutorials, listed for you below.

Caged Bead Bracelet

Coiled Connections Bracelet

Hammered Heart Bracelet

Treble Clef Earrings

Graceful Crystal and Wire Necklace

Tangled Wire Bead Earrings