Making Wire Wrapped Jewelry
4 April 2011
Author: Catherine Matthews-Scanlon
If you are just getting started in jewelry making and want to make some beautiful pieces with just a few tools, beads and a minimal amount of supplies - then you should try wire-wrapping. You don’t need to know how to solder or have any fancy jewelry making skills. You can get started making wire wrapped jewelry with just a few tools, some beads, buttons and other fancy baubles and of course a variety of gauges of wire.
Before you get started you should take an inventory of any supplies you may already have and from there create a list of supplies you need to purchase:
- Round Nose Pliers
- Flat Nose Pliers
- Bent Nose Pliers
- Flush Wire Cutter
- Chain Nose Pliers
- Bead Crimper
- 24 gauge soft or half hard wire
- 28 or 26 gauge soft wire
- Ring Mandrel
- Beads, buttons or other baubles to wrap into your creation
It's All in the Wire:
The type of project you create, and the ease with which you create it will depend a lot on the type and size of wire that you are working with:
- The larger diameter wire is a little bit harder to work as it’s harder to bend and wrap tightly.
- Skinnier wire wraps tightly and bends easily.
- But you should try working with all sizes of wire to get a feel for how they bend and wrap.
Here’s a chart that shows the gauges of wire and the corresponding diameter:
- 26 .4mm
- 24 .5mm
- 22 .6mm
- 20 .8mm
- 18 1mm
- 16 1.3mm
- 14 1.6mm
You can easily make a new ring, pendant or bracelet in a very short time once you get the feel for working with the wire and adding beads and buttons to dress them up.
As a beginner you’ll want to learn some basic wire wrapping skills like:
- how to make a top drilled wire wrap
- eye pin loops
- wrapping cabochons
- using a ring mandrel to create unique and beautiful rings in minutes.
You’ll also want to learn how to make swirls
and most specifically how to use the tools needed for each technique
. You can search the internet for video tutorials, pick up a book at the library or look for a class at your local bead store for additional tips and tricks to get you started.
If you’re skilled in using power tools you can turn pieces of sea glass or smooth rocks into pendants by drilling a hole and using a diamond tipped drill bit to make a hole to secure the wire. When making rings vintage buttons, beads, and crystals are all fun “stones” you can use to decorate the top. You could make a fancy button ring to match that pretty new outfit you just picked up by using the spare button that came with it. One nice thing about wire wrapped jewelry, if you don’t like it or somehow make a mess of it you can easily take it apart and start over or make something new.
I hope you’ll get started making wire wrapped jewelry and share it with us in the gallery!