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If you’re new to making jewelry, wire wrapping is a fun and relatively easy place to start. It’s also a great way to express your creativity and individuality, as no two pieces are ever the same.
Here’s what you need to know about DIY wire wrapped jewelry, including some beautiful examples and wire wrapped jewelry tutorials that can help you get started.
What Is Wire Wrapping in Jewelry Making?
Wire wrapped jewelry is formed by wrapping flexible wire around a gemstone (or even around itself) in patterns and twists. When a stone is used, the wire creates a casing so that it doesn’t fall out, without the need to glue or drill holes in it. You can make all kinds of jewelry with this method, though pendants are especially common.
Is it Hard?
Because the wire wrapping process uses less complex techniques and materials than some other forms of jewelry making (think silversmithing or resin jewelry), it’s easy for anyone to pick up. Wire wrapped jewelry tutorials run the gamut from beginner to advanced, so you can practice on simpler designs before trying more complex ones.
Examples of Wire Wrapped Jewelry
Materials and Supplies Required for Wire Wrapping
- Jewelry wire: Round and half-round, in various gauges (the higher the gauge number, the thinner the wire)
- Wire cutters
When starting out, choose an inexpensive plated jewelry wire, which is often copper with a silver-colored metal coating. Copper is also inexpensive if you prefer the color. Once you’re more experienced, you can experiment with higher-grade wires, including silver or gold.
Skillshare instructor Rachel Truax recommends cabochon stones for pendants, which are flat on one side and rounded on the other.
3 Steps to Making Wire Wrapped Jewelry
Here, we’ll cover how to make a wire wrapped pendant with a large central stone, but other types of jewelry—like earrings or pendants with multiple stones—can be made using similar techniques.
Step 1: Create the Base of the Pendant
Start by creating the base of the pendant. Cut four lengths of round wire to roughly the same length, using 18-22 gauge wire, then cut a two-foot length of half-round wire. Don’t worry too much about precise measurements, though it’s always better to cut off more than you need than not enough.
Now, gather the four shorter wires together and wrap the two-foot-long wire around them at the center, as pictured. Use the pliers to flatten the wrapped wire against the bundled wire. Keep wrapping until you have about an inch of wrapped wire (or about the size of your stone).
The aim of this step is to create a flat wrapped section of wire that the stone will sit on top of. The wires protruding from that cluster will be bent and twisted around the stone in your chosen designs.
Step 2: Wrap and Twist the Protruding Wires
In step 1, the goal was to create a base with a number of protruding wires. The next step is to wrap these wires so that when you’re ready to place your gemstone on the base, they can be twisted and shaped around the stone.
You have a lot of freedom here to wrap the wires as you like. Truax suggests wrapping thinner lengths of wire (such as gauge 32) around single and double wires, as well as twisting some of the base wires together. There are no firm rules, so do whatever you think will look good. Wire wrapped jewelry ideas are very flexible.
Step 3: Wrap the Stone
You should now have a bunch of wires with different textures and thickness.
Before starting to wrap the stone, use one of the strands of wire to create the bail (a loop above the stone that you will thread a chain or leather lace through).
Next, place the stone in the center of the base (the part that you formed in step 1). Truax says that this part of the process is “basically a free-for-all!” You can wrap, twist, and loop the wires around the stone however you’d like—the only goal is to make sure the stone stays in its casing in an attractive way.
Again, remember that these wire wrapped jewelry instructions are more of a guide than a rule book. The best part about this art form is that wire wrapped jewelry ideas are only limited by your imagination. We can’t wait to see what you create!
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