How to Make and Sell a Wire Wrapped Tree of LIfe Pendant | Monique Littlejohn | Skillshare

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How to Make and Sell a Wire Wrapped Tree of LIfe Pendant

teacher avatar Monique Littlejohn, Jewelry Teacher and Nonprofit Professional

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

5 Lessons (34m)
    • 1. Intro to tree of life

    • 2. Tree of life meanings

    • 3. Supplies

    • 4. Tree of life directions

    • 5. Marketing tree of life

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About This Class


Many years ago while driving through the American southwest, I was intrigued by Native American dreamcatchers and their intricate designs. Later, I visited Egypt and stumbled on Tree of Life pendants and fell in love with the creativity and story. Have you seen a Tree of Life pendant, suncatcher, or ornament and thought that you would like to learn how to make it? In this tutorial, I will teach you how to make 2 different tree of life pendants using basic tools. After you have the basics down, you will be able to make one in 10 minutes. I’ll also help you price your creation and give you tips on where to sell them.
You don’t need to have any prior experience to make this design, and if you don’t have a craft store close by, you can buy them on Amazon if you are a Prime member, since you can often get amazing discounts on postage.
You are welcome to duplicate and sell the designs that you create from this tutorial, but the tutorial itself is copyrighted so you are not allowed to duplicate or distribute the tutorial without my express permission.

If you have any questions about this tutorial you are welcome to email me at [email protected] or Skype with name, MoniqueLittlejohn.

After you have enrolled in the class, I encourage you to share a photo of your Tree of Life pendant. As a bonus, I'm including an ebook tutorial for this class that is attached to the project section for everyone that includes a photo of their class project.

Now, let’s get started.

Meet Your Teacher

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Monique Littlejohn

Jewelry Teacher and Nonprofit Professional


Monique Littlejohn is an American expat living her dream of sustainability in South Australia. Her classes currently focus on jewelry design, but in the future, she will add crafting with nature products, gardening, beekeeping, and winemaking - all with a sustainable focus in mind.

She left her very successful nonprofit corporate development and marketing career of 16 years to focus on teaching learning lost skills, so that she could bridge the gap between the "greatest generation" (WWII) and "millennials."

She is also an accomplished jewelry designer and craft teacher who has published 7 books on jewelry making.

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1. Intro to tree of life: thank you for joining me today. Today we're going to learn about the tree of life, its historical and symbolic meaning throughout the world and also how to make one. Finally, we will look into how you should price you tree of life pendants on online sites as well as in boutiques. And if you want to sell them wholesale, I'll give you some tips there, too. I want to see your project. So please send me samples of what you're doing. And if you're selling it online, why not include that, too, on our project section? Because we're all very interested. We're also offering a free copy of my E book that is available on other online sides 45 99 as a bonus for this class. So be sure to go to the attachment section to be able to get a copy of that book. If you want Teoh be able to follow along side with something printed out, it's about 27 pages 2. Tree of life meanings: welcome. Today we're going to learn how to make these tree of life pendants. You're actually going to learn how to make the one that I have on right now with the same design in the same techniques. You can learn how to make so many others. As you can see here, I have a little koala in a cherry tree. I live in Australia, and this means a lot to me because I do have koalas in my trees. And here we have a nice amet pissed one and I made this AM Assist one with my e book, so you'll get a copy of that in this course to now we're gonna talk a little bit. About what? The tree of life, ISS and the meanings throughout the world. In Christianity, people are familiar with the tree of knowledge, which was in the Book of Genesis. And that was the tree that got Adam and Eve in trouble. When the serpent I talk them tucked even to having an apple that's a different tree. The tree of life is also in the Garden of Eden, and that is the tree that provide provided all of the inhabitants of the Garden of Eden with eternal life. But in the New Testament, it's also talked about as the tree of life, being Jesus and accepting Jesus into your life and eso there's before the fall and after the fall opportunities with understanding with the tree of life is in Christianity. In India, the tree of life has to do with the eternal banyan tree. And during the cyclic destruction of creation, when the whole world was enveloped by waters, you know the great flood, the eternal banyan tree, which was known as the Pasha Fatah, remain and unaffected. It is on the leaves of this tree that the Lord Krishna arrested in the form of a baby when land was no longer available. And it is here that the immortal sage Mark India, received the cosmic vision of the Lord. It is under this tree that Buddha meditates eternally in legend, also has it that the body tree a guy A is the manifestation of this tree. So since we're speaking about Buddhism, let's just jump right into that in the Himalayas. So the body bo tree is under that which Buddhist sat when he attained enlightenment? Yeah, at the Bodh Gaya, which is near guy in west central Bihar state in India. In Iran, they had a similar tree in ancient Iran and it was called the Gal Karina World Tree. It's a sacred home, a tree which bears all seeds on. Another related issue in ancient mythology is in Iran is the myth of Masha and Mash Knee two trees who were the ancestors of all living beings. This myth can be considered as a prototype for creation myths where living beings are created by God's who have human born now. For the ancient Egyptians, the tree of life represented the hierarchical chain of events that brought everything into existence. The spheres of the tree of life demonstrate the order process in method of creation and the Egyptians. Holy Sycamore also stood on the threshold of life on Earth or in life and death, connecting the two worlds in ancient Mesopotamia, which is now modern day Iraq, the tree of life was represented by the series of notes and crisscrossing lines, and in the epic of Gilgamesh, Atanas searches for a planet of birth. Teoh provide him with a son barrage to the branches of the tree were equally divided on the right and left sides of the stem, with each branch having one leap and one leave. On the apex of the tree, servants stood on each side of the tree with one of their hands up, as if they were taking care of the tree. Now both in the Jewish religion and in the Kabbalah part of the Jewish religion, they have a tree of life, a swell and it's tryem is the Hebrew word for tree of life, and it's figuratively applied to the Tora. The tree of Life is mentioned in the Book of Genesis as I mentioned to you before, which is part of Christianity and Judaism. Now cherub em with flaming swords protected the Tree of life in the Garden of Eden after the fall. And once again it's not the same tree is the Tree of Knowledge, the Book of Proverbs in the Book of Enoch, also refer to the tree of life in its powers in China. Ah, carving of the Tree of Life shows a phoenix in a dragon which both represent immortality, and the one who eats the fruit of this tree receives immortality in Islam. The tree of life also is also the tree of immortality that was forbidden to Adam and Eve. By eating the fruit from this tree, Adam disobeyed God quite often. The tree of life motif is found in intricate rubs and in mosques because they don't believe in having the human representation of forms. They prefer to use natural natural items such as trees and branches in their ribs and mosques. Now, in the Book of Mormon, the Tree of Life is symbolic of the love of God, and it's Brutus, described as the most precious and most desirable above all other fruits, which is the greatest of all of the gifts of God. Even if you go to Germanic paganism and Norse mythology, they have a tree of life, and it's considered a world tree, with the apples providing immortality for the gods. Now let's go to Mazel America. In Mexico, the tree of life connects above in the underworld and have geographical connotations. Trees were often planted in the four cardinal directions at ceremonial sites, so that would be north, south, east and west world trees air frequently depicted with the birds on the branches and the roots extending into earth or water, sometimes atop a water monster, which is symbolic of the underworld. And it may also represent our place in the Milky Way galaxy because, uh, the Aztecs and all of the other the my UN's, all of these other groups in mazel America were great astronomers. Now in Native America, According to the Air Kwai myth, the tree of life is found in the heavens where the first humans lived until a pregnant woman fell and landed in an endless sea. Saved by a giant turtle from drowning, She formed the world on its back by planting bark taken from the tree. So, as you can see, your trip like pendant will be very interesting to all of the different world groups, not just Christianity or Judaism or Islam. But it goes back thousands of years, and it's so fun to learn about it. If you want to learn more, just visit Wikipedia and dive into some of the books that air that you can find on Google. A swell 3. Supplies: Now we're going to get started on making the tree of life pendant, and we're going to talk about the supplies that you'll need. First, you'll need to get some dead soft wire anywhere from 20 to gauge to 26 gauge works really well, and I say dead soft because if you get half hardwire, you're going to struggle with it and your hands might get tired. If you make more than one of these pendants, you'll also need a circle frame while you could make the circle frame yourself there just so inexpensive to buy when you buy the wire, so you might as well start with one of those next by your beads. The beads should be small, but they should have at least a one millimetre hole if you go any smaller like that. For example, if you were to buy freshwater pearls, sometimes the holes not large enough, you're going to really struggle in breaks and beads along the way. You need round nose pliers to make the spirals. If you like making spirals and at least one pair of chain nose pliers when you buy the chain, those players be sure that you get the kind that don't have grooves on the inside, because the ones with the grooves on the inside will mark up your wire and you don't want that. You'll also want some wire cutters. And since you are going to be working with most likely copper, sterling silver or gold filled wire, you don't need to get the stainless steel type of wire cutters. Just about any wire cutters will do. And trust me, you're not going to want a work with memory wire. When you make something like this, you want some of the basic wires that are out there. Now what do you buy these supplies? I have bought them from several different locations. We have something called a gem fair that comes to Santa Barbara, California, every year. But now that I live in Australia, I rely on online shopping almost exclusively. I buy on eBay and Etsy, and when I lived in the United States, I bought at Michael's and then Amazon. If you're an Amazon prime member than a lot of times, the suppliers will give you shipping for free or at a very low cost. Finally, Craftsy is a pretty wonderful website as well and now that they also offer supplies, you can take tutorials and supplies at the same time. So in the next segment, we're going to be talking about actually building your pendant, so let's get started. 4. Tree of life directions: So now we're going to make our first tree of life pendant. And I picked up you beach that I think will work really well. These are pretty Swarovski crystals. And then I have a mother of pearl round Beatus world. They are all drilled all the way through rather than on the side. So it will be very easy to work with. And I'm going to make what looks like a midnight moon image with my tree of life. Now they don't always need to be this big, By the way, smaller ones would be great for your hearings or even smaller pendant necklaces. This is pretty big, but this is going to be great to show you how to do it for this particular one. I'm going to use 26 age old wire, and it's a lot smaller than the 22 gauge. But because I'm using a mother of pearl, there's a possibility that the hole is smaller than other types of needs. So it could be a small is a parole bead. And if that's the case, I want to be sure that my wires pretty large I'm going toe make. I think in this case. Eight inch, he says. On most of my mother of pearl projects that I dio I used this technique. So just grab a few of these about six this time because I'm using a smaller wire, and that means I'm going to have a lot more ranches. But if I were to go any smaller than making six of these, then the tree trump's gonna be super small to, and I want to have a decent sized treat. Trump. Okay, some up to four now. Yes, I escape to more these. We might have done eight, but six of probably be good. 2451 more. Remember, you're never going to make the same tree twice. Even if you absolutely wanted Teoh, it's just not gonna happen. So first, I grab all of these wires together so that weight one edges when it's just good. I think so. Next, I grab all of the wires together in one hand. You see these pliers brought nose in the know? Grab my cheek. Uh, the chain knows players mean in that I didn't have a very good grip there, and they grab the others and they just start twisting to make this this smaller for the closer to the end of, uh, wire this smaller your roots are going to be. If you don't think that this is enough of a route to be able to make your design, then you can simply untwist it just a little bit to make the roots larger. In the benefit of doing this is, it'll add a lot of nice, gnarly angles to it. But you still want to make sure that your tree trunk is fairly large. They're so see, I just made some really gnarly roots. Next you grab, you're circle here and then you just start packing. These roots in in the roots are pretty sharp, so be sure that you move any of the ends towards the inside. And then what I like to do is you get a couple better not going to cooperate. There we go. I like to use these flyers and just kind of twist him around like this. And that way the wires end up being on the sooner. If you have any little bits and pieces that are no not moving, well, just take your time on this part because it's really important that you have a good anchor for your tree. See that? That's my anger. Next, I just want toe Move these out. It will be easier to work with. Ah, circle is pointing down instead of to your face. I'm just kind of spreading the branches like this, figuring out which branch is gonna be my most important one since this it is just going to have a lot of branches. It'll be friend because we'll be able to make thicker branches moving into the thinner branches to. So I think that's pretty good not to make the the thinner branches. I just grab these and I twisted a couple of times No, only do two or three times, and I've got a been a branch. And I did the same thing with this hand with this. Actually, I'm gonna leave this one in. The sooner it'll be my top and then twist about him. So you see, my branch is already starting to take form, isn't it? I'm going to use this top one as my moon. My moon branch first I but all of these beat then I normally do three or four before I put the local beat on. If they're small like this, they grab the spoke Will bead place it where I want it. And then I keep going. You can have more than one focal bead for any design. It doesn't need to be just one that realized simplicity. It's going to be easier on the eyes. And if this is especially if this is going to be a necklace for a woman, do you really want someone to be staring at your chest for an extended period of time up to you? Maybe if you're in a night club, it would be good. Okay, so now I'm just twisting it, anchor it. They still have all of this extra wire. I'm just gonna kind of leave it next. We're going to the next ranch. So what would you call this design? I think I'm gonna call this one Midnight Sonata because it would you remind me of dancing and in the moonlight on a full moon night where if there's just enough light from the moon , that leaves aren't completely black, they're a little bit of blue and a little bit of black. Okay, so here this is where I am with this one, and I'm going to wrap this around twice again. Just a grit. All right, So and then move on to the next one. So isn't it amazing you could make a work of art in about 10 minutes. So anybody who looks at one of these will realize that they are works of art. So here I am with that one. I'm going with this one out of the way, like so and keep working on my branches. So how much do you think it costs for me to make this necklace? Not including my time, Of course. I went to the gym fair in Santa Barbara last year, and I picked up the beads, the glass beads for, I think, $2.15 inch strand. And then for the mother of Pearl. I bought that at Fire Mountain gyms dot com, which is when my favorite site and I think I got him for about 85% off in a 15 inch strand cost me about 55 cents. And it was such a shop, shockingly good deal, said the little gold round form. I thought also Empire Mountain gyms, for I think about 25 cents each and in the wire for whole school. Here's the wire zebra wire. It gives me 30 yards, which is enough to make probably 15 of these. I think it paid $3 for it. So overall, the necklace is going to cost, or the dependent is gonna cost less than $3 to make in one of the markup techniques that I often use and I'll go into markets a little bit later in another segment is I tend to mark things up at least 10 times, so I would probably sell this one for $30. But I also do a little bit of checking on what other people are charging or their dependence. And if I'm so, if I'm selling this in a market where the markups aren't as high, I've been reduced it. But I try not to reduce it so much that I won't be making a decent living when I'm making these. Okay, so here I am using exactly the same technique with all three. I could easily stop here and finish it off, but I think I want to add some interest to the design. I think I wanna bring some A B speed stand about here. So with the outside rings, and I'm going to spread it out a bit, Think about here. So I made a couple of loops, and I'm also going to make this branch come out a little bit more. So just grab three of these beads. I think so. And I just I'm making in many branch here, just like what you would see in the world by just tightening this, you know, having this one branch out. Think so. Once I get to that point, just clip it off on the back. This is a good point to decide whether you want this to be the back or this Tibet in the back. And since this piece of Mother of Pearl has a little bit of ah, mark on it on this side will go ahead in this clip it here using wire cutters and then using the chinos wires. I'll just print it down to make sure there aren't any hard shut edges. This is where we are at this point. That's the back. And that's the front. Now let's do the same thing that we did on this side over here. Actually, no, I think about it. That's pretty, well, symmetrical. So maybe I'm gonna leave it here in atom interest in spirals. So I've got a lot of extra wire here, Probably more than we need. So I'm just gonna slip it off about to fingerlings and do the same thing across the board. If you have Sterling Silver aware that you're using to do this with don't worry about all of this extra, you'll be able to use it. Another design, and as a last resort, you can always resell it, but scrapped. So now I'm here, right? Just grab my We all know Spires and I grabbed the very tip, and I twist until I get to a little. Then I grab Pacino's fires and one edge holding tightly, and I hold it tightly in and twist the rest of the wire around like so. And then I said, I just place this spiral right there. See? - No , if this is the top, I probably needed a loop, don't I? So, with this one, I'm going to just make a finding, so I'll grab it about 1/4 of an inch up, and then I'll twist down. Just grab the wire in Rapid. So that way I will have something that someone could he hang the necklace from? They could always sing it from the main wire if they wanted to. But that could also be difficult percent people because the necklace may not hit. Hang symmetrically. Um, I just making a whip. It'll allow people to wear it very easily, have a little tail here, and when it clip it, I always hold the excess wear with your finger so it doesn't fly across the room and hurt You were stick, you and I and there you have it. Now you have your loop, and your loop should be in the same direction this way. Not this way. That way it will be easier for people Teoh actually wear Since I'm using debt software, sometimes it's easier to just use my fingers instead of my tools because your 10 fingers are your best tools that you have came gonna make one more and I'm gonna click this one up because I wanted to be since symmetrical with this other side they keep with a lot of jewelry making is you have one stabilizing hand in one hand that does the twisting and turning with wire wrapping. There we go. And now I have my finished piece. This only took a few minutes to midnight till in the next time I make it. And if I'm not on the computer with you, it would take me half this amount of time. I can't wait to see yours. 5. Marketing tree of life: Now we're going to be talking about marketing your tree of life pendant, where to sell them in. How much to charge. Etsy is probably the best place, but also with the most competition. As you see in this slide, you can sell it in two different ways. One isn't ornament and one is jewelry. If you decide to sell it as an ornament, you can charge anywhere between $25.75 dollars based on the materials that you use. And generally people don't make ornaments out of sterling silver. So these prices air based on base metals or the types of metals that you would get at your local craft store rather than, ah, high end product. Now, when you want to sell etc. As jewelry, you have much more opportunity. I found that the average prices were between $25 for a base metal piece of jewelry, all the way up to $300 for a sterling silver in semi precious stone piece of jewelry. So certainly you'll be making more money if you choose to sell it as jewelry. But once again, the competition is pretty stiff. I also did a search on Google shopping and most of the Google shopping is based on Etsy stores again, and Google seems to be focusing their interest and search engine optimization at the listings around 40 to $50. Whatever you do, though, avoid putting your jewelry on eBay for selling because you're going to be going up against Chinese manufacturing and child labor. And sometimes these pieces of jewelry that air coming out of China are justus beautiful as what you could put together, and they'll Silin for as little as $1 plus free shipping. And here in Australia, I can't ship anything for a dollar. And in the United States it's the same way. So you're just not gonna win if you sell it on eBay. But I do recommend that you buy your supplies on eBay. You just sell your items elsewhere. You have a great opportunity if you don't mind going face to face with boutique owners to sell them in boutiques or, if you are in a tourist area, selling them in tourist areas along with a tree of life story with each piece, boutiques generally used something called keystone processing pricing for purchasing in bulk and what Keystone pricing is is that if let's say the cost US $50 for the item, they'll charge $100. Now, if your item is one of a kind, they may do as much as triple the wholesale price due to its rarity. So consider that when you price it, too, because if you are selling one of a kind items that are not easily duplicate herbal, then you can charge a premium for that item. And like my earlier example, that piece of jewelry that I was making in this class only cost me $3 to make. And I actually charged $30 for the same piece of jewelry. So I hope you have questions and that you'll send me your questions and I'd be happy to answer them.