How to make wire wrapped jewellery – a tutorial Oruki Design
Wire wrapping is a versatile technique that you can make beautiful jewellery without needing to invest in expensive tools or equipment, making it great for anyone who wants to start designing their own jewellery or learn a new craft skill. As you grown in practice and experience, you’ll be able to expand your range of wire weaving skills to make ever more intricate and delicate pieces.
Follow this step-by-step guide by Denise Brett from Oruki Design to create your very own piece of wire wrapped jewellery, as she shows you how to wire-wrap a stone pendant.
To make your wire-wrapped pendant, you will need…
- Something to wrap – I’ll be wrapping a tumble polished tiger’s eye by Natalie Ofkants on Folksy. The stone I’m using is approx 3cm long x 1.5cm wide. This wire-wrapping method works on any shape as long as there is a taper to the bottom. It won’t work for a straight-edged stone.
- Wire – I’m using 0.8mm bare copper, but you could use plated or coloured wire. Stick to 0.8mm-1mm thickness and do make sure you are using dead soft wire.
- Wire cutters
- Chain nose pliers
- A couple of mandrels, one slightly bigger than the other. The larger will be used to shape the bail – I’m using a 7mm dowel and a 4mm crochet hook.
- Nylon jaw pliers – optional
Wire-wrapped jewellery – step-by-step guide
1. First work out which side of your stone will be the front and which way up you’ll wrap it. This method works best if there is a slight taper to the bottom of the stone.
Cut your wire. For this 3cm stone I’m using 30cm of wire. If your stone is much bigger, cut extra. Any wire project starts with straightening your wire, so run the wire between your thumb and finger a few times to ensure any kinks or bumps are smoothed out.
2a. Find the middle of the wire and use the small mandrel to form a loop by crossing one end over the other. The bail is made by twisting the wires together. There are two ways to do this. With the loop on your mandrel to steady it, use the other hand to twist the wires.
2b. Alternatively, pinch the spread wires with one hand and turn the mandrel with the other. To get a nice even twist, ensure the wires are evenly spread and twist slowly. Don’t do too many at once – I twist once and then ‘reset’ my hand! Keep twisting until you have approx. 3cm twisted.
3. To shape the bail, first shape the wire ends around and through the loop, then use the larger mandrel to shape the twisted section, pushing the ends through the loop as you go.
4. Once the bail is shaped, move the two ends out to the side as shown. Ensure they are towards the top of the loop – we’ll be using the bottom of the loop later.
5. With the nylon jaw pliers (if you don’t have any, use the chain nose), pinch together the very bottom of the bail. You might want to pop the mandrel back in to keep the bail the correct shape. We’re aiming to have the loop sitting at the back just below the top of the stone.
6. Before starting the next stage, smooth out the wire ends again. Then hold your stone so that the loop is to the back and centred with the ends coming through to the outside. Start to shape the wires around to the front of the stone. Flip it over and continue shaping until your two wires cross in the centre.
7. Twist the two wires together at least once. As I’m using quite a long stone I’m adding several twists. You might find it easier to remove the stone to make the first twist, but then put the stone back in and double check the positioning before twisting any further, in case you overtighten the top section.
8. Once you’re happy with the positioning, start to shape the wires around to the back of the stone. Flip your pendant over. Again twist the wires together to secure them, making sure your twist finishes before the bottom of the first loop.
9. We’re going to use the bottom of that loop to secure everything. First trim the ends if necessary, roughly in line with the top of the bail. Using your chain nose pliers, take each end and bend it down to pass through the initial loop from the top. You might need to use a fingernail or pin to lift the bottom of the loop from the stone to give you space to pass the wire through. Bend both wires through the loop, before tightening them up.
10. To finish, take the ends back up and trim to a couple of millimetres. Use the chain nose pliers to pinch the wire end down inside the loop to secure.
And that’s it. One wire wrapped pendant, ready to be slipped on to a chain or cord. Here’s what the finished pieces looks like from different angles.
Find more pretty pieces of jewellery made with wire by Denise Brett from Oruki Design on Folksy