How to Create a Wire Bail for a Marble

Oct 15, 2008

I was cleaning the other day and ran across a bag of marbles. My kids used to run them through these elaborate Rube Goldberg-style obstacle courses they’d create with stuff around the house, the course ending with a little “ting!” against a miniature gong. It brought back a really nice memory. “Wouldn’t it be nice to wear this memory?” I thought. But alas, no hole for stringing. 

I’m sure many of you have experienced this. The item you want to incorporate in your design is gorgeous, memory-filled, or just plain cool, but it still sits in a drawer because it’s utterly holeless. What to do? Why not make yourself a wire bail?

You can make a wire bail many different ways, but the one I came up with works well for round objects. There are lots of wireworking skills involved in this little project, but none are too difficult. If you’re new to wireworking, there’s a really nice book by Step by Step Wire Jewelry’s editor Denise Peck that’ll teach you how to do each one. It’s called Wire Style. It has some of the best how-to photography I’ve seen in a wireworking book. If you’re a visual learner like me, you’ll have no problem following the pictures to learn wrapped loops and spirals like a pro.  Buy a copy of Wire Style

How to Create a Wire Bail

1. Working directly from a spool of 18-gauge wire, form a wrapped loop 3" from the end. Make only one wrap around the stem.


 

2. Work around the first wrap as you form a spiral that has the same diameter of your object.


 

3. Flush cut the wire close to the spiral and use a metal file to remove any burrs. Next, trim the stem inside the spiral close to the first wrap.


 

4. Gently pull the spiral down away from the loop so it makes a conical shape.  


5. Place a small amount of E6000 glue to the top of the marble. Place the wire bail on the glue and let dry.  

Do you have some ideas for hanging holeless items? Share them on the website!


 

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Making Wire Jewelry:  6 Free Wire Designs from Beading Daily

Create 6 stunning wire jewelry projects (2 wire necklaces, a wire bracelet, 2 pairs of wire earrings, and a wire ring) with this free eBook that contains step by step wire jewelry instructions for each project.  Jewelry designs range in difficulty from beginner to intermediate and use a variety of wire work techniques, including spirals, coiling, wirewrapping, hammering, and twisting wire.  Download Making Wire Jewelry:  6 Free Wire Designs from Beading Daily



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Comments

Kelli@23 wrote
on Oct 15, 2008 12:24 PM

To make a bail for a flat piece of irregularly shaped beach glass, I made a small spiral at both ends of a piece of wire, leaving enough straight wire in between the spirals to bend it in the middle and glue one spiral to each side of the glass. When dried, I slid the chain under the wire at the bend (leave a gap big enough for chain or string). Just be careful to use a tiny dot of glue on each spiral so it doesn't seep out and show.--Kelli P., Pure Bliss Jewelry

bethullman wrote
on Oct 15, 2008 2:14 PM

A variation of Jean's and Kelli's designs for round objects that does not require glue, is to start as Jean does, then instead of cutting off the spiral, with the object in place, swirl the wire acoss the object and down to the bottom, then start a second sprial from the outside , working in toward the center.  The object can be removed to complete the spiral, the inserted and the wire tightened to make an open work double cap.  Another method is to create a wire cage (there are many styles possible), insert the object and then bring the wires together so the object cannot fall out.  I also often wrap irregular or hole-less items with a woven wire mesh around enough of the edge to be secure, or an interesting and irregular wire wrap -- just enough to secure the item without obscuring it.  Meshes in particular can be beaded in very intriquing ways, but I have even added a contrast bead, charm or other item to large objects wrapped with minimal wire.  Beth U., Beth's Baubles

on Oct 15, 2008 4:12 PM

Just before my dad passed away I was given all his jewelry making things.  He used to tumble stones also for necklaces and other things. I have the stones he tumbled and was wondering what and how to deal with them.  He had drilled some but most are not drilled.  

Thank you everyone.

Sally322 wrote
on Oct 15, 2008 5:26 PM

I love both of these ideas!!!  About the only thing I've mastered with wireworking are spirals, (stringing and stitching have my heart) so this is do-able for me.  Thanks for giving me the trick to finallly utilize my pretty stash of holeless baubles!

Buho wrote
on Oct 16, 2008 6:34 AM

What a great tip. I also had lots of marbles and no idea what to do with them! Thanks to Kelly's tip, I won't have to drill holes in my beach glass anymore. Thak you.

cathy@163 wrote
on Oct 19, 2008 8:10 PM

This is what I have been looking for to wrap stones..most are not even but with the shape of this bail..that should not be a problem..Thanks for the many ideas and hints I have found in your newsletters..I am a newbe but want to get started in making jewelry soon..

Cathy

45Ratcatcher wrote
on Dec 8, 2008 11:37 AM
I think I will have a go with the marble spiral cage.Sounds like I could doit
Patriciakoko wrote
on Jan 9, 2009 8:11 PM
On a fortieth anniversary trip to Florence, Italy, I purchased several marble shaped balls with the Venitian style "end paper" design but alas no holes. NOW I finally have a way to bail them and wear them. Thank you.
mamiecoune wrote
on Aug 4, 2009 4:09 PM
Any video on that? I'm a visual type newbie... real beginner. I have many sand pebbles, use a tumbler to make them smooth. I could not use them (no holes)... Guess with a wire bail, it would be nice. Thanks for the writen informations.
Dawnstar wrote
on Sep 4, 2010 11:00 AM

that is a really proffessional look and i can't wait to try it!

little squaw wrote
on Apr 30, 2012 11:28 AM

Hi,

I'm a visual learner so a video would be easier for me, but can I ask a question and not sound stupid? I'm just learning this wire wrapping and where I live it is very limited to get wire in the sizes unless you wish to wait for weeks or sometimes a month to get it by then you have gotten bored with the idea, anyway my question is if you have a round gemstone bead with a predrilled hole could you still make the spiral on top and with the piece that is long have it go through the bead and make a loop at the bottom so you could add another bead to it? It is just an idea that I have and was wondering about, you would still do everything the same as the lady suggest only instead of cutting that piece off slip it through the hole and make a loop. Will you let me know if this would work? Please and thank you.  Bev

LoriF@13 wrote
on Jun 4, 2012 10:27 AM

Eureka!! This will work quite well for two shards of Aurilite gemstone I have. Thanks Jean!

laysthumb wrote
on Nov 8, 2012 8:46 PM

I am going to try this technique on Mardi Gras beads . I like to repurpose them into bracelets, earrings and pendants. I never knew how to attach ends but now I do. Thanks, Jean. Lady's Thumb, Wisconsin