Think You Can't Make Wire Wrapped Beads? Think Again!

Nov 27, 2011

These easy wire wrapped beads make great spacers with more antique trade beads or more organic gemstone beads.
Being sort of a newcomer to wire work and wire jewelry-making, I have always admired those folks who can take a piece of wire and bend it (like magic!) to transform it into a bead or jewelry finding. I had always thought that wire wrapped beads were too difficult for me to make, until I found this easy method for making them in Kerry Bogert's book Totally Twisted and realized that this was something I could do!

I love this technique for making wire wrapped beads because it really doesn't involve any special wire wrapping skills. If you can make a simple wire coil around a knitting needle, you can make your own wire wrapped beads. Really!

Here's what you need:

  • 1/16" mandrel or knitting needle
  • 3 feet copper craft wire
  • Wire cutter
  • Chain nose pliers
  • Flat nose pliers

1. Leaving a short tail (about 2"), make a coil on the mandrel about 1" long.

 

2. Start wrapping the remainder of the wire around the coil, loosely, and at random. Work up and down the coil.

3. When you're happy with the shape of your wire bead, make one last tight coil at the top of the bead and slide the bead off the mandrel. Trim the ends and use the chain nose pliers to tuck the ends of the wire into the bead.

Now, isn't that fun? These beads are great spacers for antique trade beads or some of your more organic-looking gemstone beads. But what I really love best about these easy wire wrapped beads is that there's simply no way to get them wrong! You can even spice them up a little bit more by adding a seed bead or some other type of glass bead here and there as you wrap you wire around the coil. Try making them with colored craft wire and use them to accent your favorite handmade lampwork glass or pressed glass beads. They also make great lightweight earrings!

You can find more of Kerry's fun (and easy) wire and glass bead jewelry-making projects in Totally Twisted: Innovative Wirework & Art Glass Jewelry. Beginner and advanced wire jewelry makers alike will love Kerry's use of colorful glass beads and wire to make over twenty beautiful wire jewelry projects. Check out Totally Twisted and see just how much fun it is to make your own wire and glass jewelry!

Do you have a favorite wire jewelry-making technique? Would you consider yourself a beginner or more advanced wire jewelry maker? Leave a comment and share your thoughts here on the blog!

Bead Happy,

Jennifer

 


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Comments

dlmoores wrote
on Nov 28, 2011 12:52 PM

Hi Jennifer,

I have made some great wire wrapped beads by first wrapping 26g wire around a 20g mandrel (3-4 inches wrapped). Remove the coil and stretch it out. Wrap the stretched wire around a 18 -20g mandrel again loosely and catch the end into the previous wraps. You have to play with the amounts of wire used for the size of finished bead you want, but I really liked the effect.

Thanks for all your ideas!

Deanna  (Edmonton, AB)

on Dec 3, 2011 12:00 PM

I love this look! I am new to wire as well and these takes away the hesitation for me.  Thanks so much for sharing this idea.