Like Wire Wrapping? Try Wire Embroidery!

Aug 31, 2012

wire-wrapping-projects
These very cool 36 gauge copper sheets from Lilly Pilly Designs open up a whole new world of design possibilities!
Chain stitch using wire makes a great decorative element when working with rustic style jewelry designs.
I don't know about anyone else, but lately, I'm really getting into make rustic-style jewelry. I love the way it softens the look of metals and wire by mixing them with soft suede fabrics, leather, and silk cords. And now that I'm cranking along with my wire wrapping skills and feel confident making my own custom clasps and jewelry findings, I'm starting to experiment more with metals in my jewelry making and wire wrapping projects.

Now, I never particularly enjoyed doing traditional embroidery with thread and fabric, but when I saw these cool tutorials in Kerry Bogert's new book, Rustic Wrappings, I just had to give it a try using some of these cool copper sheets I found at Bead Fest Philadelphia from Lilly Pilly designs!

wire-wrapping-projects
The copper sheets are thin enough that they can be cut with just an ordinary pair of craft scissors, so the design possibilities are endless! And if you feel comfortable working with wire and making wire jewelry with your basic wire wrapping skills, you can make this very cool rustic-style beaded cuff.

Materials:

  • 8" x 8" square of Ultrasuede, or other imitation suede fabric
  • (1) 3x3 sheet, 36 gauge patina copper sheet (Lilly Pilly Designs)
  • 10 feet copper wire, 28 gauge
  • 5 grams seed beads, size 11o
  • Beading thread of your choice
  • Stiffener for the center of the cuff: plastic milk jug or poster board, cut slightly smaller than bracelet
  • E6000 glue
  • Clasp of your choice
  • Additional beads and components for embellishment (optional)

Tools:

  • Embroidery scissors for cutting fabric
  • Beading needle
  • Small hole punch
  • Wire cutters
  • Looping pliers
  • Size 12 beading needle

Step-by-step Instructions:

wire-wrapping-projects
To size your bracelet properly, wrap a strip of paper around your wrist and make a mark where it comes together. Take into account the size of your clasp, and leave an extra 1/8" for stitching the border. Trace your bracelet length and desired width onto the Ultrasuede and trim with embroidery scissors.




Next, take your copper sheet and cut it into whatever pieces you'd like. For this project, I cut off one large centerpiece and two smaller pieces for the ends of my cuff bracelet. Use a regular craft scissors (not your embroidery scissors!) to cut your shapes. I decided to round my edges.





Using a small amount of E6000, adhere your copper shapes to your piece of Ultrasuede. Take care not to push the glue all the way to the edges of the copper pieces.

Use the hole punch to make a series of holes around the edges of your copper pieces, going through the Ultrasuede, spaced about 1/4" apart and about 1/4" in from the edge of the copper.





Start the wire embroidery! Take a piece of copper wire as long as you are comfortable with (it's easy to add more later, if you need to) and insert it through one of the holes, leaving a 1/2" tail. Bend the tail against the back of the Ultrasuede to hold it in place.





Pass the wire back down through the same hole you just came out of, pulling on it gently to form a small loop. You can use a pair of round nose pliers to help shape your loop. If you get a kink in your wire, try unbending it first, or use a nylon-jawed wire straightener to smooth it out.




Push the wire loop flat against the copper sheet so that the next hole is inside the top of the loop. To make the next loop, bring your wire up through the hole and the loop, and make another loop in the same manner.

To secure the last stitch, come up through the hole under the last loop of wire that you formed. Pass your wire back down through the hole, catching the top of the loop.





To secure your wire, twist the two ends together tightly for about 1/2", and then trim the wire close to the twist. Bend the wire flat against the Ultrasuede.



Stitch down all of your copper components in this manner.




To give the cuff bracelet a little more body, I cut out a small piece of a clean plastic milk jug and adhered it to the back of the Ultrasuede using a small amount of E6000. It also covers up the twisted ends of the wire and prevents them from poking through the back of the bracelet.

Lay the front of the bracelet down against the rest of the Ultrasuede and trace around it. Trim so that it is the same size as the front of the bracelet, and use a small amount of E6000 to adhere the second piece of Ultrasuede to the back.





Using brick stitch (or whatever method you prefer), stitch seed beads around the entire edge of the bracelet.

Attach your clasp. I decided to practice my wire wrapping skills and make a couple of hook and eye clasps out of copper wire, which I then attached to the bracelet using seed bead loops.

Now that I've got the basic wire embroidery techniques down, I'm thinking up all sorts of ways I can incorporate this into my jewelry making and bead-weaving projects! Using these fun copper sheets was a great introduction to working with wire and metals for me, and I have to admit, I'm totally hooked on the whole wire embroidery thing now.

Are you ready to branch out and start learning how to incorporate more metals and wire wrapping techniques into your beading projects? If you liked this little project, you'll love Kerry Bogert's Rusting Wrappings. Kerry has created twenty-five fantastic wire, metal, and bead jewelry making projects that use six different methods for adding patina to metals and wire. My favorite method for adding patina to metals and wire? Kerry's salt and vinegar potato chip recipe, of course! If you love mixing things up with  your wire wrapping projects, grab a copy of Rustic Wrappings and spice up your jewelry making projects! (Or, if you just can't wait to get started, you can also download Rustic Wrappings as an eBook and read it in just minutes on your desktop or laptop computer!

What's your take on rustic style jewelry? Are you excited by the idea of learning new and easy ways to add metals to your jewelry making projects? Is there a particular technique for wire wrapping or working with metals and patinas that you want to learn next? Share your thoughts and leave a comment here on the Beading Daily blog!

Bead Happy,

Jennifer


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Comments

MaryK@39 wrote
on Aug 31, 2012 11:37 AM

I'm glad it calls for ultrasuede instead of genuine dead animal skin.

MaryK@39 wrote
on Aug 31, 2012 11:37 AM

I'm glad it calls for ultrasuede instead of genuine dead animal skin.

MaryK@39 wrote
on Aug 31, 2012 11:37 AM

I'm glad it calls for ultrasuede instead of genuine dead animal skin.

bec95beads wrote
on Sep 5, 2012 7:51 AM

love this so want to try it !