Make This Easy Wire Jewelry Project Using Your Favorite Glass Beads!

Jun 3, 2013

Welcome to Wonderful Wire Week here on Beading Daily! This week, I'm going to explore just a few of the ways in which wire jewelry has woven its way into my beading and jewelry-making projects, and I hope you'll enjoy the ride.

Not so long ago, I was a wire wimp. I was a great admirer of folks who could make wire jewelry, but never felt comfortable making it myself. A couple of things changed all that for me: the first was working on a couple of innovative wire and bead-weaving projects from the very talented Rachel Nelson-Smith; the second was learning how to do Viking knit. Suddenly, the wire world was my oyster, and I realized that the basic wire jewelry skills that I had been practicing for all those years could easily be used to create spectacular bead and wire jewelry!

One of the things I love about my basic wire jewelry skills is that I can take a handful of leftover glass beads, some pretty colored copper wire, and in just a few minutes, crank out a fun and funky piece of beaded wire jewelry. When I had a few of these beautiful picasso-coated Czech glass beads left over from a larger project, I grabbed my trusty flush cutters and combination pliers and got to work turning them into a fun and easy wire bracelet.

The secret to making this bracelet is to go easy on yourself: don't worry if your wire coils aren't perfect. I didn't have a mandrel handy for making my coils, so I just used the round jaw of my combination pliers to make my coils. If you have lots of different colors of wire and one solid color of bead, you can make each coil a different color for a rainbow effect. Have fun!

Materials:

  • For this wire jewelry project, you'll need at least 5 feet of 18 gauge copper wire, in whatever color(s) match your glass beads
  • An assortment of glass beads. I used some leftover Czech glass picasso beads in the shapes of barrels and rondelles

Tools

  • Flush cutters
  • Combination pliers
  • Chain nose pliers
  • Flat nose pliers

Step-by-step Instructions:

Step 1: Use short lengths of the wire to make units with wrapped loops on either end. Measure your links to figure out how many wire coils you'll need to make to place in between each wire wrapped bead unit. (I made my beaded units about 1 inch long.)
Step 2: To make the coils, cut a 6 inch length of 18 gauge wire. Using a mandrel (or the round jaw of a round nose or combination pliers) to make your coils. Place the center of the wire on your mandrel or pliers and make a series of even wraps. Trim the ends of the coil.
Step 3: To make your end loops, gently bend the coil in the center, and when the ends separate, gently grasp the last wrap with your chain nose pliers. Bend the wrap at a 90 degree angle to form a loop.
Step 4: Open the ends of the coils the same way you would a simple loop and attach the wire wrapped links.
Step 5: To make the hook for one end of the clasp, take a 6 inch piece of wire and make a sharp bend in the middle of the wire. Use your flat nose pliers to flatten the loop.
Step 6: Make a bend in the double wire about 1 inch from the end. Use your round nose pliers to make a subtle upward bend in the tip of the hook.
Step 7: Grasping the hook with your flat nose pliers, take one piece of wire and make a few wraps around the other piece. Trim the wire close to the wraps.
Step 8: Before you finish closing the wrapped loop, slip it onto one end of your bracelet. Finish wrapping the loop, and trim the wire close to the wraps.

There are so many ways you can play with this basic design! Include bead caps, crystal beads, or even paper beads or a lightweight alternative. Mix up the colors of your wire, or add a pre-made clasp if you don't want to make your own. But as long as you can make basic wire-wrapped loops, you can take this wire jewelry design and make it your own.

Inspired to start working with wire? Check out the all-new Wireworker's Companion by Denise Peck and Jane Dickerson. Get all the reference information you need about wire gauge, wire tools, basic wire jewelry techniques, and even more advanced techniques like chain maille and working with a micro torch. Or if you can't wait to take a peek, get your copy of the Wireworker's Companion instantly as an eBook! All the same great content as the print version, but ready to read on your favorite desktop or laptop in just minutes.

What about you? Have you tried making your own wire jewelry yet? Was there one special wire jewelry project that really got you  hooked on making wire jewelry? Leave a comment here on the Beading Daily blog and tell us about it!

Bead Happy,

Jennifer


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Comments

Valbeads wrote
on Jun 8, 2013 1:58 PM

Jennifer,

I can't tell you how much I enjoy doing wirework.  I took a class at my LBS, and I have a Craftsy class as well.  An accident last year nearly cost me my working thumb, and I have very limited range of motion in it now, so I can no longer bead stitch.  It doesn't seem to affect my ability to do wire work, though and I've been working at it a lot lately. It really allows you to be very creative.  I hope you'll continue to do more.  The Craftsy class is excellent, and really- it's fun and relaxing.  I have some pieces displayed on Reader's Showcase if you'd like to check them out.  I just did a tiara!