Getting Started With Wire Wrapping

Jun 7, 2013

Even though I'm no wire expert (at least, not yet!), just like any other craft, before you get started with wire wrapping, it's good to have a firm foundation on which you can build your wire wrapping skills. As I've worked my way through scads of wire jewelry projects in the last couple of years, I realized that there are three things that can make or break a wire wrapping project for me:

1. Know Your Wire Wrapping Tools. Before you start any wire wrapping project, it's always a good idea to have the proper tools on hand. Understanding the capabilities of each pair of wire wrapping pliers can make the difference between a successful project or a whole lot of frustration and wasted wire. Of course, there's something to be said for improvisation: even if I don't happen to have the exact tool called for in a wire wrapping project, I know enough about the tools that I already have that I can usually use them with great success.

2. Know Your Wire. Knowing about wire gauge, wire hardness, and the types of metal used to make wire all play a part in choosing the right materials for successful wire wrapping projects. It's always a good idea to practice with brass or colored craft wire before moving on to the more expensive precious metal wire.

3. Brush Up On Wire Basics. You might not know it yet, but if you can make a perfect wire wrapped loop or a pair of matching ear wires, chances are, you've already got the necessary skills to create stunning wire wrapped jewelry. In any craft, having a solid foundation to build on is the most important part of creating perfect finished jewelry projects.

Want to get to know your wire wrapping tools and your wire? Try this easy filigree-inspired wire wrapping project!

Materials:

  • 5 feet 18 gauge colored copper wire (I used brass color)
  • 24-30 6mm OD jump rings in color to match or contrast with wire
  • 3-6 10mm beads for dangles

Tools:

  • Flush cutters
  • Chain nose or combination pliers
  • Flat nose pliers
  • Jump ring opener (optional, but useful)
  • 1/2 inch wooden dowel or mandrel

Step 1: Cut 3 feet of wire. Leaving a 1" tail, make two wraps around your dowel.

Remove the wire loop from the dowel, and place the dowel against the straight section of wire. Make two more wraps around the dowel.

Every time you make two wraps around the dowel, remove the dowel and move it against a straight section of wire. You'll be able to create a series of little loops that look like bubbles.

Step 2: Continue making loops and "bubbles" until you have about 1" of wire left. Make two small simple loops at either end of the pendant.

Use your fingers to gently shape and straighten the pendant.

Step 3: Open all the jump rings. Use two jump rings to "connect" each pair of loops in your pendant.

You may have to gently coax the loops towards each other to make the jump rings fit.

Step 4: To make the dangles, pick the bottom loops on which you want them to hang.

Cut approximately 1" of wire for each dangle. Make a tiny bend in one end of the wire, then smash it together with your flat nose pliers. Slide on your bead, then make a simple loop at the top and hang it on the appropriate loop on the bottom of the pendant.

Whether you're a beginner or an advanced wire wrapping artist, you'll find plenty of projects to love in Artisan Filigree. With projects inspired by beautiful ironwork, wire wrapping artist extraordinaire Jodi Bombardier has created twenty-one graceful wire wrapped jewelry projects suitable for all skill levels. Plus, with the comprehensive wire wrapping basics at the front of the book, with a little practice, you'll be wire wizard in no time at all! Get your copy of Artisan Filigree and wrap your way to elegant wire wrapped jewelry. If you can't wait to get started, no worries -- Artisan Filigree is also available as a digital download, ready for viewing on your favorite desktop or laptop computer in just minutes.

For a very limited time, until June 9, 2013 at 11:59 p.m. MDT, you can take advantage of this special Artisan Filigree bundle -- get the print copy and the eBook for the same price as the print edition!

What would you say is the single most important bit of knowledge or skill to develop when learning how to do wire wrapping? Have you embarked on any interesting wire wrapping projects lately? Leave a comment here on the Beading Daily blog and share your thoughts with us!

Bead Happy,

Jennifer


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Heavy ironwork meets delicate filigree! Get a collection of 20+ beautiful wire projects and learn exciting techniques for endless possibilities.

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