Artistic Expressions – Ideas for Wire Wrapped Jewelry
Dating back thousands of years, wire wrapped jewelry is one of the oldest known jewelry design techniques. Discovered by 2nd dynasty Egyptians, wire was formed by pounding metal into sheets before slicing it into strips that were then twisted or rolled. Later utilized in Europe during the Middle Ages, various forms of wire wrapped designs were also conceived – armored chain maille, breastplates, and shields along with a global assortment of necklaces, bracelets, and rings.
Crafted by hand, and a bit more challenging than your average string of faux pearls, wire wrapped jewelry is a creative way of producing simple, yet unique patterns with a basic jewelry making pliers set. As a popular choice within the DYI industry due to its ease and affordability, wire wrapping is a secure way of connecting beads and findings. Unlike jewelry that is quickly stamped out by machines, wire wrapped jewelry is custom made by you to complement your individual tastes and personality.
Timeless, the stories associated with our jewelry are endless. Representing life’s most important moments, heirloom jewelry holds onto the energy of those that have come before us. For example, when I was a little girl, I used to love spending countless hours watching my grandfather polish stones before twisting them with wire to shape into beautiful necklaces. Symbolizing those memories, I tend to wear the necklace he made me in remembrance of the cherished moments we spent together.
Below are two basic examples of wire wrap instructions for the beginning & more advanced jewelry artists.
Basic wire wrapped rings –
16-18 gauge copper or brass wire
Round nose pliers
Ring mandrel or metal pipe (to wrap your wire around, forming a ring)
Depending on the size you want, cut a piece of wire between 3” – 5” long.
Straighten your length of wire before using the round-nose pliers to turn a small loop at each end (the two loops should be facing opposite directions).
Centering the wire, wrap it around the mandrel or pipe, overlapping the loops slightly. Adjust to fit. You’ve made a ring!
Stone, wire wrapped necklace –
1.) Cut a length of wire that is approximately 10-12 inches long depending on the size of your stone.
2.) Form the wire into a spiral by gripping one end of the wire with a pair of round-nose pliers while holding the other end of the wire with your other hand. Form a loop before turning the pliers to form a spiral around the loop.
3.) Taking the curved wire from the round-nose pliers, place it flat before grabbing it with a pair of flat-nose pliers. Pull the straight end of the wire taut while rotating the flat nose pliers to form another layer in the spiral. Repeat four times. Do NOT cut the wire.
4.) Depending on what end you want to use, place your desired stone on the spiral, pushing the wire over, and around the bottom of the stone until it fits tightly. Finish wrapping the rest of the wire around the body of the stone leaving the remaining wire at the top as straight as possible before twisting both loose ends of the wire together. Cut the remaining wire off.
5.) Slide the wrapped stone onto your desired chain & voila! Your necklace is complete.
Due to her love for nature, Claire Thomas is freelance writer and independent contractor for Wubbers.com. With a hunger for horror she also enjoys scary stories and utilizing them as inspiration for her own future “New York Times” best seller!
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