Monday, December 31, 2012

DIY Wire-Wrapped Charms

If you enjoy making or wearing jewelry, I've put together a tutorial that you might find useful. Even if you don't make your own jewelry, you may have noticed that many store-bought jewelry items are put together with gaps in the wire work. Over time, these gaps may grow until you end up losing charms from your earrings or necklaces. The way to avoid this is to wrap the wire around itself, leaving no gaps and therefore no way for your jewelry to fall apart- EVER!

DIY Wire-Wrapped Charms

After years of practice, I perfected my wire-wrapping technique so that it is attractive and sturdy. If I had seen a tutorial like this in the beginning, I may have avoided all the ruined snippets of wire on my desk, so I thought this might come in handy for anyone who would like to learn a new jewelry trick. Follow along with these step-by-step instructions and I'll teach you how to make wire-wrapped charms that will never come undone. Here's what you'll need to complete this project:

DIY Wire Wrapping Supplies
★Beads- I like to look through my jewelry and see what color earrings I'm in need of. Rather than buying earrings in that color, I make my own! I wanted some blue earrings, so I used turquoise beads I bought in Arizona a few years ago with silver and crystal accent beads.
★Headpins- You can find these at any craft supply store. They look like sticks of wire with a flat piece of metal at the end for holding beads in place. The thinner the wire, the easier they will be to work with.
★Jewelry Findings- Which findings you need will depend on what you intend to make. If you want earrings, you'll need earwires. If you'd like to make a pendant, you will need a bail or a jump ring.
★Tools- The essential tools for this project are wire cutters, flat nose pliers (mine are ergonomic bent pliers, which is helpful when it comes to wire-wrapping), and round nose pliers.

Here's a step-by-step photo collage of how to securely wire-wrap your jewelry. For a closer look at the process, click here to see the full-size collage. I'll explain the steps below.

DIY Wire-Wrapped Charm Tutorial

1. Arrange your beads on the headpins.
2. Place your round nose pliers about 5 mm above the top bead and bend the wire to a 90° angle.
3. Use your finger to wrap the wire over the top of the pliers to begin forming a loop.
4. Reposition your round nose pliers so that you are gripping the partial loop as seen in image 4.
5. Grasp the tail of the wire with the flat nose pliers and bring it across the front, completing the loop.
6. Now that your loop has been formed, you can remove the round nose pliers and grasp the loop with your flat nose pliers. Grasp the tail of the wire with another set of pliers. Pliers with a mild tread inside the nose work great for gripping the wire, but any kind will work. Don't worry if the end of your wire gets bent or marked by the pliers, because you will be trimming this part anyway.
7-8. While firmly holding the loop with the flat pliers, wrap the wire tail around the headpin at least two times.
9. Once you've created the desired amount of coils and your wire is running out, trim the excess so that the end is on the back of your work.
10. Use your flat nose pliers to press the tail down into the coil, squeezing tightly to avoid any sharp edges.
11. Use your round nose pliers to straighten out your loop if it became bent or misshapen during the wire-wrapping process.
12. Repeat these steps to create additional charms for earrings and pendants.
13. Attach the appropriate findings to complete your jewelry pieces. Enjoy your brand new jewelry that will last a lifetime!


Christie Cottage said...

Great tutorial

ArtistGirl said...

Happy New Year to you and yours!!!

Bethany said...

Love this tutorial! I started wire wrapping about a year ago, and I really love it. I may not be very good at it, but it's really fun.

Pili said...

Firstly, Happy New Year, Holly!!

And second, what a super useful tutorial!

alexkeller said...

happy new year!!!!!!

DLPBR said...

Hi Holly, Haven't commented for a while, so I thot I'd say your tutorial is just what I needed ! I've been futzin' with the beads here lately too.

Katie Frank said...

wow this DIY is awesome!