Monday 11 January 2010

Wire wrap tutorial

Please forgive the sometimes blurred photos. It is not the fault of the photographer (thanks Nicky, you are a star) but of me for moving unexpectedly. I will try to replace them later.

I hope this makes sense. If it doesn't then please let me know and I'll add bits or more photos.

When I first when to evening class to learn how to make jewellery wire wrapping was one of the first things we were taught. Once you can do this technique a whole range of styles and designs are achievable.
When you start to wire wrap use cheap wire – copper or silver plate. I’d recommend a 0.5mm wire to start with. It’s thin enough to bend easily but thick enough to work with.
You will also need: round nose pliers, flat nose pliers and a pair of wire cutters. Oh, and of course some beads!

Cut the wire into lengths of about 10-15 cm. It will depend on the size of the bead you are working with if you need it longer but be generous (this is why you shouldn’t start with silver wire!)
You will need to straighten the wire when you cut it. Do this by holding the wire between the thumb and fore finger of both hands and stroking the wire straight.

There are 2 different methods in making the hoop at the end of a wire wrap. One is more complicated than the other but I think it looks nicer.

Method 1, the easy method: Hold the wire with the round nose pliers about 1/3 of the way from the end.

Wrap the wire over the top of the pliers

Bring the wire underneath

You can either try to wrap the wire now but it is better to swop to the flat nosed pliers to get a better grip.

If you find bending the wire painful, and you might at first, you can use another set of flat nose pliers to grip the wire with while you wrap the wire around itself. Even wraps will come with practice I promise!

Cut the excess off with your wire cutters as flush as you can get. You may wish to use a metal file to soften the edges of the cut.

Here is your finished wrap

Method 2:
Using the round nose pliers hold the wire just like in method one and bend the wire over by 90 degrees or so NOT all the way around. (the angle is a bit odd as I was having trouble showing clearly what was happening)
Bend the end of the wire around the other side of the pliers as shown in the next picture. You are making an S-shape

At this point you have to reposition the pliers. I think the photo shows it more clearly than I can describe it

Carry on wrapping around
Swop to flat nose pliers to get a better grip and twist the wire around itself to finish the wrap

Left is method 2 and right is method 1. The more complicated method (method 2) gives a more rounded hoop and I think it looks better and sits better in a bracelet but the choice is yours.

Add the bead of your choice. You may have to re-straighten the wire again.
To complete the link use your round nose pliers to roughly measure the length of the wrapping you have just completed (please excuse the blurred picture) you can use that measurement on the other side of the bead to roughly know where to place your pliers for the next hoop.

Place them on the point where the pliers come to (or just before) start your wrap following either method 1 or 2 (I’ve used method 2)

And so on until….

To join another link: bend the wire as before but before wrapping the wire around add the completed link on.

Continue to add links until you have your desired length.
Another idea is to use a head pin (or curl one end of a piece of wire so the bead doesn't fall off) then by wire wrapping one end you have made a pendant.

1 comment:

  1. This is great, Thank you. I had a go at doing this on Sunday and it never turned out as neat as yours. Will keep trying.