The photographs are of work with 20 gauge wire, although the technique can be used with other gauges of wire.
You’ll use three tools:
1. Round-tipped pliers sometimes called “rosary pliers” 2. Chain-nose or ‘straight’ pliers 3. Good flush cutter (a wire cutter capable of cutting cleanly, the best you can afford)
To start a wrapped loop, bend 1-1/4” of wire at an L-shaped angle with your chain-nose pliers.
Right at the bend, grip gently between jaws of round-tipped pliers. Bend the angled inch of wire over the top of one of the round-tipped pliers’ jaws.
You’ve made the top part of the loop, now make its underside. Take the top jaw out of the wire. Wrap under and around the lower jaw to form the underside.
Hold the loop in a gentle grip with your chain-nose pliers, lengthwise. With the very tip of your round- tipped pliers, grab the little tail and wrap twice, two neat wraps at the base of the loop.
After you’ve wrapped the loop, use your flush cutter to trim off excess wire.
If you’re making a link with wrapped loops on either end: thread the bead onto the wire with the wrapped loop you’ve just made, and pinch the bead so that its base is firmly against the wrapped loop.
Bend the wire coming out of the bead at an angle, wrap over top and bottom of the jaw of the round-tipped pliers and wrap twice around, just as you did at the beginning of making the link. Work step-by-step, and use the proper tools at each step, and you will have consistent and attractive wrapped loops.
If you create a loop with angular straight sides, you can add a wide variety of side-drilled beads to your jewelry designs. I made this pair of earrings using 26 gauge wire. Grab a pair of straight pliers and try this wirework technique to add to your jewelry making skills.
You’ll need a pair of needle-nose (straight) pliers and a second pair of any kind of pliers as backup.
The following picture is a step-by step graphic showing the bends you need to make on the wire with straight pliers. For better visibility I’ve used heavier wire, 20 gauge in this photograph. When I made the example earrings, I used 26 gauge gold art wire and 7 x 12mm leaf beads, not the 20 gauge dark wire and wide petals you see in the step-by-step graphic.
Cut a piece of wire about 5 inches long. 1. With the straight pliers, bend the bottom two inches to a 45 degree angle. 2. At about three-eighths or a quarter inch after the first bend, bend again. Thread a side-drilled bead on. 3. The third bend should be done at a length so that a flat triangle with equal sides is formed. 4. Between the jaws of the straight pliers, keep a firm hold on the spot where the wire crosses the top of the triangle. While keeping a stable hold and not allowing anything to move, wrap the end of the wire two or three times around the upright wire and trim. If the triangle clotheshanger shape is wonky, straighten and sharpen the corners with the straight pliers.
Your clotheshanger dangle is done! Now you can add beads to make the main body of your earring, finishing the link using the conventional wrapped loop technique. Add more links as desired, and add earwires.
These earrings are made with silver art wire, sterling headpins/earwires and pearls.
I have been making spirals for years, but always wanted to make one with two loops, one on the top and one on the bottom. Make two spirals and lash them together to create a link with two loops, following these easy step-by-step instructions. Continue reading →