Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Whip It Up Wednesday: Wire Wrapped Pendant

Ahh, so I missed Whip It Up Wednesday last week - oops! I've got a good project for you today though!

On Sunday I shared the pretty wire wrapped pendant I made for my friend's birthday, and today I'm going to share how I made another pendant using the same techniques.

I made this when I wanted to just sit in front of my aquarium all afternoon because my pretty male gourami was building a bubble nest and dancing prettily to impress his girlfriends. It was quite a show! We haven't had any progress past flirting, but if we end up with baby gouramis I'll let you know ;)

The boy is the longer, stripy one. The other two are girls. I have to admit, I love my fishies!

What You Need:

* A large glass bead or plain pendant, ideally with a flat front
* Thin/high gauge wire for wrapping
* Thick/lower gauge wire for structure
* Coordinating charms and small beads, such as seed beads

What To Do:

Take your focal bead / pendant and your thick wire, and cut a piece of thick wire so that it can go around the entire circumference of your pendant, plus a bit of extra length for securing it, like so:

Now take your thin wire, and cover most of your piece of thick wire with it. To do this, I bend the end of the thick wire to make a "handle" - this makes it easier to turn it and loop the thin wire around. Then secure the thin wire on. You can trim off the messy ends when you're done.

If you find your thin wire spirals are getting "gappy", just push them back together. Make sure you do this often and keep your spiral nice and neat, like so:

When the thick wire is completely covered by the thin wire - except for the two ends that you'll use to secure it to the pendant - trim off any messy ends and push down the rough ends of the thin wire.

This next step depends on whether you're using a pendant, like I am, or a bead.

If you're using a pendant, bend one end of your thick wire back on itself and thread it through the loop of your pendant. Bend the other end of your thick wire at a 90 degree angle, thread it through the other side of the pendant's loop and bend it back on itself. Trim the excess thick wire.

If you're using a bead rather than a pendant - bend both thick wire ends downwards and insert them into the top of your bead. If you want, use thin wire to tie those ends to each other as well. 

In later steps we'll secure the whole edge around the bead / pendant, so don't worry if it moves around a lot at this stage!

Now we start attaching charms!

What charms and small beads you use and how you place them is completely up to you. It's a good idea to plan it out somewhat before you start. I'll show you the process I used here, mostly in photos.

If you're attaching a charm, take a long piece of your thin wire and loop it a few times though the charm's loop. Line it up with the "border" where you want to attach it, and loop the thin wire around the outside a few times to secure the charm into place.

With the excess thin wire, loop the short end around the long end a few times and trim off the excess of the short end, leaving you with one thin wire strand.

Take that strand across the back of the pendant and secure it to the "border" at a point on the opposite side. This helps to hold the focal bead in place and strengthen the whole structure. 

To attach beads, start off the same way - with a long piece of thin wire, looped a few times around the "border" - then thread on your beads.

Loop the thin wire a few times around the "border" on the other side, then take the long side around the back of the pendant again. When everything is secure, trim off excess wire and make sure you push down any wire ends so that there are no sharp bits.

If you wish to, use thin wire without any charms to beads attached across the back and/or front of your pendant to strengthen it and add visual interest. 

For extra visual interest, you can always make some wire swirls and attach them just like you would any other charm. The advantage here is that you can make wire swirls in any design, size and wire that you want rather than being stuck with whatever charms you have on hand, so you can make one to perfectly fill that empty gap ;)

OK, now the next part is optional (well, all the steps kinda are!) but I wanted to finish the top of the pendant a bit differently. So, I cut a length of thick wire and made a neat loop in one end. I then threaded it through the pendant's original loop and twisted the excess thick wire around to tie it on securely and neatly.

If you want, you can also wrap the thin, decorative wire around the top. I'm still not sure which version I like better!

That's it! Add a chain and you've created a lovely, unique piece of wearable art!


Ricki Jill Treleaven said...

Rissa, you never cease to amaze me. I was wondering how it was going to work...wrapping the wire and all.... :D

Jill said...

What a beautiful looking pendant! Great work!

Thanks for linking to a Round Tuit!
Hope you have a great week!
Jill @ Creating my way to Success

scrapfancy said...

I really like your tutorial. Had been wondering how to do such a great job. Love the green. My favorite

June Scott said...

Very, very pretty, Rissa! I've just started "dabbling" in jewelry... love your technique. Thanks for sharing!

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