Happy Monday, friends! I hope you all had a great weekend. I have a piece to show you today that’s a little more advanced than the normal one-hour tutorials I share, but I had an idea over the weekend that I just had to run with. I’m still going to give you a brief how-to, and anyone who enjoys working with hammers on their jewelry will feel right at home with this one. But if you’re just getting into jewelry-making, it’s going to be light on some of the technical details. (But don’t worry, if you’re really curious about some of these techniques, I’ll leave links to other posts where I get into much more detail about how to do and make some of these kinds of pieces.) And with all that out of the way, I’m dying to show you what I’m wearing today:
See, I was thinking about wire-wrapping, and I thought – wait, why not wrap with something I can make a bigger statement on? So I played around, and figured out how to put this piece together.
I have had this stone pendant (well, it’s drilled vertically, so it’s more like a really large focal bead) for so long that I can’t even remember what kind of stone it is (if I ever knew). I picked it up at a bead store when I was on vacation in Florida. That was 7 years ago, haha. So this piece was due for something special.
I used a ring blank (they’re about 2 inches long) and a 1/2 inch circle blank. I found that my nylon hammer was most helpful, and also my nylon pliers (not pictured, I hauled them out later).
I started by stamping my blank with an all-over pattern. Actually, I initially got out my letter stamps and wanted to stamp a nature quote… but they all seemed so cheesy. And the empty space around the letters wasn’t catching my eye right. So I went totally basic and just stamped dandelions and fluff (these are a design I got from Beaducation a while back).
I will give you a disclaimer if you’re new to stamping – designs like this are simultaneously easier and more difficult. Design stamps are more difficult to get clean impressions on sometimes – because they’re bigger and often more detailed than letters. So you need a steady hand and a firm tap of your hammer. Now on the plus side, since it’s not a word… straight stamping isn’t critical. If your alignment is off, it’s no big deal.
If you’d like more info on metal stamping, you can visit my metal stamping tutorial for beginners, or just browse the category on the menu bar at the top of the site. That will give you lots of info for getting started.
Next, I had to figure out how to wrap this thing. So what I did was measure and bend with my nylon pliers, and have it partially-formed. Then, I used my nylon hammer on my bench block to fine-tune the shape and finish wrapping it around. I will say – it was more difficult working at the end of the blank like this than I expected. If I were doing this again, I’d try to find a longer blank and wrap it more fully around the pendant. that would have been easier – but, I used what I had on-hand. It did work, it was just a little fussy to get it as rounded and tight round the stone as I wanted. I’m a bit of a perfectionist. Ahem.
To keep it really secure, I added a dab of jewelry glue on the stone and slid the metal blank into place. That baby isn’t going anywhere now.
I repeated the process on the even-smaller round disc at the bottom of the blank – although first, I punched a small hole in the center so I would still be able to add wire for stringing it later. I stamped it, bent it with my nylon pliers, and hammered it into shape around the bottom of the stone. Again – I added a drop of glue to secure it (though make double-sure your holes line up before you glue it).
Finally the pendant was done – but I still needed a bail to string it. I first tried a 3-inch head pin but it was really too short to look nice – the pendant itself has such a heavy, solid look, that a tiny little bail was out of balance. So I cut about 8 inches of 18-gauge wire, and made it myself.
I made a tiny coil with my round-nosed pliers for the “head” part, and slid it on so that the coil supported the bottom. Then, I did some basic wire-wrapping to create the pendant. If you’d like to see a couple posts that show basic charm and pendant wrapping, my post on making charm bracelets or the the basic wire-wrapped pendant are both good posts to read over. But today, I’m writing with an assumption that if you’re with me on hammering, you probably know how to make your own bail already, or are planning to start on an easier project to learn it.
Finally – I just strung it on a 16-inch, 2mm chain. I am torn on how to finish it – whether I want to bead a necklace, or if I prefer the pendant to make its own statement?
I do love it just on the chain. What do you think? Would you dress it up by beading a whole necklace, or is it better by itself? Either way, I really feel like I’ve made a “star” piece!