Back in November, Natalie over at North Shore Days guest-posted a tutorial here at Happy Hour on how to make wire-wrapped sea glass earrings. They were beautiful! But if you read here often you already know that my weakness is bracelets. I loved Natalie’s technique, though – it’s elegant yet simple – so I adapted it to wrap some glass beads that caught my eye, and I made up this bracelet:
Natalie’s tutorial was plenty thorough, but when you follow it, you will get a bead with an open ring only on one side (which, of course, is perfect for earrings). But to get a loop on BOTH sides of the bead, you will need to use wire instead of head pins. It can seem a little intimidating but it really is easy. That said, if you have never, ever made jewelry before, this may not be the project you start with. (Try Natalie’s earrings first!)
What you will need:
- Round-nosed pliers – it’s not absolutely essential that they are round, but it will be easier to work with.
- Wire cutters
- 18-gauge wire
- Beads you love (I found these at Hobby Lobby)
- Jump rings
- A clasp for your closure. I like the toggle clasp, but whatever you prefer is fine!
Now, I don’t have a specific length I’m going to tell you to use, here, because a lot of it will depend on how big your beads are and how tightly to choose to wrap them. I used about this much wire (above) for one loop and the wrapping. I used another inch or so for the second loop. So you can either work off the coil, or cut off a similar length.
First, make a loop at the end of your bead. This is where the round-nosed pliers are great, you just loop it right over. Then, twist the excess once or twice around the “neck” of your loop.
Now, wrap your wire around the bead. There’s no rule for how tightly wrapped it should be – whatever you like is fine!
At the bottom end of the bead, take the straight part of the wire and make a second loop, wrapping the tail around the neck just the way you did on the top end. Then, take the tail of the wire you wrapped around your bead, and wrap that around the neck as well.
It’s hard to tell in the above photo bu there are 2 wires there. See below, that might help.
Now, nip the excess off with your wire cutters. You may also want to file the cut edges.
Depending on the size beads you are using, you will likely need anywhere from 5-8 beads wrapped. (Mine needed 5.)
When you have enough, join the loops end-to-end with jump rings, and add your clasp pieces to the ends.
And that’s it! It dresses up the beads and adds a little interest. I found that each bead took me about 5 minutes, and assembling the bracelet just a few minutes more. So with 5 beads, around a half hour of work (if you use smaller beads that will of course take slightly more time).
So what projects are you working on? Have you started your Valentine crafting or are you just enjoying a few projects for yourself first? ;)