Getting to Know Your Wire With a Free Wire Bracelet Making Project

For some of us, the most difficult part of learning how to make wire jewelry is learning how to get comfortable with handling the wire itself. After years of working with seed beads and thread, it was certainly a challenge for me to get used to the feeling of bending and shaping wire. But thankfully, this cool Swirls & Whirls bracelet making project by Pepper Mentz gives us newbie wire jewelry artists a way to safely experiment with wire! No worries about how your final wire links will look — anything goes when shaping components for this random, organic, and oh-so-artistic wire bracelet.

The inspiration for this wire bracelet came from Pepper's desire to learn how to make her own individual pieces to add to her jewelry designs. It's the perfect creative springboard for anyone who wants to learn how to work with wire! Have fun!

Materials:

  • 30 inches round dead-soft sterling silver wire, 16-gauge
  • 5 jump rings, 6mm OD (outside diameter)
  • 1 jump ring, 10mm OD
  • Clasp of your choice (or make your own!)

Tools

  • Round nose pliers
  • Chain nose pliers
  • Flat nose pliers
  • Flush cutters
  • File
  • Anvil or steel bench block
  • Chasing hammer

Step-by-step Instructions:

Step 1: Cut one 7" piece of wire for the center swirl. Cut two 5" pieces for the alternate swirls. Cut two 4" pieces for the last swirls. Cut one 5" piece for the clasp. File the ends of all cut wires. Using round nose pliers, place a small loop at the end of the 7" wire to start the curve.
Step 2: For the center link, use your hands to manipulate the wire into a loose spiral form. When you have made two turns around the center, use round nose pliers to form another loop on the wire as shown.
Step 3: Bring the wire back around the spiral, and directly across from the first outside loop, make another loop.
Step 4: For the second link, make a simple loop on one end of a 5" piece of wire and about 1" down the wire, curve a large bend.
Step 5: Once you have curved a half circle, bend the wire back into itself, forming a smaller bend over the round nose pliers, within the original circle. Then bend the wire in the opposite direction over the round nose pliers and around the outside of the original curve, ending directly across from the first simple loop.
Step 6: End with a loop on the other side. Repeat Steps 4 – 6 to make a second link.
Step 7: For the third link, form a small loop at the end of the 4" wire. Keep the wire straight for 1/2". Bend the wire back around the round nose pliers, and back down for another 3/4".
Step 8: Hold the wire with flat nose pliers and bend it to a 90 degree angle. Place the width of the flat nose pliers at the bottom of the 90 degree bend, then make another 90 degree angle with the wire, bending it back toward the original starting loop The bottom two angles should be about 1/3" apart.
Step 9: Repeat Step 7 in the opposite direction to finish the link. Make a second link by repeating Steps 7 – 9.
Step 10: To make the clasp, use a 5" piece of wire. Form a loop, and spiral the wire, making two rounds. Use flat nose pliers to form a V at the bottom of the spiral, and bend the wire back up at a 50 degree angle. Continue spiraling around the base. Form a large rounded curve at the top of the wire for the hook. Once the wire is 3/4 of the way back into the hook's bend, form the last loop.
Step 11: Hammer the swirled areas of each piece with a soft mallet, but keep the straight lines untextured. Attach the pieces together with the small rings. Attach the clasp to one end of the bracelet, and the large ring to the other.

Wire Tips:

  • Sketch the shapes on paper, using a black marker for broad, dark lines, and place the wire over the drawings so you can manipulate the wire on top of the sketch.
  • Make swirls in copper or brass first, to figure out the shapes that you want to use.
  • If you'd like to make a soft curve in the links, hammer each segment over a round anvil.
  • Adjust the length of your bracelet by including wire-wrapped bead links between each component.
Getting To the Point Bracelet from Dec 2014/Jan 2015 Step By Step Wire Jewelry Magazine

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Bead Happy,

Jennifer

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