Free Project: Create Lampwork Bead and Stamped Wire Jewelry-Making Components

Cassie Donlen’s Slink-a-Dink Necklace

I just got my copy of the newest Step-by-Step Wire Jewelry, and I’m going crazy with the page markers, marking all the projects I want to do and tips I want to remember. I can’t give too much away at once, but Cassie Donlen’s Slink-a-Dink stamped wire and lampwork glass bead necklace is so cute and cheerful, I had to share. The necklace is made up of shiny, brightly polished square wire spirals (love square wire!) alternated with lampwork-beaded, stamped-wire swirls. The lampwork swirls could easily stand alone–two as earrings, one on a chain by itself as a pendant or slide, or even in a bracelet. It’s a great way to show off some favorite lampwork beads–and though they don’t look simple, they are easy to make! Here’s the lampwork-bead-and-stamped-wire-swirl portion of the project to get your creative juices flowing.

Supplies (for one link):

4″ of 12-gauge fine silver (or dead-soft sterling) wire*
3  5mm x 8mm lampwork beads with a 3⁄32″ hole*
flush cutters
round-nose pliers
bracelet-bending pliers
fine-point marker
2-hole screw punch or drill of your choice
swirl or other steel stamp
brass or ball-peen hammer
steel bench block
liver of sulfur
fine steel wool pad
Pro-Polish pads

* per link

Steps:

1. Use round-nose pliers to make a large loop on one end of the wire.
2. Place the loop on a steel bench block and flatten just the looped end with a ball-peen hammer. It needs to be pretty flat on the loop’s outer edge so you can punch a hole there later. Keep the wire round in the center so that the lampwork beads can slide on it.
3. Optional: The loop tends to gather an open space at the tip after it has been flattened. Use bracelet-bending pliers to push the loop ends closer together. Don’t push too firmly, or it might cause the wire to bend and break.
4. Place the loop back on the bench block and use a brass or ball-peen hammer and a swirl-pattern stamp to make impressions on both sides of the loop. This helps to further flatten the loop, making more room for the punched hole.
5. Slide on three lampwork beads and use round-nose pliers to make a loop of the same size–but in the opposite direction–as the first loop on the other end of the wire.
6. Use the hammer to flatten the loop. Let the lampwork beads section hang off the end of your bench block so that only the loop is on the block. This allows it to be properly hammered. Hold back the beads with your thumb to protect them from being chipped by the hammer–be careful not to hit your thumb, too!
7. Use the swirl design stamp to make swirl patterns on both sides of that loop. To protect the beads, let them remain hanging off the end of the bench block.
8. With a fine-tip marker, make a mark on the outer edges of both loops where the holes will be punched.
9 Use the screw punch (or drill of your choice) to make a hole where the marks were made. It is important to eyeball the spot before screwing down the screw to determine if there is enough space around the screw to support the hole on all sides.
10. When you’ve made all of your beaded links, you can enhance the stamped designs by adding patina with liver of sulfur. Use fine steel wool to polish the patina off the high areas. Polish the links with Pro-Polish pads or by placing them in a tumbler with stainless steel shot for an extra shiny finish.

Ta da! Such a charming and versatile wire jewelry component! For more great wire-jewelry projects, including some featuring stamped metal wire and colorful lampwork beads, subscribe to Step-by-Step Wire Jewelry.

Cassie’s Resources:
lampwork beads from Glass Beadle, GlassBeadle.com
silver from Rio Grande, RioGrande.com

 

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