Turn Simple Wire Jewelry Making Techniques into Your Personal Wire Designs
One of the best lessons I’ve learned while experimenting with jewelry making is that a good grasp of the most basic techniques can lead to some of the best designs. When you mix those basics with a bit of inspiration, you’ll be amazed at what you can achieve! It’s a joy to take simple techniques and make a piece of jewelry that is distinctly your own.
Start With the Basics
One quiet evening at home, I was experimenting with wire jewelry making techniques–and those experiments led to the creation of some of my favorite pieces. With no clear vision of a finished design in mind, I began by playing with simple spirals. I cut 5 3- to 4-inch lengths of 20-gauge black craft wire and, using a pair of round-nose pliers and my fingers, spiraled slightly less than halfway down each piece. I then turned the lengths of wire around and spiraled back toward the center in the opposite direction of the first spirals, creating loose “scrolls.” I was very taken with the appearance of the scrolls and was delighted with my creation from a very basic spiral technique.
Turning the scrolls over and over in my hands, I decided they would look particularly nice linked together. I didn’t have any appropriately sized jump rings to connect the scrolls, so I used another basic wire jewelry making technique to make my own very small black rings. Again using the round-nose pliers, I fashioned small simple loops and used my flush cutters to cut them off from the rest of the wire at the base of the loops. Voila! Little tiny jump rings all my own.
After linking together three of the scroll sections, it dawned on me that I had the beginnings of a very nice bracelet design. But it needed something more than wire. I had a flat oval bronze metal clay bead left over from a previous project which I decided would make a great focal piece.
But the bead’s hole was too thin for even the 20-gauge wire. So I cut a 4-inch piece of wire and a 2-inch piece. I crossed these two lengths, wrapping them around each other in the middle to form a cross and added a simple loop at all four ends. I laid the bead in the center of the cross and bent the ends up at 90-degree angles. I used my little jump rings to attach the spirals (two on one side of the bead and three on the other) to the cross then bent the ends of the cross down across the bead, pinching them down securely with my pliers. I had created my own little bead-holding prongs!
To complete my wire bracelet, I made a hook clasp by cutting a 3-inch length of wire and spiraling about halfway down. I used my pliers to bend the wire back toward the spiral, forming a hook, and I added a tiny simple loop. I added another jump ring to the other end of the bracelet for the “eye.”
Attempts Numbers 2 and 3
I was so happy with the results of my first scroll bracelet that I had to try it again. This time, I made the scrolls tighter for a more “refined” look. And the focal bead I used for this second attempt was one of my favorite stones–African Blue Opal (also known as Impression Stone). Since the hole in this bead was wide enough to accommodate 20-gauge wire, I simply threaded the wire through the bead and made simple loops on the end, which I attached to the spirals. Same technique, very different look!
Next, I decided to branch out just a bit and use the scroll design for a pair of wire earrings. Again I used 20-gauge craft wire. I added some wonderful red vintage Czech glass beads with a subtle silver pattern between the scrolls and at the bottom of the earrings (attached with a simple loop). I ended up with a pretty elegant pair of dangle earrings–not something I usually wear, but a very nice look nonetheless.
Finding Inspiration and Information
The great thing about creating these pieces was that I found all of the basic wire jewelry making techniques I needed, as well as a great deal of wire jewelry making inspiration, while I was thumbing through back issues of Step By Step Wire Jewelry. Those older issues are a terrific source of information for coming up with your own wire jewelry making designs.
And now you can save bookshelf space if you want to peruse back issues of the magazine. The 2006 Step by Step Wire Jewelry Collection Download will give you access to many of your favorite wire jewelry making projects and articles whenever you need them, in convenient digital form! It contains every issue of the magazine from 2006, including all the wire jewelry making projects, instructions, tips, and techniques you’ll need.