Wire Wrapping: How to Make a Double-Wrapped Loop
I’ve always loved the look of a double-wrapped loop in wire wrapping. It’s my go-to method for joining beads into chain for bracelets and necklaces. The double-wrapped loop gives your piece a more substantial look while providing a sturdy link that is less likely to become misshapen when worn.
Teaching myself to make a double-wrapped loop resulted in a wonky link when trying to wrap one on either side of a bead. That all changed when I learned Tracy Stanley’s technique! In her book Exploring Metal Jewelry, Tracy spills all her secrets to perfect double-wrapped loops every time. Plus she shares how she adds a spiral cap to the bead as well! Let’s take a peek inside the pages of this must-have book to see how it’s done.
Wire Wrapping: Making a Double-Wrapped Loop with Spiral Cap
Excerpted from Exploring Metal Jewelry by Tracy Stanley
A double-wrapped loop is a decorative detail to add to your beaded links. Use this type of loop when the bead hole can’t accommodate heavier gauge wire. The double-wrapped loop gives the illusion of a heavier wire and visually balances a piece that mixes gauges.
Wire Wrapping: Tools
To make a double-wrapped loop, you need flush cutters, round- and chain-nose pliers, and a permanent marker. As practice, use a 10″ (25.5 cm) length of 18-gauge copper wire and a bead approximately 12mm in diameter.
Wire Wrapping: Technique
1. SIDE ONE
Mark the spot on your round-nose pliers where you will make your loops. Grasp the wire on the mark, leaving about 2″ (5 cm) of wire above the tool. Holding the wire from below with your fingers, rotate the pliers away from you, turning only as far as is comfortable. Loosen your grip on the wire, and rotate the tool back to its original position. Rotate the tool away again to complete the loop. At this point, the shorter wire should be pointed straight up (Fig. 1).
2. Remove the loop from the pliers. Reposition the round-nose pliers and place the loop back on the mark on the nose of the plier farthest away from you. The wire below and above the loop should be straight up and down (Fig. 2).
3. Keeping the loops in the same position, grasp them with the chain-nose pliers and pull the loops back to create an angle at the base (Fig. 3). Note: Don’t be afraid to exaggerate the angle by pulling hard on the loops. This is referred to as “breaking the neck,” and it creates a nice crisp angle under the loops.
4. Place the loop back onto the round-nose pliers; hold the tool in your non-dominant hand with the tip pointing up. Note: If the working wire isn’t pointing toward you, reposition the loop so that it is. Grasp the working wire with chain-nose pliers and wrap the wire once around the base of the double loop. Don’t cut off the extra wire (Fig. 4).
5. SIDE TWO
Slide the bead onto the wire. Use the round-nose pliers to grasp the wire about 1-1/2″ (3.8 cm) from the bead; the amount may vary depending on the size of the loops. Holding the bead in your other hand, rotate the tool away from you, letting the end of the wire pass around the tip of the pliers (Fig. 5).
Getting Loops in Just the Right Spot
If the two complete loops you’ve made aren’t against the bead, don’t worry; you can still save your link! To lower the loops so they sit on the bead, simply reinsert the pliers in the loops and turn the pliers away from you, as if you are making another loop. Loosen your grip, return to the last position, and pull the wire back up straight. Continue until the loops are down tight on the bead. Knowing just the right spot to grab takes practice!
6. After one complete rotation, reposition the round-nose pliers, and then rotate the tool again until you’ve formed a second complete loop. The end of the wire should stick straight up, and the loops should be right against the bead (Fig. 6).
7. With the chain-nose pliers, grasp the loops, then pull the tool toward you to bend an angle in the wire under the loop and on top of the bead (Fig. 7).
8. Place the loops back onto the round-nose pliers and hold the tool in your non-dominant hand, with the nose of the pliers pointing up. Fold the wire over to secure the loops (Fig. 8).
9. Leaving the loops on the round-nose pliers, grab the end of the wire with your hand or chain-nose pliers and spiral the wire several times over the end of the bead, capping it. Repeat to form a spiral cap on the other side.
10. Cut off the excess wire from both sides (Fig. 9).
Wire Wrapping: Double-Wrapped Loop Tips & Tricks
- As you rotate, the end of the wire that sticks up above the tool must pass on the open side (tip side) of the pliers, rather than the side with the handle. Doing so ensures you can make both loops the same size.
- Always keep the wire below the tool oriented vertically.
Give Tracy’s double-wrapped loop technique a try and let us know how it works for you in the comments below. And for more great wire wrapping and metalsmithing techniques, be sure to grab a copy of Exploring Metal Jewelry.
–Editorial Director, Books
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