Handmade Wire Wrapped Jewelry- Wrap Your Mind Around These Ideas

In this article I will be touching on some of the most common handmade wire wrapped jewelry. The options are endless as to what you can make, its only your mind that can hold you back from creating beautiful wrapped jewelry.

Wrapped Pendants

Wrapped pendants are probably the most common jewelry I’ve seen, and I myself have made. There are so many options, you can wrap beads, raw crystals, stones, sea glass, sea shells, teeth, claws the list goes on. Depending on the size of the piece you are wrapping can also determine how much wire you can wrap around it, I’ve also seen some wraps with multiple beads or crystals all in one pendant. amethyst wrapped pendant

The gauge used for wrapping pendants varies depending on the size of the piece you are wrapping. I usually use 20 gauge and 28 gauge wire, but when the piece is a bigger one I will use 18 gauge and 26 gauge wire to make sure its solid.

Rings

I’ve seen many beautiful rings that are made only of woven wire. There are other times I have seen a tiny bead, a small raw crystal, or small cabochon used as the center piece of the ring. The nice thing about these rings are they are usually adjustable, because the wire used to make them tends to be fairly flexible. There are also ways to make them fitted, you would need a mandrel to make sure to get the size right. Depending on the weave and gauge you use, the ring can be sturdy as well. wire ring

Most rings are made with 20 gauge and 28 gauge wire, it really depends on how thick you want the ring to be. I myself have pretty small fingers so I like to use the smaller gauges, but I also like dainty looking rings.

Bracelets

Another beautiful accessory that can be made with wire! Most of the time bracelets are made with a thick gauged wire and beads of your choice. I have seen cabochons, raw crystals, sea glass, and sea shells used, but I feel like because they don’t have a drilled hole, they would be harder to secure to make sure they don’t break free. wire wrapped bracelet

Wire gauge for these are usually 16 as your base and 26 as your weaving wire.

Earrings

Only have 2 beautiful beads and don’t know what to do with them? Place them on a piece of wire and start weaving around them! When I only have a few beads left over from another project, I will wire wrap them and make a cute set of earrings to go with whatever else I had used the beads for. Wrapped bead earrings

Earrings are usually made with 20 gauge and 28 gauge wire. It could also depend on the inside diameter of your bead as to what gauge is going to work best.

Handmade is the Best Made

These are just a few of the beautiful handmade ideas that are easier to start out with. I’ve seen other wrapped pieces like ear cuffs, nose rings, key chains, tiaras, elf ears, there are just so many options out there to wrap! I honestly love handmade gifts because it means you put time and effort into making it for someone. If you have the time to make handmade gifts like these for someone great, if not there are others out there that would be happy to make it for you, but there’s nothing like that feeling of accomplishment when you do it yourself. Got any other cool ideas to wrap? Leave them below.

Wire Wrap Weave Patterns – Weave Got You Wrapped.

Do you like to collect crystals or neat looking rocks, but then don’t know what to do with them? Below I’ll share some wire wrap weave patterns that will look amazing for putting your treasures on display for others to see, maybe even to buy from you, if you let them!

Weave or Wrap?

You may be wondering what is the difference between wire weaving and wire wrapping? My answer to this is that wire weaving is the act of using 1 wire (weave wire, which is usually smaller) to weave or braid around your base wire. Wire wrapping is taking the wires that you have woven and wrapping them around the piece you are working with.

2 Base Wire Weaves

These are a couple weaves that involve just 2 base wires. These weaves would be great for making rings, earrings or even wrapping some small beads for a pendant. I’ve noticed a lot of the weaves don’t actually have names, some do, and some are more of a modification of one of the other weaves. Sometimes you can create your own weave without even realizing it, by just changing the amount of wraps around the base wire you use.

Basket Weave- This weave is probably one of the more simple and easy weaves to do starting out. Its great for goingBasket weave

around cabochons or any semi flat crystal or sea shell. It is also used to make bails.

Modified Soumak- This weave is a new favorite of mine because I really like the way it looks. It is also a very sturdy weave.Modified soumak

Another Modified Weave-This is the weave I see used a lot. This is the very first weave I was taught to do in the class that I Modified weavetook all those years ago. This is usually my go to weave.

Yet another Modified Weave- I personally don’t care for this weave, I’m not sure if its because its chunky looking or it shows a lot of the base wire. I tend to like delicate, tight weaves. Sometimes when you are working with a bigger piece you are wrapping, a chunky weave makes it look sturdy. Another modified weave

3 Base Wire Weaves

These next weaves I have not used much, and honestly 3 base wires intimidated me for a while. Now after practicing using them and figuring out which ones I like, I don’t mind using them as much and they can really add some detail to the piece. I usually see 3 base wire weaves used to make pendants, bracelets and other bigger jewelry.

Modified Soumak-This is very similar to the 2 wire except you are now going up one more base wire and then back down. I do like the look of this weave and its easy to start with 2 wires then add your third along the way. 3 wire modified soumak

Not sure what to call this next weave because one side looks kind of like a chunky zig zag and the other side looks like a modified soumak. Either way this is one of the 3 wire weaves that’s super simple to make and looks nice. You can do more or fewer wraps around the wires to make it look more or less chunky. Zig zag

This next one starts out as a modified soumak but then instead of going back down you just wrap all 3 wires together and start at the top and go to the bottom wire again. This tends to be a chunky weave. Chunky weave

Last weave is a very chunky weave, but if you wanted you don’t have to wrap it as many times if you want a thinner look. Chunky 2

Hands On Weaving

I myself am more of a hands on learner, but once I’ve been show how to do something basic, I can usually figure out the more advanced by reading or watching tutorials. The tutorial here is where I learned the 2 and 3 base wire weaves. If you want a more hands on learning experience my fellow wire weaver Wanda teaches wire weaving. I have also known local craft stores to host events with wire weaving being a class offered, such as Micheal’s or A.C.Moore.

Weaved Wrapped It Up

Above are just a taste of what is possible with weaving and wrapping. Once you get the hang of the basics there’s no telling what awesome creation you can come up with! Please feel free to ask any questions below. Happy weaving and wrapping!

Wire For Wrapping Jewelry – It’s Down To The Wire!

You’re almost ready to go! By now you’ve purchased the wire wrap tool must haves! You’ve figured out what you want to wrap. Now you just need the wire for wrapping jewelry! After speaking with two fellow wire weavers, Marissa, and Wanda which each have a little bit different wrapping style, these are the gauges, colors, shapes and places to get the best wire for weaving that we came up with.

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Wire for wire wrapping

Gauging

Gauging can be difficult because the numbers are backwards! What I mean by this is, you would think the bigger the number the larger the wire right? WRONG! With wire it is the opposite. The larger the number the smaller the wire. Confusing I know, and depending on the size of what you are wrapping you may want thicker wire or thinner wire.

These are the gauges Marissa recommends: 20 gauge for your base wire and 26 gauge for your weaving wire. She also suggests 18 and sometimes 16 gauge if you have a good sized piece you are wrapping. I have used these gauges on a few of my bigger projects and they look great, nice and sturdy.  I only used 2 pieces of base wire to get that thick sturdy look. The one downside to these gauges are they can be a little  harder on your fingers, and a little harder to bend the way you want them.

Wanda tends to work with a little bit smaller gauged weave wire: 20 gauge as the base wire and 28 gauge as the weave wire. Honestly I prefer the smaller gauge weave wire, it tends to be easier on your fingers. If you wish to give it a thicker look use 3 pieces or more of base wire instead of just 2. This gauge of wire is also easier to bend and loop.

To see the difference feel free to go check out their pages.

Jewelry Wire Vs. Craft Wire

Whats the difference between the two? There are actually a few differences, some of them include hardness, and material they are made out of.

Jewelry wire comes in a variety or materials and hardness depending on what its made out of. Plated is aSilver plated Wire form of jewelry wire and comes in a base metal covered in gold or silver. Most base metals are either aluminum, brass or copper. Aluminum is considered a soft metal but can be found as half-hard in some places. Its a pretty easy wire to work with and comes in various colors. Copper is another easy wire to work with and can be found in different hardness and colors. Brass is a little harder then copper, but still pretty easy to work with.

Some other materials are sterling silver (considered an alloy because it is mixed with a small amount of copper, hence why sterling silver will tarnish over time). sterling silver wire is usually expensive and sold by the ounce so you don’t really get your moneys worth. In talking with Wanda she has found that a lot of her customers prefer the craft wire, because they don’t like having to clean the sterling silver. Wanda also mentioned that the gold isn’t as soft as the others and can be difficult to work with and time consuming.

Craft Wire is usually a copper based wire with a permanent enamel coating that is tarnish resistant. This wire, because its copper based, and copper is a soft metal, is considered a dead soft wire when talking about hardness. This wire is very easy to work with and bend due to it being soft. Something to watch out for if you are a beginner, is that this wire, because its soft, if you bend,  unbend, then bend it again the wire tends to break.

There are 3 different hardness levels in jewelry and craft wire, they are “dead soft”, “half-hard”, and “full-hard”. Craft wire usually tends to be dead-soft, because its madeWire hardness chart out of copper or aluminum. Full-hard wire tends to be brittle and resistant to bending. Half-hard wire is that happy medium between too soft and not holding its form, and too hard to even try to get it into a form.

Colors and Shape

There are several colors in jewelry and craft wire to choose from. The most common colors of wire are silver, gold, copper and antiqued copper. There are other colors as well such as black, blue, green and purple.

There are multiple shapes of wire that are common in wire wrapping. The most common ones I have seen are round, flat, half round and twisted. Out of these I personally like round or flat. There are others that are twisted square, twisted round, triangle, the list goes on but some are hard to come by and are only sold in certain gauges.

The question to ask yourself about the colors of wire is,  is it for you or customers? If it’s just for you then go with what you like. If, however, you plan on turning this hobby into a business then I suggest getting a few different colors to give your customers some options to choose from. The same goes for the shapes, what do you prefer to work with or what do you think you customers would prefer.

Memory wire?Memory wire

What’s memory wire and should I remember it or forget it? The thing to remember about memory wire is it’s not for wire wrapping. This wire holds onto the “memory” of being coiled. It’s great for making beaded necklaces or even bracelets that coil up your arm. It’s a very springy wire that even has a hard time looping depending on the gauge you are using. Think of memory wire like a slinky (if your not too young to remember them).

Where To Buy To Get The Best Deal

The most common place to buy jewelry wire or craft wire is a craft store, because you get it right then and there. The question is, is that the best deal? Answer is no. The best deal is going to be online even though it could take longer to get. If you want something instantly then by all means go to the craft store. Most offer coupons, like Michael’s, 40% one regular priced item. If you’re looking to buy bulk, eBay or Amazon is the way to go, plus you get free shipping!
I will say, sometimes it is nice to go into the craft store and buy a small spool of a certain gauge or color to try it out and see if that’s what you like to work with or not. Once you find a gauge and finish/color you like, or even a brand, feel free to go online and order it in bulk! Also remember when you buy, to buy tarnish and nickel free wire. You or your customers don’t want to wear their beautiful piece a few times and have it look like it’s dull and years old. You want it to look fresh and eye catching.

Down To The Wire

In the end it really depends on what you are choosing to wrap and if it’s for you or a customer, as to what gauge, finish, color and shape you choose. Another thing to consider is how much wrapping you plan to do to determine if you should buy in bulk or just a regular sized spool. For me, I don’t wrap to sell to customers, I wrap for myself or as gifts to friends and family, I have found that I prefer to work with 20 gauge and 28 gauge round copper coated silver wire. I do have other colors and gauges but like I said these are the ones, that through trial and error I have found work best for me. If you have any questions please feel free to reach out to me. Happy wrapping!

Wire Wrap Tools – The MUST Haves!

Whether you’re a beginner or advanced everyone starts out with a basic tool kit. The more advanced you get the more your tool box grows. Below, after speaking with fellow wire weave artist Marissa Melton at Flowstudios.me, @flowstudios11. We have come up with a list of wire wrap tools that are must haves, no matter where you are in your journey. Feel free to check out Marrisa’s handcrafted wire woven jewelry and commissions @soulintentionart.

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Wire wrap tools

Wire straightener

This is definitely at the top of the must have list. This little tool is small but mighty! Most wire that you get is on a spool which makes it curly. This tool helps to make that wire nice and straight with no kinks or waves, which is important when you want a nice clean looking piece. This tool is made up of 3 round nylon rollers, that when used to straighten the wire forms a triangle that you slide down the piece of wire you wish to straighten. Please keep in mind this tool does get a lot of wear and tear, it’s plastic verse metal after all.

Round Nose Pliers

These pliers are 2nd on the list of must have tools. These pliers will help you make pretty swirls and curly q’s to add to the flow of the piece you are making. These pliers are usually spring-loaded so you don’t have to open the jaws. They have tapering cone-shaped jaws that make it possible to form different sized loops and swirls. The more advanced version of these are nylon coated, so as not to make imperfections on the wire you are bending. If you are planning to work with large gauge wire (more on this in my wire gauge article) you will want to be sure to get a heavy-duty pair, otherwise you may not be able to bend or loop the wire the way you want.

Needle Nose Pliers / Flat Nose Pliers

The next tools on the list would be needle nose and flat nose pliers. Needle nose pliers are long narrow pliers that are sometimes ribbed on the inside of the jaws to help grip what is between them. The needle nose pliers are good for helping bend wire, or to hold the wire while using the round nose to bend the wire. Be wary that the ribbed jaws don’t mark up the wire. The needle nose are also helpful in tucking away the ends of wire to keep them from poking out.

Flat nose pliers are not as narrow as needle nose and their jaws are shorter and there is no ribbing on the inside of the jaws. These pliers do well holding wire and not marking the wire with imperfections, due to it not having any ribbing on the inside jaws. They are also useful for flattening wire as well and can come with a nylon coating.

Wire Cutter/Side Cutter Pliers

These pliers are a must have if you plan to work with wire. If you plan on working with a heavy gauge wire, make sure you get a good quality pair so you can slice through the wire like butter, and not have to hack away at it. These pliers have a nice sharp inner jaw that’s made to cut metal.

Spring Clamp

You may be wondering about this item and saying I’m working with wire not wood, which is what these clamps are usually used for; why would I need a spring clamp!? Let me tell you, these are amazing when trying to wrap a cabochon that you want to fit nicely between 2 pieces of wire. It allows you to hold the 2 pieces of wire however far enough apart, do your weave, and not damage the wire. This clamp looks more like a chip clip on steroids with soft rubber jaws.

Looping Pliers/Bail Pliers

Looping pliers and Bail pliers are like round nose pliers, but instead of slowly tapering these pliers have 3 distinct sized barrels that are used to make bails, jump rings, and consistent sized loops. These tools would come in handy if you are looking to make loops on your piece and have it be symmetrical.

 

Let’s Wrap It Up!

Any artist will tell you it’s not about what you don’t have, but how you use what you do have. You don’t have to have all these tools to do wire wrapping. These tools will make your life easier and probably save your fingers from a lot of pain, but maybe you don’t plan on doing lots of loops or swirls, maybe you don’t plan on working with cabochons. It’s all up to you! This is just a really simple list of wire wrap tools that I myself use to create wire wrapped jewelry.

About Me

Welcome to Wire Wrapped Gems, where I will be telling you about some of my personal experiences and also the best tools and wire to use to create beautiful wire wrapped gems.

Wrapped Up In Me

So what got me into wire wrapping you might wonder? I was always that kid going for walks stuffing my pockets full of rocks. I would mostly collect the white rocks or any that had a nice shine to them. I Loved going down to the Maine coast and into some little shops and purchasing some of the polished rocks and crystals. Walking on some beaches where it was more rocky I would also find some sea glass and shells to wrap as well.

Back in 2014 I had a friend that invited me along to go crystal/gemstone digging, I jumped at the opportunity! How cool would it be to find some tourmaline or quartz or ruby or lepidolite!? So along I went and had a blast! I found a bunch of super clear quartz, that once I was home I placed in a nice big vase. A year later I had a friend gift me an awesome moldavite wire wrapped necklace. It was beautiful and so well done that it got me thinking….maybe I could do this with some quartz I found!

I went to my local craft store and purchased some wire and 1 pair of pliers. Then it was home to see what I could come up with. I tried and tried but I just couldn’t figure out how to put it all together. I tried examining my wire wrapped necklace that I wore for inspiration, but it was like a maze that I couldn’t figure out what direction to go. I even tried watching a few YouTube videos to see if they could help me make sense of it all. No luck. I ended up putting my wire and pliers away.

In 2017 something amazing happened! I was always driving by this shop that said it was a rock and gemstone museum. Finally, one day I stopped in and had a look around. I spotted a rack with a bunch of wire wrapped necklaces hanging from it. The owner of the shop asked if I was finding everything alright, I pointed to the rack of wire wrapped necklaces and asked who made them. She replied a local artist and asked if I was looking for a special item. I then said no I was going to ask if the artist could show me how to make something like that!! The owner grinned at me and told me I was in luck! The artist just so happened to be hosting a wire wrapping class at that shop that coming Saturday!

I attended that 1 class and learned so much! Mostly that I didn’t have all the right tools I needed, or the right gauge wire to accomplish what I had wanted to do with my quartz. Ever since then I’ve been wire wrapping beads, cabochons, raw crystals, pieces of shell, sea glass, and bear claws. I love being able to express myself in this way and let the item I’m working with inspire me. I’ve learned that sometimes you can’t make something fit the way you want it to. You just gotta go with the flow and don’t get wrapped up in what you want it to look like, it will come out the way it’s meant to no matter what.

Wrapped Together

I really want to help people start out with the right tools and skills. I don’t want people to get discouraged like I did. I had multiple people help me out and give me advice and tricks and inspiration. We’re all in this together. We should all inspire each other and be able to learn from one another.

That’s A Wrap!

The reason I made this website is so that I can help people find all the tools, skills and maybe some inspiration they will need to start their wire wrapping journey.

If you ever need a hand or have any questions, Please leave them below and I will be more than happy to help you out .

Happy wrapping ,

Amber

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