Just some inspiration for you, I hope! :)) These are my latest tree creations... I expanded my Tree of Life Bonsai into a Braided Money Tree Bonsai... I consider it a tree of life also!
Enjoy the eye candy and visit my store to purchase any of these beautiful wire tree creations. I share this basic tree design in a tutorial also! Enjoy and thank you always, for your wonderful support and encouragement!
The Money Tree IS a tree of life! ;) May we all have wisdom, strength, health and prosperity.
Learn how to create this gorgeous and unique wire tree pendant. There are many styles of wire wrapped trees available... many beautiful Tree of Life pendant tutorials, so I thought I'd give you something a bit different. This is a twisted, braided, Money Tree bonsai, that I hope gives you endless amounts of fun.
I get many emails asking what it takes to get started in this beautiful art form. That's much more of a loaded question than one might realize as this art form, is about as endless as imagination itself. :))
Having said that, I've decided to give a post on what I consider to be the very basics and how to figure out exactly where that 'start point' might be.
First, I'll give you the 'short cut', do it now, impulse driven, dive in method and then I'll describe the details of what it will take when you decide you're sticking with it.
It can be expensive to just dive in, considering there are tons of different tools that can be needed, depending on what type of jewelry you're interested in making. Rings for example, require a ring mandrel. Flattened wire requires a hammer and also then a steel bench block. Pendants require a dowel of some sort to create a bale.
So before you buy anything, if you're brand new to making wire jewelry,
Think about what you want to make as your first project.
Look at a ton of images on the internet for ideas and inspiration, get to know what you 'like', what you're drawn to, what excites you, to know what you might want to make.
As you look at and are inspired by images, pay attention to tools and materials being used or
information on what it would take to create such a piece.
See if there are 'additional skill sets' required to complete the desired project. You might need to solder for example and if that's more than you want to learn in order to create wire jewelry, then perhaps you need to consider a different project... OR put your mind to learning soldering too! ;)
Learn a bit about the 'metal' and how the wire will behave. Wire comes in many gauges, shapes and tensile strengths, all good for different purposes.
Learn what it takes to 'complete' a piece... does it require earring hooks? A pendant bale? Links, head pins, additional beads, chain, clasps?
Get the tools and supplies appropriate for your project. Start with simple materials, craft or copper wires rather than precious metals, beads with holes that are easy to work with. Visit your local hobby / craft store (Michael's or Hobby Lobby are awesome for beginner supplies). Purchase a starter tool kit which should contain wire cutters and various pliers, find some fun and beautiful beads and any findings needed if you're not making your own.
Get a flat table cleared, some good overhead lighting or a bright table lamp and a good chair. You're ready to dive in and just "make something!" You'll love it and you'll find it a quickly addicting sensation, especially when you put your beautiful wire jewelry on your body! The realization that you can make more and make anything you want, washes over you and that's all it takes... you're ready for more information on how to turn this delightful hobby into a blissful and loved art form...
Google and study up how to make wire wrapped jewelry. My ways are only my own suggestions based on my own experiences. I'm self taught via Google, Youtube and several months of hunting down free tutorials, plus a few I purchased. :))
Enjoy the exploration... there is a world of wonderful information out on the internet. Youtube offers many free jewelry making video tutorials, so look into them and enjoy! I have a link under the header of my blog page if you're interested. I've learned from the videos, I also scout out and update my links to other free tutorials offered by other artists. Be sure to check back with the Pinterest links above and my blog, for new content.
Okay, so you're brand new to wire wrapping, but decided to give an intermediate to advanced project, a go anyway... awesome! Here are some quick tips that might help you get your impulse started off on the right and enjoyable foot.
1. Handling long lengths of thin wire (potentially up to 6 feet at a time)
Don't learn using sterling silver or gold. Get copper or craft wire in 28 or 30 gauge. It feels as thin as thread, but can't be handled that way. The more the wire is 'pulled' like a thread, through other wires, the thinner and more brittle it becomes. This will quickly cause kinking and breaking. It's a gentle feeding of the thin wires, through tight spots that works best for me.
I lay the 'long end' of the wrapping wire, out over my lap, draping down the side of my chair. I handle the 'wrapping' end, in a way akin to 'knitting' and as I work, I allow the length to work up from my side.
Some folks 'loosely coil' the longer end, unraveling lengths as they wire wrap. Find what works best for you. The objective is to manage the thin wire so that it doesn't kink, break, knot, etc... as you work.
Why is it so long? Most of the time, it's not and you can hide cut ends, but the reason I work with longer lengths is to minimize the tiny cut ends. If making a ring shank, for example, you don't want a bunch of cut ends on the inside of the shank, next to the skin, because they have the potential to 'scratch' or poke the wearer. Leaving cut ends on the outside, unfortunately, leaves potential for catching on clothing. Be mindful of where you cut, if you need to cut and continue wrapping the tiny wires.
2. Gotta make a tight spiral?
Use your round nose pliers to create the first one or two loops into your spiral, then use flat nose pliers to finish it up. Using the flat nose to handle your wire, rather than the round nose, helps to prevent 'pits' along your wire.
3. Gotta thread tiny beads onto thin wire?
You can try to pick the bead up, position the hole into your wire... OR ... you can do it the easier way and lay your tiny beads out onto some felt, then use the end of the tiny wire as a needle and pick the beads up from the felt.
4. Your wires came off the spool 'warped' and with some kinks...
If you're going to work with wire and create wire wrapped jewelry, along with your basic tool set, you might include a pair of Nylon Jaw pliers. They can be purchased from any local craft store. You can straighten wires with your fingers if they're thin enough, but the thicker wires are harder to get straight. Starting with straight wires can make a big difference to the quality of your finished work.
Hold your wire with regular pliers in one hand and use the Nylon Jaw pliers to run down the length, giving good pressure on the wire (you don't have to strangle it) but one or two 'rubs' along the length with your Nylon Jaws will get the warps out.
Not only will your finished jewelry look better, but in the long run, this extra step will actually make it easier for you to wrap and weave the wires together. It's hard to do this if the wires are warped and have irregular gaps down their length.
5. Size your wire properly
Wire is sized in Gauges. The lower the number, the larger the diameter of the wire. So... 10 gauge wire is large and hard, while 30 gauge wire, is as thin as a hair. Here is a useful link... http://www.Wire-Sculpture.com (sighs with affection... it's where I first learned). xo
6. Tensile Strength / Wire Hardness
Wire comes in different 'hardness' or tensile strength ... Dead Soft, Half Hard and Hard. Most wire wrapping projects use Dead Soft wires. The wires harden as you work with them and Dead Soft wires are pliable, easy to bend and manipulate into shape. Hard and Half hard wires are great for 'utility' pieces such as jump rings, earring hooks and clasps that need to hold their shape under use or pressure.
Wire hardness, varies also, depending on the metal. Sterling silver might feel different at Dead Soft than Brass.
7. Wire comes in different shapes.
Round, Half Round, Square and imprinted with design. Choose the appropriate wire for your project and combine wire types to add texture to a project.
8. Do you need to soften your thick, hard wire?
Don't be afraid to use fire. If you don't want to get a micro torch (hand held torch), then you can also use an open flame from your stove top (if you have one and if the wire is 20 gauge or thinner)... glass coil burners won't work to apply enough heat to the metal. A decent micro torch can be found at your local craft / hobby store or local hardware store. They are fueled by Butane (lighter fluid, available at any local grocery, hardware or drug store). Use care, use pliers and run the fire over the wire until you detect a color change (few seconds)... make sure to use pliers to pick the wires up and put into a water bowl for cooling down. BE CAREFUL and learn more about heating up wire before you jump in. The added concern will be removing the firescale from the wire (the burn).
9. A bit of 'extra' you say?
Got a lot of 'scraps' because you're new to wire wrapping and added length to wire projects? Yes, we've all done it and still do it... no worries! You're a wire wrapper now... use the 2+ inch 'scraps' and make your own findings. What are earring hooks but wires anyway! Bracelet clasps, jump rings, head pins... all can be made with scraps of wire 2 to 6 inches long. DON'T throw it away. Google up or check my Pinterest for free jewelry findings tutorials.
10. Do you need to harden wire?
Dead soft wires, during wrapping, will harden naturally. It might not be enough however, to keep that decorative spiral on the front of the stone in place.. so sometimes, we need to harden the wires. Wires can be hardened by hammer or by tumbler. If you made earring hooks, but used dead soft wire 'scraps', then you can harden that wire by hammering it with a ball peen jewelry hammer. This also gives the wire texture. Some folks toss their finished jewelry into a Tumbler (machine) to harden and polish wires after the wrapping is complete. I don't use a Tumbler, but you can if you like. I don't cover Tumblers... but they come with instructions. ;)
I will be adding to this post as I go and as things and questions come up, so be sure to bookmark this page and visit again soon!
My other tutorial projects can be found for sale in my Etsy jewelry store. I hope to see you there!
https://www.etsy.com/shop/PerfectlyTwisted While this free project is a 'visual' about design... the tutorials within my store contain all the fine details, including material information, lengths and step by step instructions for each project. When visiting my store, please feel free to read my customer reviews! Click each image to enlarge and get a close up. Enjoy!
Taking time to manipulate wires into elegant curves will make a huge difference in your finished project. If the curves are not elegant and contain small, out of balanced 'kinks'... use round nose pliers and a very light touch to smooth out the curves and remove the kinks.
I invest time into the back, not only to make it as attractive as I can, but also to ensure that the cabochon is held tightly within the wire. I take a lot of pride in the fact that I don't use glue or solder to hold the stones in place. And I take huge pleasure in knowing that they won't ever just 'fall out' either. :))
I've been emailed several times, being asked if I could create a tutorial on how to wire wrap an un-drilled cabochon. It's a difficult request in that most designer cabochon are not of a uniform shape or size... making the giving of exact measurements a hard thing to do.
Then I realized... more important than giving exact measurements, is to perhaps, give the 'idea' and thought process behind wrapping an un-drilled stone. So I invite you into my studio during the creation of this pendant... and I'll share 'what I was thinking' while I built it. I'm still a learning student of this art myself... so there might be better ways, but this is one of 'my ways' ;)
When wire wrapping, using a stone or bead WITH a hole makes 'capturing' the stone or bead, fairly easy. You put a wire through the hole somewhere in your design process and wrap around it in a beautiful way. Wrapping a cut cabochon, with no holes, is another matter and requires a different thought process.
The un-drilled cabochon won't stay in place or secure within the wire, unless you're able to build a 'harness' around the stone, all the while, creating a beautiful design and functional bale, in the case of a pendant.
I've put together images hoping to show this process. I don't always have a design in mind to begin with, other than the initial bale I intend to use. Many times that alone, will drive the rest of the creation. Many times, the shape of the stone and any color variations it might have, will also drive the over all design.
Due to their unique shapes, using grid paper helps to keep an eye on symmetry. Even though many of my pendants are more 'free form' than not, there is still a balance to maintain... keeping the stone centered within the pendant for example. Re-aligning your project to grid points will help a great deal, while you work.
I hope these 'tricks and tips' of mine, help you along your creative way!
My other tutorial projects can be found for sale in my Etsy jewelry store. I hope to see you there!
For stones with odd shapes, use a string, wrapped around the stone, to help measure for wire length needed. For this project, I used four, 20 gauge, sterling silver wires for the frame, cut to 13 inches each. I used 30 gauge sterling for wrapping wire, in various lengths throughout. Using grid paper helps to keep your stone centered during creation and aids with symmetry throughout the design/creation process.
While the back side gets a bit 'sacrificed' to secure wire ends, invest the time to keep it as neat and attractive as possible. The back side wires should also be placed with purpose, to ensure that they secure the stone into place and prevent it from 'slipping out'.
Designs in front should be created with the same in mind... they serve a decorative purpose, but also to secure the stone into place. 7
Bringing wires from the back to the front and from the front to the back, in decorative and elegant ways, begins to build the layers of this 'harness', around the stone. Using this type of 'harness', leaves a lot of room for free form creativity.
Wires can be terminated either in the back of the pendant or in the front. Either way, try to secure the end in such a way that it won't catch or shift out of place. Longer lengths might require some type of loop to lock them into place, such as I have done in the image below. Short tight spirals that don't have a long wire length lay much neater against the stone and don't require so much thought about 'catching' and bending out of shape.
While sides might look like they are secure, always 'jiggle' your stone with reasonable pressure to test it. It should not slip out due to being lovingly handled :) Do this BEFORE you cut away any remaining lengths. You might need to add additional 'design' to secure the stone. In this case, I created a coil and brought it down the long side of the cabochon.... I'm locking it into place, using the two decorative wires from below.
The stone can still slip out the top of the pendant... so I use the two remaining wires from above. Come back for Part 2 and see how this beautiful pendant is finished... In the meantime, I hope you'll consider to visit my store for some of my other wire projects! https://www.etsy.com/shop/PerfectlyTwisted
While this project is a 'visual' about design... the tutorials within my store contain all the fine details, including material information, lengths and step by step instructions on how to create these weaving patterns. All designs and written information are copyright and can not be used to recreate a tutorial by any other party without written consent.
Yep, there are no words, other than to say, I completely enjoyed creating this! I found the most perfect Amethyst Druzy and Moldavite crystal which work beautifully together. The double strand chain is made of black Obsidian round beads and handmade sterling silver links. My customer had a gorgeous vision in these stones and I'm honored to have been able to design wire around them. I hope you enjoy the images! She was generous enough to let me share them :)) I'm in love with this piece and think it turned out beautifully.
Click each image to enlarge.
All the wire is oxidized sterling silver, in various gauges. I also added round sterling silver balls into the pendant body. The chain is adjustable from 16 inches to 18 inches and has a detachable double strand.
The chain also comes completely detached from the pendant and can be worn separately or with another pendant. After oxidation, the wires were polished and a patina sealer was added to preserve this gorgeous antique finish.
Where have I been? Enjoying my doughnuts with coffee of course! ;)
I've been hard at work designing a new pendant tutorial for you. I've decided to use a 'donut' stone since they can be found easily and have so much potential for jewelry making! You can get it in my Etsy Jewelry Store... https://www.etsy.com/shop/PerfectlyTwisted
This is a Tiger's eye stone, 1 1/4 inches in diameter, drilled and I got them at my local Michael's craft store. You can also use an undrilled stone, either will work for this tutorial.
There are two files in this project. The first, primary file, walks you through creating a pendant harness around the stone as well as creating the bale. The 'end result' is what you see in the two images below. The image on the left is the 'front' of the pendant, the one on the right, the 'back' of the pendant. You will learn two different weaving patterns used to create this piece as well as a clever way of creating the bale neck which locks your wires around the stone. The backside will always be clean and as lovely as the front. All wire ends will terminate as a spiral design, so there won't be any 'unsightly' ends anywhere. This will be the base design for many fun and creative variations.
And the second Variations file, will show you exactly that! The file is designed to be 'progressive' and will walk you through adding decorative rounds beads, as well as additional decorative wires. Adding decorative elements will create a more intricate and complex design... yet all the steps are EASY and you'll see that with some imagination, the different styles become limitless.
The first part of the Variations file will show you how to attach decorative round copper beads. Certainly, you can also use stone beads, Swarovski crystals, glass beads and so on!
You can stop here or continue through the Variations file and add decorative wire. There are two different Styles and detailed instructions are included for each.
You can click each image to enlarge for a close up.