Enelle Lamb is a Community Support Social Service Worker, published author, jewellery designer and single mother extraordinaire.
Create Your Own Wire-Wrapped Jewellery
I have been creating wire-wrapped jewellery for approximately five years now, (showcasing it on a small website), and the most common remark I receive, aside from being told how stunning they are, is how difficult they must be to make.
Of course, I don't correct their assumptions, I would rather them think that I am a 'jewellery guru' and purchase my wares, than have them trundle off and create their own! However, for the sake of this article, I will, just this once, come clean and explain how to twist your own pendant.
I must admit, seeing my creations like this does make me realise just how beautiful they really are, but when you are the one actually making the piece, you are mostly concerned with making sure you don't mess it up—especially when you are using sterling silver or 14k r.gold. A mistake can prove rather costly, so you do need to keep your concentration.
Stunning One-of-a-Kind Creations
While a pendant in sterling silver or 14k r.gold does look amazing, it might be a good idea to start with a copper or coloured wire first until you get a bit more comfortable with twisting. The wire comes in various sizes, called gauges, and also different strengths. I personally prefer 18 gauge, dead soft for my work. The 18 gauge gives the pendant a more solid look and feel to it, and the dead soft strength makes it easier to twist the wire—and my fingers appreciate that.
If you use half hard strength, the wire is still very pliable, however, for the smaller details, it is necessary to use pliers to make any of the loops and swirls; dead soft can be twisted with bare fingers. Being that I am (what I call) inherently lazy—something my sister disagrees with—I prefer not to have to use pliers unless necessary.
To be honest, it really isn't laziness that makes me prefer the softer wire, but the fact that I can create my designs quicker and with more control and ease than if forced to use pliers all the time.
The pendants in the photograph above give you a clear picture of what I mean by semi-precious gemstones. These stones are not faceted, but are a tumbled, rough-cut bead that can be purchase from many rock and gem stores by the string.
A very easy and eyecatching pendant can be created very simply with a bit of ingenuity and an eye for detail.
Tools of the Trade
As with any hobby or craft, you need to have the proper tools to do a good job. For wire wrapping, you should have at least three pairs of pliers: one flat nose, one regular serrated grip, and one smooth, round nose. You also need a good pair of wire cutters. I use two pair, one heavy-duty for cutting memory wire, and one for my gold and silver wire.
You need to be very careful when using pliers with sterling silver and 14k gold wire because they could inadvertently crimp the metal, and leave a nick or mark in the finished product. Not only does that not look professional, it weakens the metal which could cause it to break easily.
The spirit stone in the picture above is a good example of standard wrapping. After you make the bail (the loop that holds the pendant on the chain) you simply wrap the wire around the stone, and using your pliers, make twists in the wire to tighten it around the stone, to insure it won't slip out.
If you look closely, you can see the wire through the stone—as you can see, you twist the wire on the back of the piece as well. This makes it impossible for the stone to come loose, unless of course, you drop and break it.
Wire Pattern for Caged Tumbled Gemstone Pendant
Here is a complete set of instructions for a beautiful caged pendant.
- 30 inches of 14kt. r.gold 21 gauge square half hard wire or brass practice wire
- 1 small tumbled stone approx. 1 inch long
- Flat nose pliers
- Chain nose pliers
- Round nose pliers
- Wire cutter or flush cutter
- Sharpie metal marking pen
Cut four 6 inch lengths of 21 gauge Gold-filled square half hard wire.
Cut one wrap wire 2 inches long and cut another wrap wire 4 inches long, both from 21 gauge Gold-filled square half hard wire.
Make a flat bundle with the four 6 inch wires and mark the center of the bundle with a Sharpie pen.
With the 2 inch wrap wire, make three wraps at the center of the bundle and trim excess wire with the cut edges on the inside of the cage.
Working out from the center of the bundle, mark the bundle at 1/4 inch on each side. Then 1/2 inch and then at 1-1/2 inches. At this point you should have your wraps in the center with three lines on each side of the center. NOTE: Mark the inside of the bundle which is the side with the cut ends of the wrap wire.
Using your flat nose pliers, make a 45 degree bend at the pen mark closest to the center.
Repeat the bend on the other side of the bundle.
Next use your flat nose pliers to make a second 45 degree bend at the second pen mark from the center.
With your flat nose pliers, grasp one side of the bundle at the pen mark and bend the wire 45 degrees outward. At the pen mark on the other side of the bundle bend the wires 45 degrees outward. Your bundle should look like this.
With the 4 inch wrap wire, start wrapping the two section of wire together at the uppermost pen mark, wrapping upwards. Make about three complete wraps. NOTE: Do not clip off the wrap wire.
Next, using your hands, bend the two rear wires of each side of the bundle backwards. These will be your bail wires.
Bend the remaining three wires down on each side, covering the wraps. Clip the wires even with the bottom of the wrap wire.
With your chain nose pliers, press the cut ends of the wire against the wrap wires.
Place your round nose pliers about 3/4 inch up from the top of the wrap wires and bend the two bail wires back and around.
Clip the bail wires even with the uppermost wrap wire and continue wrapping the bail wires to the pendant using the same wrap wire. Make about 5 more complete wraps and clip the excess wire on the backside of the pendant.
With a knife, carefully separate the pendant wires starting with the outermost wires on the backside of the pendant cage. Then separate the next set of wires on the pendant cage.
Using your knife, carefully separate the pendant wires on the front side of the pendant leaving a space between the wires in the front of the pendant in order to slip the stone into the cage.
Slip the tumble stone into the cage and bend the remaining two wires to close the stone into the cage.
Best of Luck!
Once you have finished creating your pendant, you are on your way to creating beautiful, one-of-a-kind jewellery anyone will be proud to wear.
Enelle Lamb (author) from Canada's 'California' on October 06, 2014:
rule of thumb is approximately 6 - 8 inches per cage. if the stone is larger, increase the length of wire :)
Enelle Lamb (author) from Canada's 'California' on July 27, 2014:
You can use a simple ruler to measure the wire with. Just make sure to straighten a portion of the wire first as it is difficult to measure while it is still curved. (Most wire is bought/sold in a coil.) Use a soft cloth and run the wire (using your fingers,) through the cloth to straighten it. The cloth works in two ways; 1. to protect your fingers from getting sore - working with wire will give you calluses, but your fingers get very tender before that happens :) and 2. any residue left on the wire will come off on the cloth, instead of your fingers - this is especially noticeable with sterling silver wire, but is also present with gold/gold-filled & 14K. gold wire as well.
When you measure the wire, make sure that you include some "extra" so you can make the bail, as some stones are larger and will need some extra room. If you measure too short, the stone won't fit properly or the bail will be too small.
Lynn Kaltenbach from Oshkosh, Wisconsin on July 23, 2014:
What is the best way to measure and make sure the cage fits the stone?
Enelle Lamb (author) from Canada's 'California' on October 14, 2013:
It's great to explore different ways to wrap and twist wire - there are so many beautiful pendants to choose from and figuring out how they are done really makes your brain work!
Melissa Flagg COA OSC from Rural Central Florida on August 14, 2013:
Awesome hub. I have a piece of topaz and a bloodstone that I have been wanting to turn into a pendant but I wasn't quite sure how to go about doing it. I had to bookmark this hub so I can order all the stuff!! Voted up and shared!!
Enelle Lamb (author) from Canada's 'California' on December 24, 2012:
Actually, I am not gone from HubPages, however, I rarely have much time available to write lately. I did know about the previous comment, but I appreciate your concern :)
As for wrapping in the shape of a pentagram, you will most likely need a fair amount of wire to ensure the stone is secure. As to the actual pattern, if the stone is smooth it would need to be encased in a cage because the wire won't be able to hold it securely. If the stone is rough, the wire should be able to secure it snugly, and then you can work the pentagram shape. If you were looking for a pentagram cage, that would take a bit longer to figure out so that the stone would be secured in the cage with both ends of the wire making the bail. It would take a bit of working as I have never made that shape, but it shouldn't be too difficult to figure out. I would have to see the stone and a drawing of what you actually wanted to achieve in order to work out a pattern. Hope this helps somewhat.
Laura Brown from Barrie, Ontario, Canada on December 24, 2012:
I found your post when I was looking on Google for how to wire wrap a stone in the shape of a pentagram. I was going to ask you if you knew how to do it. But, looks like you are long gone from HubPages. If not, you badly need to moderate for comment spam.
dotty1 from In my world on June 11, 2012:
Thank you for your optimism Enelle hehe :)
Enelle Lamb (author) from Canada's 'California' on June 11, 2012:
Thank you dotty1 :) I'm sure yours will be just a beautiful :)
dotty1 from In my world on June 10, 2012:
Lovely jewellery you are making :) I am going to attempt this.... http://stores.ebay.co.uk/Dot-Bs-Accessories
Enelle Lamb (author) from Canada's 'California' on May 06, 2012:
Good idea cablemanagements :) best of luck to her!
Enelle Lamb (author) from Canada's 'California' on May 06, 2012:
Sounds like she had talent :)
Enelle Lamb (author) from Canada's 'California' on May 04, 2012:
Thanks cablemanagements - I don't think this kind of wire would be very good for that though! lol
Enelle Lamb (author) from Canada's 'California' on March 22, 2012:
Thank you Reves-diary for the wonderful comment!
Reve from Dhaka on March 22, 2012:
Enelle Lamb thanks for your great hub. This will inspire many people as they are getting a good idea of starting a bussines :)
Enelle Lamb (author) from Canada's 'California' on February 03, 2012:
Once you get started it can be quite addicting :D Some days I lose track of time because I'm so focused on creating!
how-to-make from India on January 31, 2012:
What a great piece of an ultimate artistic work. I loved this hub and the tips to create my own pendent.
Enelle Lamb (author) from Canada's 'California' on October 19, 2011:
Thank you misterrumbe! I enjoy the creative part :D it really is fun to make new pendants!
misterumbe from Calapan City, Philippines on October 18, 2011:
a super clear step by step guide..plus beautiful creativity..tks4shearing yr art
Enelle Lamb (author) from Canada's 'California' on October 17, 2011:
Thanks Dr Rockpile! I appreciate the compliment :)
Dr Rockpile from USA on October 16, 2011:
Really nice jewelry, and great step by step instructions. :)
Enelle Lamb (author) from Canada's 'California' on October 08, 2011:
It is a lot of fun creating! Thanks so much for the compliment and stopping by to read :D Pleasure to meet you!
Cathleena Beams from Tennessee on October 08, 2011:
Fantastic hub! I also enjoy making my own jewelry creations. It's something fun my sister showed me and I decided to try myself and quickly it became one of my many hobbies.
Freegoldman from Newyork on July 09, 2011:
Good hub.Very informative.Thanks.
Enelle Lamb (author) from Canada's 'California' on July 08, 2011:
My pleasure :) glad you enjoyed the hub!
angelika47 from Fountain Colorado on July 05, 2011:
This is great!!!! Easy to follow directions. Thanks for shareing...
Enelle Lamb (author) from Canada's 'California' on April 05, 2011:
Awesome katherineJJ - I would love to see the results!
katherineJJ on April 05, 2011:
Very comprehensive and clear - without these sort of tutorials it would be hard to get encouraged - I'm now encouraged to have a go!!
Enelle Lamb (author) from Canada's 'California' on March 20, 2011:
Hi Blakrose Accessories - this is not a tutorial featuring me - that one is on another hub! Glad you like my work (which is featured above the tutorial)
Blakrose Accessories on March 20, 2011:
i love ur work?? umm this may sound rude but is this your tutorial or sumone elses its just i noticed its a mans hand in the pics?? but thanx for posting anyway huni
Emma from Houston TX on March 19, 2011:
Creative and very informative piece of work which fascinated and motivated me about been self employed if i can learn this tips very well.thanks for sharing.
Enelle Lamb (author) from Canada's 'California' on February 23, 2011:
You will have to show me how they turn out :D
susannah42 from Florida on February 22, 2011:
Some beautiful ideas. I will try them.
Enelle Lamb (author) from Canada's 'California' on February 21, 2011:
Thanks ryan :)
ryan on February 21, 2011:
great hub i like this
Enelle Lamb (author) from Canada's 'California' on February 01, 2011:
So glad you enjoyed it phubbers :) thanks for stopping by!
phubbers from Philippines on January 30, 2011:
Wow..Great hub, I like what i saw here. Thanks..
Ankush Kohli from India on January 27, 2011:
Thanks Enelle. I'll definitely post the expressions here :)
Enelle Lamb (author) from Canada's 'California' on January 27, 2011:
I'm sure she will love what you make for her :)
Ankush Kohli from India on January 27, 2011:
I am very happy to see this kind of hub. I am always want to make jewellery for my wife. I learn a lot from this hub. Truly speaking, funny enough :)
Enelle Lamb (author) from Canada's 'California' on January 14, 2011:
Thanks destination wedding phot0graphers (can I call you dw for short?)Glad you liked the article :D
destination wedding photographers on January 14, 2011:
I completely agree with you. Very nice and informative article!
Enelle Lamb (author) from Canada's 'California' on November 30, 2010:
Doll Heart Candy - Awesome! I will have to check out your goodies :D
Doll Heart Candy from Belfast on November 28, 2010:
Great hub Enelle. I run my own online jewellery store - Doll Heart Candy- and just love looking at ideas for designs. I am currently looking at designs for wire wrapped rings. The pendants are beautiful. Thanks for sharing.
Maggie Griess from Ontario, Canada on November 27, 2010:
Well, Enelle, If my project looks half decent, I would love to share the result! I plan to set some time aside in the winter months (don't we all!)
I have charcoal-blue freshwater pearls of odd shapes (the largest of the beads). Also tiny cloisonne beads (blue,brown and green with gold highlights , some very pale green (almost grey)shells cut into facets so they look like stones(very opalescent)
I bought some gold beading wire from Walmart...(.3mm) I doubt it is "gold" from the price.
I like the idea of clustering and adding the other smaller beads around the larger irregular ones like you have shown. I have no idea if these will look good like that, I may have to go and get more beads, once I start!...lol
Enelle Lamb (author) from Canada's 'California' on November 27, 2010:
I'm sure your creation will turn out beautifully Scribenet! Just don't rush the project - take your time when you twist the wire, and you will be surprised at how it just flows! Would love to see the finished work :D
Maggie Griess from Ontario, Canada on November 27, 2010:
I always wanted to try this and I have bought beads and cord and clasps ans needles several weeks ago because the beads were just so lovely. You have given me an idea how I would like the necklace to look...I have no idea how successful I will be, but I bought cheap wire...so if it doesn't turn out I can always re do my project!
This Hub is inspiring...all the books I looked at had boring design...this is what I love! It will only be this one necklace, but sort of fun to make....hopefully!
Enelle Lamb (author) from Canada's 'California' on November 23, 2010:
You are most welcome jessica_alias! You will have to show and tell!!
jessica_alias on November 23, 2010:
Thank you for the step by step tutorial. It will really help in my projects. Thanks once again.
Enelle Lamb (author) from Canada's 'California' on November 22, 2010:
I don't think that sounds weird at all...:D Thank you so much for the lovely compliment :D
MalAdjusted on November 21, 2010:
Beautiful work, I own a piece like this, they just look so delicate and remind me of elves, which sound weird but they do.
Enelle Lamb (author) from Canada's 'California' on November 04, 2010:
Thanks Gma, I use most of these steps every day when I make my new pieces for the Christmas craft fairs.
Kelly Kline Burnett from Madison, Wisconsin on November 04, 2010:
The ultimate in how to - great step by step photos and instructions.
Enelle Lamb (author) from Canada's 'California' on October 28, 2010:
Thanks so much :) glad you stopped by!
kellis john on October 28, 2010:
Fantastic & so attractive great work.
Enelle Lamb (author) from Canada's 'California' on October 23, 2010:
Thanks REALfoodie :D
I appreciate the compliment :D
C De Melo on October 23, 2010:
Beautiful jewelry!!! You are very talented. Nice presentation on this hub. Brava!
Enelle Lamb (author) from Canada's 'California' on October 21, 2010:
Thanks Jamie, I'm happy you enjoyed the hub. I do have a couple of others with different instructions for different pieces you can check out as well...,
Jamie Brock from Texas on October 21, 2010:
AWESOME instructions.. learned alot of things I had been wondering about as far as good tools and how to do this stuff. Your pendants are beautiful. Def bookmarking this one. Thanks SO much for sharing!
Enelle Lamb (author) from Canada's 'California' on October 18, 2010:
Hi steampunksteve - so far I don't, but I will be working on one in the near future - seems there are a few people who would like that!
Fresh Purple Jewellery - So glad you enjoyed my work :) Thanks for the compliment!
Fresh Purple Jewellery on October 18, 2010:
Fantastic tutorial and great work! :)
steampunksteve from Santa Margarita California on October 18, 2010:
do you sell video tutorials Enelle im interested , not even sure if im aloud to ask this question.
Enelle Lamb (author) from Canada's 'California' on October 01, 2010:
Thanks Gold jewelry, I won't keep you waiting - I hadn't planned on adding any new photos, but if you are interested I do have a website that has pictures of some of my work...
Gold jewelry on September 30, 2010:
I like these new design i m waiting from a long time that the author update this hub with some new photos, i like these all
RunAbstract from USA on September 11, 2010:
If you decide to do them, please let me know!
Enelle Lamb (author) from Canada's 'California' on September 09, 2010:
RTalloni, thank you so much for such a lovely compliment :)
You know, I never contemplated intructional videos before - what a neat idea! Thanks RunAbstract, I will have to think about this...LOL
RunAbstract from USA on September 08, 2010:
This is fantastic! Your creations are WONDERFUL! BEAUTIFUL! I love the natural stones. I love the step by step photos. Do you have instructional videos? If so, I would love to buy them!
RTalloni on September 06, 2010:
Yum jewelry--just delicious! Your work is beautiful!
Enelle Lamb (author) from Canada's 'California' on August 17, 2010:
LOL - I seem to be cutting my throat with this hub - everyone is getting creative now :D
I'm so happy you liked mine, it really is a pleasure to create them.
(I take orders.... :P )
KristenBrockmeyer from Augusta, MI on August 12, 2010:
What beautiful jewelry - thank you for the tutorial! :)
Enelle Lamb (author) from Canada's 'California' on August 06, 2010:
aliaven - thanks so much for telling me about jewelery.com - it sounds great.
Thanks so much Pinkchic18 :) I'm pleased you like my designs!
I'm tickled you enjoyed the hub PassinItAlong! I'm looking forward to seeing some of your creations :D
PassinItAlong on August 04, 2010:
Beautifully written hub, i have always liked this style of jewelery so i like the insrtuction given here
Sarah Carlsley from Minnesota on August 03, 2010:
Very beautiful jewelry! It's certainly one-of-a-kind and gorgeous. Great post!
Enelle Lamb (author) from Canada's 'California' on June 14, 2010:
So pleased you enjoyed my work Whidbeywriter! I'm looking forward to seeing your results :D
Mary Gaines from Oak Harbor on Whidbey Island, Washington on June 13, 2010:
This was so interesting - you do awesome work and thanks for the tips I've been wanting to try this myself.
Enelle Lamb (author) from Canada's 'California' on June 11, 2010:
I have had a few tangled messes as well, and if I don't pay attention, I still get them! It is more a matter of practice and concentration than talent - however, talent and artistic ability come in handy from time to time!
on June 11, 2010:
Great page love the tutorial on wire warping you make it look so easy as does my wife with her jewellery making.
It must be something that only artistic people can do because my attempts always end up looking more like a tangled mess.
Enelle Lamb (author) from Canada's 'California' on May 12, 2010:
Hi creativelycc! I'm happy to help, and thanks for the fan mail :D
Enelle Lamb (author) from Canada's 'California' on May 12, 2010:
Hi Trohnjem - happy to surprise you :D Glad you enjoyed my work!
Trohnjem from Oregon on May 11, 2010:
I really enjoyed this, I was afraid it was going to look bad but you did a really nice job! Great hub!
Carrie L Cronkite from Maine on May 09, 2010:
I'm so happy I found this hub, I've been wanting to learn how to make jewelry for the longest time, now I can start. Thank you! Great hub! Thumbs up!
Enelle Lamb (author) from Canada's 'California' on May 06, 2010:
Thank you very much Georgina! That was so nice of you to do that! I'm pleased you enjoyed my jewellery, I enjoy making it!
Georgina Crawford from Dartmoor on May 06, 2010:
Just stumbled across your hub. Fantastic writing, really inspiring, and beautiful designs. Thank you. rated and tweeted
Enelle Lamb (author) from Canada's 'California' on May 02, 2010:
Welcome kaja_mel, glad you enjoyed it
kaja_mel from Saraland, AL on May 02, 2010:
Nice hub, very detailed. Thanks.
Enelle Lamb (author) from Canada's 'California' on April 27, 2010:
Thank you electricsky they are fun to make :)
electricsky from North Georgia on April 27, 2010:
Enelle Lamb (author) from Canada's 'California' on April 20, 2010:
Thanks so much kasparaskari, it was fun making them too! So pleased you stopped by :D
kasparaskari on April 20, 2010:
wow! these are stunning!
very informative hub, thanks a bunch for sharing!
Enelle Lamb (author) from Canada's 'California' on April 08, 2010:
Thanks so much FashionFame! I will be sure to stop by and check out your hubs :D You have the right of it for sure, these pendants look amazing with the right outfit! Glad you enjoyed the post, and am looking forward to reading some of your work:D
FashionFame from California on April 08, 2010:
Thanks for such a fantastic hub. I love the hubs that give ideas on 'DIY'. I will definitely try it. Best thing about these pendants are that they look very stylish and classy. Best to wear with any dress. Congrats on great work. Looking forward to read more of your writings. I am joining your fan club and would like to invite you to join mine to stay connected. Have a Good Day.
Enelle Lamb (author) from Canada's 'California' on April 02, 2010:
Thanks couponalbum, I would love to see a picture of your pendant! I bet it's every bit as beautiful as mine :D
couponalbum from Sunnyvale, CA on April 02, 2010:
What a great work!! I must say Enelle, you have done a great job. I found the way to make those bold and gorgeous pendants from my own hands. I have joined your fanclub and would like to invite you to join mine!!
Enelle Lamb (author) from Canada's 'California' on February 08, 2010:
Craftsmith, thanks for the comment!
Craftsmith from India on February 08, 2010:
veryyy nice craft :)
Enelle Lamb (author) from Canada's 'California' on January 26, 2010:
tim-tim, thank you for the compliment! If you aren't sure about creating your own pieces, there are many artist out there who would love to have you choose one of theirs ;)
So pleased you enjoyed the hub!
Priscilla Chan from Normal, Illinois on January 26, 2010:
Not sure if I want to make my own Jewelry but love the beauty of the handmade Jewelry! Thanks for sharing:)
Enelle Lamb (author) from Canada's 'California' on January 25, 2010:
Hi lovelypaper - thank you - glad you like!
Renee S from Virginia on January 25, 2010:
These are beautiful! Nice Hub.
Enelle Lamb (author) from Canada's 'California' on January 21, 2010:
MagicStarER - thank you for the wonderful compliment! I must admit, it took me a couple of times to figure it out too LOL...just make sure you use the tape until you get used to working with wire ;)