My First Wirewrapped Rings

Monday, July 21

My class went well yesterday. I surprised myself by being able to follow along and not fall behind the other students like I normally do. I tend to want to SEE how something turns out before I pick up my tools. And in this case… I wanted to be safe and not sorry and not make a mess of sterling silver. BUT I have been practicing with wire all month so as the instructor said to do something, I did it!!

The supply packets were already made up but I got to pick out the crystal color for the ring center. I chose Jet Black. The other ladies selected pink, topaz and olive. There were 4 of us. Only 4 students allowed per class which is good. It allows for more personalized instruction and encourages a relaxed, slower paced, conversational atmosphere.

The only requirement for taking this class was a beginner’s wire working class. I took that last year but didn’t sign up for any others since that class was a hand killer!! I must be regaining some of the strength in my hands since I had no major issues yesterday handling the tools.

I used a pen vice and a hemostat for the first time. Felt like I could have replaced Pam Anderson on Tool Time. I’m the new Mrs. Tool Time. Just need a leather holster for all my new goodies. Which BTW are starting to accumulate. Pretty soon I will need a tool box like hubby.

Here is the ring I made in class from Swarovski crystals and sterling silver. The Black One. (The others I made last night and this morning.)

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It has 2 silver bead caps, one 8mm round crystal and two 4mm bicone crystals. Used 22 gauge square soft and 20 gauge 1/2 round 1/2 hard sterling silver wire. 22 gauge to build the ring, the shank. 20 gauge to wrap the bottom of the ring.

I made several more rings in Indicolite (aqua) and Siam (dark red) and have another one in Olivine (lime) started. The red one, made with silver spacers, has a sterling silver base and then I wrapped the ends on both sides above the spacers. The olive one will be made the same. I just need to transfer from pretend wire to SS.

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Afraid no longer of Sterling Silver. Yippee!! Break out the champagne!!

Blue and Orange Necklace Made From Wire Caged Beads

Sunday, July 20

Time sure flies when the creative juices are flowing.

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The six wire caged beads I made on Thursday were calling out to me.

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I wanted to make something with them while they were fresh on my mind. When I finally finished and looked at the clock, I had been at it for over three hours. I never stopped to sip from my ever present lemon flavored ice water or to take a health break.

At first I made a bracelet but could only fit five of the cages within 7″ without making it too long. One cage was leftover. What to do? What to do with the one left? I have two ears so earrings were out of the question. Keychain? That was my next option. What about a pendant? One wire cage on a necklace was just too skimpy.

So… I took apart my nicely made bracelet and started over.

I made a necklace instead.

Using different sized glass beads in orange and blue, I spaced the caged beads about 2 1/2 inches apart. Seed beads and silver plated spacers were used as fillers. I finished off the top with silver chain links.

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I wanted more color so I made a 2-strand necklace of seed beads. One orange and one blue to pick up the colors of the larger glass beads. 

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Looking it over I thought something was still missing. How about more chain links? So I added a separate length of chain.

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Now I was satisfied. My necklace had layers. Three separate necklaces which could be worn all together or worn as one or two.

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Supplies used for this project:

  • 6 wire cages made from 20 gauge wire
  • blue and orange glass beads; different shapes and sizes
  • silver plated oval spacers
  • 8/0 seed beads in orange and blue
  • chain links, silver plated
  • lobster claw clasps, silver plated
  • 10mm jump rings, silver plated
  • heart charms, silver plated
  • 4mm sterling silver round beads
  • silver plated wire guards
  • silver plated crimps
  • Beadalon #18 stringing wire

Feeling The Urge To Work With Sterling Silver

Friday, July 18

Is it time yet? I think it is. Time to move up to sterling silver.

I have a few jewelry pieces made from sterling silver but they were made in class. I have been practicing with inexpensive wire all month so I think I have enough confidence to try it on my own with some REAL wire.

I have been studying designs in my wireworking books and think I know what I want to make. There’s a cool pair of earrings that looks plain and easy. That is usually my criteria when attempting something new. Plain and easy.

And speaking of class… Yep. You knew I couldn’t go a month without showing up somewhere like a sponge ready to absorb whatever I can from talented instructors. I have a class this coming Sunday to make a wire wrapped ring.

That should be interesting. My first class making a ring.

How To Make Wire Cages For Round Beads

Silly me!! Didn’t know I could make these cages myself.

I have been buying them!!

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Making these wire cages is quite easy. I found the directions in one of my wire making craft books.

Creating Wire and Beaded Jewelry by Linda Jones.

It is turning out to be my most used wireworking resource.

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My tutorial is based on the results from using 20 gauge wire. It is great practice wire and is forgiving in case you need to unbend, straighten and start over. It is also inexpensive. I got 8 yards for $2.50.


Instructions for making ONE Wire Cage to enclose a 12-14 mm round bead.

Step 1. Cut lengths of 14″ wire. One per wire cage.

Step 2. Making the Swirls. Start at the tip on one end and make a small bend with round nose pliers. (See photo at end of tutorial for tools used in this project.) Now switch to either chain nose pliers or flat nose pliers. Either one will be fine for this step.

Slowly start to form a circle by covering the tip loop with chain nose/flat nose pliers, bending the wire as you turn in as perfect a circle as you can. Make the swirl large enough to cover one side of the bead.

Now start on the other end of the wire. Repeat the same steps and make a swirl on the opposite end of the wire. Make sure the swirls look about even with the same number of revolutions. Leave about 2-2 1/2″ of wire between the swirls.

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Step 3. Making the Hook. Using round nose pliers, find the center of the wire with the swirls facing downward. Hold tight and push up one side and then the other. Refer to photo illustration.

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You are making the “hook” that will serve two purposes. It will cover the center open area of the bead, forming a connection to the side swirls. The hook also creates a loop for attaching the stringing material of your choice.

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Step 4. Enclosing the Bead. Fit one side swirl on top of the bead.

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Now fit the other swirl on the opposite side of the bead, like a sandwich. Holding both swirls in place, wrap the hook around the center of the bead.

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Press flat against the bead middle. Mold the wire, straightening as you work. Once you are satisfied with the cage and it covers your bead nicely, you are ready to bend up the tip of the hook to form a hanger.

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Step 5. That’s it!! You are done. Ready to add whatever you wish to hang your beaded wire cage from.


You can make cages smaller or larger by reducing or increasing the number of revolutions. Also experiment with different lengths of wire to see which best covers the bead size you are using.

Wire cages will look pretty on a pendant, bracelet or earrings. The book used jump rings to connect to the turned up hook. Even keychains would be fun to make. Load up with charms and beads. What better way to use up left over beads or beads with a few flaws. Won’t be able to see the flaw inside a wire cage!!

I am thinking you could make wire cages for other bead shapes too. Oblong and squares. By adjusting the design of the wire. Try experimenting to see what you can create. So far I have only made round cages but I plan to try making other shapes.

My beads I am making wire cages for are blue with orange stripes. I am going to work in seed beads in blue and orange somehow. Still working on that part.

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Tools used: Round nose pliers, Chain nose pliers, and plastic covered Flat nose pliers.

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Connecting Wire Squares, Making a Necklace

Thursday, July 17

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Ever try to make a PERFECT square out of wire?

Not possible, at least for me. My edges are rounded no matter how carefully I bend the wire. And try as I might, I could not get two squares to come out exactly the same. I kept making them until I ran out of wire. I have to admit, the last few were much better than the first ones. So practice does make perfect.

My early intentions were to make a bracelet. I got quite a chuckle when I connected four of them with jump rings and draped them around my wrist. OK. So… On to Plan B. Hubby said it before I did. “They would make a nice necklace.”

I selected the best of the bunch, only discarding one. The rest ended up around my dummy’s chest and shoulders.

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I added several links of chains and used lobster claw clasps on both sides to connect them. I love working with chain links. I bought a lot of it months ago but am just now starting to incorporate it into my designs.

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To make these squares, I used 12 gauge brown wire and followed a design found in one of my wire making craft books. I kind of improvised, making my squares slightly larger than the book.

Before making the larger squares, I first practiced with thinner 20 gauge wire.

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The first one is laughable. But instead of tossing it, I kept it as a reminder that the “next” one should be better than the last. As you can see from my line up that is so true. Not sure what I will do with these squares made from 20 gauge. They are too thin to hold up in a permanent design. Great for practicing though.

So… what do you think?

Wirewrapped Necklace in Green and Copper

Sunday, July 6

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Well, that wasn’t so bad after all. Though my hands DO ache, I guess it was worth it to learn how to work with wire.

My wirewrapping has greatly improved. I know it is probably just my imagination but I get a strange feeling when I start to wrap a loop. It seems the wire gets softer just as I am pulling the first wrap downwards. Then with the next pull, around and toward me, it gets hard again. The first time this happened, I thought it was all in my mind. But it happened again and again. Feels soft one minute and hard the next.

It took 3 days working on this necklace, on and off. I went slow since I wasn’t sure if the wire would do what I wanted. A couple times I had to scrap a section and start over. I did waste some wire but since I am still working with practice wire it was ok.

Necklace was created with wirework and wirewrapping. I used one of my books for inspiration and also used The Coiling Gizmo to create the coiled sections. The sections are connected with jump rings. It measures 28 1/2″.

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I used the following supplies to make this necklace:

  • 20 gauge copper colored wire
  • green glass beads in different shapes and sizes
  • 6/0 bronze seed beads
  • antique copper bead caps, clasp and jump rings
  • 4mm copper colored beads

Wirewrapping With Copper and Beads

Saturday, July 5

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I am happy to report that after only two days, my wirewrapping skills have improved. The wire gauge certainly makes a difference.

I am still working with practice wire. I want to get much better before I work with sterling silver. Or even gold filled wire, when I can afford it.

Late last night I was up, couldn’t sleep for all the boom, boom, hiss, hiss sounds from fireworks going off all over my neighborhood. I think I even heard a few gun pops mixed in. So I took my mind off all that racket by making some copper wire coils with my Coiling Gizmo and practiced wirewrapping.

This is what I made using 20 gauge copper colored wire from Darice. (The coils at the top right were made from 26 gauge wire.)

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The swirly design was in one of my books. Looks sort of like a musical symbol. It didn’t turn out exactly like the picture in the book. My wire gauge is thinner but it came out well enough that I didn’t undo it and start over.

I plan to add a few more sections to this and make a necklace.