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?

Bracelet To Go With Onyx & Gold Earrings

Wednesday, July 16

Finished this bracelet yesterday. I LOVE it!! Hubby loves it!! He has asked that I keep this set, including the earrings.

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I used the same supplies as I used to make the earrings with two exceptions. I added bead caps to a couple of the Onyx beads. Just to change the look a bit and not have all of them the same. And I added a few daisy spacers when wirewrapping the flat oval Jasper beads. Again, to add variety.

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Bracelet measures 8″ and has a gold plated lobster claw clasp.

A perfect match to the earrings.

Dangling Earrings in Onyx and Gold; Hearts & Crystals

Tuesday, July 15

Wirewrapping IS getting easier. I don’t even dread it anymore. Though it takes longer to make, you can go off in many directions as you can see from the earrings I made last night.

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Dangles with two tiers of gemstones plus crystal charms using links of chain and jump rings. 

I rarely make earrings so I surprised myself in making them FIRST. When I do make earrings it is usually because I have beads leftover, just enough to make a pair. But this time, I had an idea for a dramatic pair and kept changing, rearranging the pieces until it matched the image in my head.

Now, I have to work on the bracelet. The base is finished. Next I will wirewrap the beads and then decide if I want a full look or sparsely filled look. I would like for the bracelet to match the fullness of the earrings if I have enough pieces.

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Supplies used in this project:

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  • Chain link coils, gold plated
  • Black Onyx beads, oval shape
  • Jasper beads, flat oval shape and smaller round ones
  • Topaz Crystal Dual Channel Connector, gold plated
  • Jet Crystal Hearts, gold plated
  • Jet Crystal Round Channels, gold plated
  • 3mm gold filled round beads
  • Jump rings, gold plated, 6mm, 18 ga and 4mm, 21 ga
  • Fish hooks, gold plated
  • Headpins, 3″, 21 ga, gold plated

New Tools.. Can I Use These For My Toothache?

Friday, July 11

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Not feeling so hot today, nor did I yesterday. Though shortly after experiencing some of the worst pain I have ever endured, I was walking straight enough to browse through the craft store aisles looking for new wireworking tools.

It all started two weeks ago at the dentist. What was supposed to be only a new filling turned out to be a hot nerve that needed to be taken out. Ok. I wasn’t happy but what can you do. You have to take care of your teeth if you want them to grow old with you. Made do with a temporary filling for 2 weeks to let the area cool off and heal. Then it was back to the dentist. Yesterday. The left side of my face was already still sore and my head hurt. And it just got worse as the minutes passed.

During the next hour, you would have thought I was having major surgery without any pain killers. It was that painful. My dentist, bless his heart, stopped several times during the procedure to allow me to catch my breath, giving me a relief break in between the drilling, filing and poking. I went through 4 or 5 hot towels. Boy did they feel good next to my jaw.

Afterwards, they asked me if I had any errands to run. They wanted me to go straight home and rest. I said no, I didn’t. Well, I guess I lied since I knew my next stop was the craft store come hell or high water. Fat lip, swollen face, aches and pains. All of that and it was off to do some shopping.

These are my new goodies. My new wireworking tools.

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I got a hammer with plastic ends to minimize the damage to the wire. A metal block for banging on. A ring thingy. Mandrel I think it is called. For making rings in different sizes. Also for making jump rings. And more 20 gauge wire. Oh.. and also in the photo is my other wireworking jig. The Thing-A-Ma-Jig. That is what it looks like.

So, today, sometime today, I am going to start pounding and hammering. I took two Advil an hour ago. I should be good to go soon. Sure wish I could have used these tools yesterday. To pound on my head.

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