How To Make Wire Cages For Round Beads

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

I have been buying them!!

Image Hosting by PictureTrail.com

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.

Image Hosting by PictureTrail.com

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.

Image Hosting by PictureTrail.com

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.

Image Hosting by PictureTrail.com Image Hosting by PictureTrail.com

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.

Image Hosting by PictureTrail.com

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

Image Hosting by PictureTrail.com

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.

Image Hosting by PictureTrail.com

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.

Image Hosting by PictureTrail.com Image Hosting by PictureTrail.com Image Hosting by PictureTrail.com

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.

Image Hosting by PictureTrail.com


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

Image Hosting by PictureTrail.com

Things I Have Learned So Far This Year

 years-dozen-2.gif

January 2008

1.  Peyote Flat Even Count.  I took two peyote beading classes. Made a bracelet in each class. This was my first experience in “sewing” jewelry. In preparation for class I searched the net for peyote tutorials. I found several for the clueless, my level. The most helpful site was Michael’s Crafts. Their tutorial was animated and easy to follow. I picked up the stitch sequence right away and practiced before heading off to class. However, there was one glaring difference in the tutorial and the actual lesson. The tutorial illustrated a knotted thread which would make it impossible to unthread the needle to go back to the last correctly sewn bead to fix mistakes. I took apart the first bracelet to use the beads for another project. Here is the bracelet from the second class.

Image Hosting by PictureTrail.com

February 2008

2.  Chain Maille. I signed up for a class to learn the technique of making jewelry from jump rings. Class was called Byzantine with Crystals. I made a very pretty bracelet out of sterling silver jump rings accented with Swarovski crystals. The process was fun and easy. I had never worked with a jump ring tool. It is metal and fits on the finger of your choice. It has several grooves for inserting the jump ring to open and close it. Step 1 in class was to open 100 jump rings. I found the tool hard to use and cumbersome. It did not fit properly on any of my fingers. My fingers were quite sore for several days after. BUT the tool works great for the function it was made for, once you get the hang of it. I will never again use two flat nose pliers to open jump rings.

Image Hosting by PictureTrail.com

3.  Rivoli Bracelet. I took a class to make a bracelet made from Swarovski crystals called, you guessed it, Rivoli. This was another “sewing” class, not peyote but still done with needle and thread. The process of sewing around the rivoli, which does not have any holes for stringing, is called netting.  Netting is also one of the techniques for beading around a cabochon. Tiny seed beads are used to make the netting. Wanting it to be perfect, I worked very slowly. I only finished one half of the bracelet in class.  I need to finish it. It is really pretty.

Image Hosting by PictureTrail.com

4.  Peyote Triangle Pendant. Though I have had two classes in peyote stitching, this design was new to me, so I signed up for the class. (Yep, I love taking beading classes!! I am retired.) The process to create the triangle called for “towers” and “overlays” and a brick stitch. All new to me. Here again, very tiny seed beads were used and the process was very slow. I was able to finish most of the pendant and will return to class this week to finish.  Seed beads are silver, black and purple with purple Swarovski crystals.  I am pleased with how it looks thus far. I will post a new photo when finished.

Image Hosting by PictureTrail.com

5. Two Drop Peyote. I created a bracelet using a tutorial provided by one of my long time Internet chat buddies, Quilty Kiwi from New Zealand. She excels in beading and as you may have guessed from her on-line name, she is also an expert quilter. Before attempting this bracelet, I had only done regular peyote, flat even and odd count.  I had never heard of two drop peyote until seeing a bracelet made by Quilty. Following her tutorial, which was clear and easy to follow, my bracelet turned out beautifully. It is light peach and cocoa opal. Thank goodness for excellent instructions and diagrams.  Thank you, Quilty!! (Note: Original design found in Beadwork Creates Bracelets, “Lucy’s Purple” by Lucy Elle)

peach-n-cocoa-bracelet-pic2.jpg     peach-n-cocoa-bracelet-pic3.jpg    peach-n-cocoa-bracelet-pic4.jpg