More Bead Soup… Designs To Follow

Right now, my brain is taking a break. You’ll have to wait until my timeout is over to see what it comes up with.

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And this…..

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More like a buffet!! Picking and choosing. Can’t have it all. Some of this will be a necklace.

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

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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