Weaving wire patterns is a basic part of making wire jewelry. The techniques can also be used in any other project you want to do something artistic with wire. This tutorial should be helpful with any decorative wire weaving from a wire pendant to a woven wire lampshade.
Step 1: What You Need
This is what I recommend to get started:
1 piece of 18 gauge, dead soft, round wire (about 10.5")
24 gauge, dead soft, round wire (approx. 8-10 feet)
Flat nose or chain nose pliers
Wire: You can use any kind of nontoxic metal wire, though I prefer to by jewelry grade wire online. Wire Sculpture and Rio Grande are excellent sources. If you're just beginning, I recommend copper or bronze. They're inexpensive and look great with polish or patina.
Step 2: Prepare the Base Wire
Bend the 18g wire in half with your fingers so that the two wire halves are parallel and about 1cm apart.
Then cut 2-3 feet of the 24g wire and begin weaving close to the curve of the base wire frame, as described in the following steps.
Note: How much weaving wire you cut is determined by personal preference. Shorter lengths are easier to work with. Longer lengths require fewer pieces, which means fewer wire ends.
Step 3: Begin Weaving
Simply put, wire weaving is just looping thin wire around a heavy wire frame in a pattern.
What changes is how many times you loop the thin weaving wire around one base wire before looping it onto another base wire. The weaving wire can be brought over or under the base wires in any pattern you like. Every pattern has a different look and many are used to weave particular shapes. For this project the idea is just to learn to weave in a straight line.
We will use a very simple, clean pattern. If you haven’t done any wire weaving before, the straight pair of wires will make for easy practice. Essentially, you will loop the 24g wire back and forth around the 18g frame.
In the photos in this instructable, the purple cord represents the 24g weaving wire and the dowels represent the 18g base wire.
Step 4: Beginning With Copper Wire
Step 5: The Weave Pattern
Leaving a 1.5 inch tail (to hold on to) wrap the weaving wire around one base wire twice.
Hold the base wires so that the weaving wire ends on the top, facing you.
Keep the base wires apart and parallel with your fingers. Now bring the weaving wire under the opposite base wire.
Then wrap the weaving wire around the second base wire twice. This will also end on top.
Continue keeping the base wires apart and parallel with your fingers. Bring the weaving wire under the opposite (first) base wire and wrap it twice.
Step 7: Keep Weaving
Go back to the beginning of the pattern and keep weaving until you have woven the length you want.
If you run out of weaving wire, trim the wire end and start a new length of 24g wire where you left off. Use pliers to smooth down the ends.
Step 8: And Weaving
Occasionally push the wires together with your fingers or pliers to keep the pattern close and tight.
Step 9: Here It Is, All Together.
Step 10: A Nice Weave
Depending on the length of your project you can make some jewelry. 7-8" straight pieces are perfect for bracelets. Short lengths with the ends curled make be really nice earring dangles.
Step 11: Weave On
Once you have this basic weave down, it's easy to make variations.
You can change the shape or curves of the base wire. You can wrap the weaving wire more or fewer times around the base wire. You don't need to do this equally on both sides. Experiment! Or follow some tutorials. I have an intermediate weaving project here:
(It looks hard, but once you can weave, it won't be.)
Most of all, Have Fun!