Introduction: Wire Wrapped Tree of Life Tutorial
The symbolism of the tree of life is widespread throughout history, and is often depicted in religious, philosophical and mythological contexts. It also happens to be a popular jewelry accessory. There are many different versions of the tree of life pendant, and once you learn the basic steps you can easily add your own unique spin on it.
The finished examples shown use Baltic amber chips and peridot chips, respectively.
To make this tree of life pendant, you will need the following tools and supplies:
One 6.5" piece of 18g wire
Four ~6" pieces of 26g wire
3mm-5mm stone chips of your choice (2mm-3mm round beads also work well)
Round nose pliers
Chain nose pliers
Cup burr or file
Step 1: Making the Circle
Take your piece of 18g wire and wrap it tightly around your round object. For this tree of life pendant, I'm using a cardboard tube that some hemp cord was packaged on - it creates a pendant slightly larger than a quarter when finished. Wooden dowels, metal mandrels and other scavenged household objects will also work.
Step 2: Starting the Pendant Bale
To create the pendant bale, use your chain nose pliers to bend one of the wires up at a 90 degree angle. Try to make the bend as close to the middle of the circle as you can.
Step 3: Making the Loop
Rotate the pendant around so that the bend you just created is facing you. Using your round nose pliers, create a loop with the piece of wire that you just bent.
Step 4: Finishing the Loop
Slide your circle over your round object again - this will help retain the shape of the circle as you work on finishing the loop for the bale. Using your chain nose pliers, wrap the bottom wire around once, and the top wire that formed the loop around twice. Cut the excess wire off with your flush cutters so that both ends meet at the back of the bale. File down the cut ends or use a cup burr to round them off so that there aren't any sharp wire ends on your finished pendant. Using your chain nose pliers again, firmly bend the filed ends down so that they aren't sticking up anymore.
Step 5: Step 5: Starting the Tree Roots
Take a piece of 26g wire and bend it in the middle. Place the bend that you just made on the bottom of your circle, and wrap the 26g wire around the 18g frame 3-4 times. You should have tightly coiled wraps when you're finished. Repeat this for the remaining pieces of 26g wire.
Step 6: Finishing the Roots and Making the Tree Trunk
Group all of your 26g wires together at the bottom of the circle frame. Determine how large you want the root system to be, and start twisting all of the wires together. Keep twisting until the tree trunk is at the desired length - the shorter you make the trunk, the fuller your tree will end up being.
Step 7: Separate the Wires to Start the Branches
Separate the 26g wires in pairs to make the tree branches. When you're finished separating them, you should have four branches in total.
Step 8: Twist the Branches
Now that the branches have been separated, start twisting each wire pair together. I usually make 5-8 twists. Once you're finished with this, you will end up with eight branches.
Step 9: Add Leaves to Your Branches
Starting with the first branch, add stone chips or beads to the 26g wire. Once you've added the beads to the branch, take the 26g wire and wrap it tightly around the 18g frame 3-4 times; don't cut off the excess wire yet. Repeat for each branch until all of them have leaves.
Step 10: Cut Off the Excess Wires
Once you're sure each branch is positioned the way that you want it, cut off the excess 26g wire. Don't forget to use your chain nose pliers to push the cut ends down against the 18g frame so that they are poking up anymore.
Step 11: Add the Finishing Touch to the Tree Roots (Optional)
Once I'm finished with the branches, I like to go back and bend the roots to give them a more natural look - feel free to leave them neat and straight if you like how that looks. Add your tree of life pendant to a cord of your choice and it's ready to wear!