Update: June, 2016

Since I wrote this tutorial, I've taught three more years of classes and answered a lot of questions online. I've collected some of this additional info in an expanded tutorial that I sell on my website. If you're interested you can check it out here:

Basic Wire Wrapped Pendant by Rhonda Chase

Otherwise, my instructable remains free and useful, so please enjoy it!

About five years ago I was making ceramic pendants and looking for special custom settings when I found wire wrapping. Wire wrapped settings require few materials and tools and use no heat or glue. They are so versatile that once you have the basics down you can create a beautiful setting for anything from a cabochon to a seashell.

Step 1: What You Need:

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. To get started buy at least 5-10 feet of 21 or 22 gauge dead soft SQUARE wire and 5 feet of 22 gauge dead soft HALF ROUND wire.

That's it, assuming you have something to wrap. Wrapping a round or oval cabochon in the 30 - 40 mm range will be easiest.

(Shown above: copper wire on a goldstone cabochon.)

Tools are very important. I used cheap jewelry pliers (~$10) for a while, but once I was sure I would stay with wire wrapping, I got good ones (~$50). It made a huge difference, especially in how tired my hands would get. If you do this, hang on to your cheap tools - there's always a use pliers you won't worry about. The basic tools you will need to get started are:

Flat nose pliers
Round nose pliers
Wire cutters
Small round mandrel, bail pliers or pen

Later you can add chain nose pliers, jewelry files, bail making pliers and more. I treat myself to a new high-quality tool every so often.
<p>Lachlan asked me some good questions about getting started and I think the answers will be useful for many wire wrapping beginners : ) Here goes:</p><p>My favorite places to buy wire are <strong><a href="http://www.jewelrytools.com" rel="nofollow">http://www.jewelrytools.com </a> </strong>and<strong> <a href="http://www.riogrande.com" rel="nofollow">http://www.riogrande.com</a></strong>. At Jewelry Tools you can buy small quantities for reasonable prices. At Rio you'll find more in stock, but you have to have a resale license. Both have good customer service. I buy cabochons all over, but if you're just starting out, try <strong><a href="http://www.firemountaingems.com" rel="nofollow">http://www.firemountaingems.com</a></strong>. They have a huge selection of beads, cabs and findings. (They're not as good for wire, although they do carry it.) Wire Jewelry also has a great blog (I'm one of the contributors : ). This is a terrific resource because they answer so many questions and have a library of free patterns and other resources. Find it at <strong><a href="https://www.wirejewelry.com/jewelry-making-blog/" rel="nofollow">https://www.wirejewelry.com/jewelry-making-blog/</a></strong>. </p><p>As far as good projects to start with, start simple. Getting used to the way the wire moves and working with your pliers is key. Once you're comfortable, you can attempt more complicated designs. For example, if this wire wrapped cab is out of your comfort zone, look for a project with just a simple wire pattern. (If you want to try an easy ring, I have a very simple wire roses ring instructable that makes a wonderful gift.) In addition to instructables, other great places to find free wire wrapping designs are <strong>Pinterest</strong> (search <em>wire jewelry DIY</em>), <strong>Jewelry Tools</strong> and<strong> Fire Mountain</strong>. You'll find everything a beginner could want from initial pendants to hearts and flowers. </p><p>One last note: If you're planning to sell or give away your jewelry, buy a good sealer to keep copper, silver and bronze from tarnishing and discoloring skin. My product of choice is Protect A Clear, which I get online.</p><p>I hope this is helpful! Let me know how it goes and feel free to add your suggestions!</p>
<p>:O square wire is expensive</p>
Try bronze, silver-filled, or copper. Copper square wire is easy to find online and pretty cheap. Here's a link for 22g, square, dead soft copper wire: https://www.wirejewelry.com/square-copper-wire/22_Gauge_Square_Dead_Soft_Copper_Wire-7429-899.html<br>
<p>Hi Lachlan. Sure, I'd love to help you out with jewelry making. You can post any questions you have on any of my tutorials. I'll get them, but remember that I'm in California in a different time zone. Also, it would be nice to hear your &quot;story&quot;, though if it's long, maybe you should pm me.</p>
Hey Rhonda :D my names Lachlan and i was wondering if I could get in contact with you :) ive got a little story to tell and i wanted to get into jewlety making, maybe an email ot i could chat here.:) please consider this &lt;3
<p>awesome pendant</p>
<p>Wow these are gorgeous!</p>
Thank You!!
<p>This is a really incredible tutorial, thank you! It answered so many beginner questions and re-established my confidence to try again :) Thanks!</p>
Glad I could help! Thanks for the comment!
<p>Inspired by your video I went and got some wire and started making pendants with the hundreds of agate rocks that have filled our clear glass table lamps for over 20 years. Been doing this for a few days now and have lots to learn. Look forward to checking here for more ideas. Haven't been able to get definitive recommendation anywhere as to what is best to use for this kind of work ... dead soft/half hard. Having fun and looking forward to maybe selling some of these to supplement my retirement if I can figure a reasonable price. Thanks!</p>
You're so welcome! I'm glad my tutorial was able to help so much. These look great! It looks like you're using round wire. If you want to make the process a little easier, try square wire-you can buy it online. Dead-soft vs half-hard is totally a personal preference thing (except for with ear wires). Generally, the more detail you want in your work, the softer the wire. I do intricate pieces, so I use dead-soft. Let me know how your sales go. Good Luck!!
<p>I had a stone for a necklace that my dad cut ,shaped,and polished for me<br> many years ago out of a rock that I found in a creek bed when we <br>were camping when I was about 13 years old. He had mounted it in a <br>necklace setting for me that broke a few years ago. I have been looking <br>for just the right setting for it for a while because I wanted the light<br> to be able to pass through to show the true beauty and character of the<br> stone. It is a very pale, translucent green with tiny dark green flecks<br> through out it. I am so glad I stumbled across your tutorial !!! With your easy to follow directions I feel like I was able to create the perfect setting. My dad passed away over 20 years ago and this is my most treasured keepsake and know it will mean even more to my daughter when it is passed on to her knowing it was created by both her grandfather's &amp; her mother's hands.</p>
Thank you so very much for sharing both your pendant and your story! You did beautiful work and I'm so glad I could be helpful!
<p>Made this for my GF, she loved it. Thanks for the guide.<br>Btw one tip people don't use a set of mini tools -.- (i made that mistake)</p>
Excellent work! Thanks so much for posting! <br><br>You're right about the mini tools - mine are now relegated to manicures. A related note is that most jewelry pliers are airline approved. Just check the regulations and measure your tools. And leave them out for inspection at security.<br><br>Thanks Again!!
<p>I finally finished. I stalled after the bail. It was tough for me figuring how to neatly form it and cover the ends. Started with a four band bail, but seemed to hard to get all the ends tucked. Ended up snipping two. As I mentioned, I'm a first timer. Had a lot of indecisive moments. When I finally just went for it, I reminded myself of your tips. Finesse and foresight will come with experience, so I completed this and gifted the pendant to a friend. She loved it. The joy of sharing, mission complete. On to more. I am practicing with other hardness and gauges. Started to see improvement on how 'handled' the wire looks and learning when to stop and let it be. Thank you again for being my guide. Although there are many tutorials out there, I found your the best fit and most inspiring to me.</p>
You did a fabulous job! I love how you went with the asymmetry and made it work beautifully. That can be a hard look to do and you did it wonderfully! I'm so glad you found my tutorial useful and inspirational. Thank you so much for sharing with me!!
<p>Wow, excellent! Thank you so much for posting pictures!</p>
<p>Thank you. So, I notice that when I bend the wires across the stone, I scratch the stone. I also knick the wire when trying to grab a hold of it with my chain nose or round nose pliers. Is it just a matter of finesse that comes with experience? Or is there a tip or tool you might suggest to help me out? I was about to do the bail today. After starting I didn't care for the way it was going. I wanted a tall bail like yours, but I am challenged on designing it as nicely. I think I will take it down a notch. I can go big next time and plan with more wire to work it up nice.</p>
Scratching the stones is a common problem. The number one thing I tell new wire wrappers is to use very hard, smooth stones. Gemstones have a hardness rating, so look for stones with a rating of 7 or more. Jasper is very good for beginners as long as you choose the less expensive ones. Good pliers also help and the edges will wear smoother over time. Personally, I don't like to file or coat my pliers. The rest comes with experience. Early on I would sometimes nick the wire so badly it would snap in half. Now it's sometimes hard to tell the pliers ever touched the wire. (Oh, you can also try half-hard wire. Not my favorite, but many people prefer it and it's harder to scratch.) <br><br>I can't wait to see your finished pieces!
<p>Here is my piece in progress, front and back. Time to bail and decorate...will try to post those when completed. Thanks for this clear guide. I'm a first timer, and feel great cuz I'm getting it! That's a compliment to the teacher. </p>
This is beautiful. I have a box full of gemstones I've been dying to do something with and this is perfect. I'm new to wire wrapping. I've just recently started making the &quot;Tree of Life&quot; pendants. Love wrapping wire, its addictive. Definitely trying this first chance I get.
Have fun! Please send photos when you've started creating. (And remember, get square wire for this project.)
<p>Thank you so much for your tutorial ! I tried copying your style, and made my 3rd wire wrapped pendant, but I wanted to ask, how do you make it stay in shape ? It feels like if i were to put it in my pocket, it would be ruined really soon. So should i use something like glue ? or that thing what you wrote - patina, buff (don't understand what that is) I want to give it as a present for a friend, but it scares me it would brake the pirst day...</p>
First, your pendant looks really good!<br><br>Structurally, it looks a little loose, maybe due to thin wire. You should be able to wrap almost anything so it stays together. I almost never use glue. <br><br>Here are some suggestions:<br><br>Check your wire. Are you using the right weight wire? For a 20 - 40 mm cab, you'll need to use 18- 22 gauge SQUARE wire. Square wire holds much better.<br><br>Where you pull the wires over the cab, make sure they are very tight to the stone. Give a little decorative twist with round nose pliers to get them tighter. Pull the back wires way into the center and twist.<br><br>Your pendant should be feeling much more solid by now, but you may still need a little more wire. You can add a long strand around the neck that can be used to decoratively bind the cab tighter.<br><br>(If all else fails I'm teaching this in Feb.!)<br><br>Good luck!<br>Please let me know how it goes. And send more pics!
<p>its not wire wrapping but this one took me a long time</p>
Wow, I bet it took a long time. It's beautiful! Thanks for sharing!
<p>Thank you for your Instructable</p><p>Nice job.</p><p>Rima</p>
My pleasure! Show if you make something!
Hey. I'd love to read the rest of this. I get about one third of the way through it and my iPod crashes. Not mobile friendly. There are many huge long white sections and I have to scroll and scroll and scroll and scroll and scroll before I get to any text or photos. I get to where you bend over the ends of two pieces of wire...I don't know what they are for because it crashes before I get to any text. I'm surprised nobody else mentioned that. Perhaps all the mobile folk are just giving up and not letting you know there is a problem. But the pendant in the search results is really, REALLY nice and I'd sure love to know how you did it.
HI! Probably you should contact the tech department, but here's my two cents. I have an iphone and the instructable comes up fine after I click &quot;show all steps&quot;. Though sometimes it does take a few minutes depending on the internet service I'm using. Another option is to download the PDF. It'll take a while to download, but then you'll have the instructions. I hope this helps!
<p>Thank you, Rhonda. It did keep crashing my ipod, so I logged on with my pc and it looks completely different. Have no clue why it wouldn't load properly, but I'm really glad I took the time to check your article out on my pc. I ABSOLUTELY LOVE IT, and you have given me some great ideas on how to take my wire-wrapping a bit further and have even more fun with it. Really super. Thank you and also, thank you for answering my comment. I appreciate that. :D</p>
<p>You're so very welcome! Have fun &amp; maybe send me a photo : )</p>
great tutorial :) thanks for posting it. I didn't have any pendents or flat wire (just round) so i used a small bottle. i would have posted a picture but i seem to be having trouble uploading one....<br> <br>
Some of the nicest wire wrapping work I have seen.
Thank You! That means a lot to me, If you give it a try, please post your work. I'd love to see it!
that's weird and amasing, i've done that pendant few months ago ! Amasing work btw.
Very pretty! I like how you used the decorative loops for the hanging wire. Clever!
I have never been a fan of any of the wore wrapped jewelry I have seen- until this piece. Lovely really well done .
Excellent 'ible! I've wanted to learn how to do this for a while and yours has been the clearest explanation that I've seen.
Thank you so much everyone! I can't believe the response I've gotten with this instructable. I hope you enjoy working with wire and send me photos of your creations. Have a fabulous New Year!
Very inspirational! <br> <br>I teach technology classes at the local high school, and have been looking for a fun project to help middle-school-aged students become comfortable with basic tools before I turn them loose on expensive computers. This just may be the ticket. Thank you so much for taking the time to create this instructable.
I love your work! I make beautiful paper bead cabochons (?) that would look great with this type of wrap. I must try it! Thank you for sharing!
You are able to finish where I cannot. You showed me how to just let loose and where to be precise! Thanks!
awesome. Keep up the good work
From someone who has researched wire wrapping fairly extensively and made many pendants, this is some of the best I've seen of this type. I get the wrapping part, it's the decorating that I just can't do. Keep up the good work.
This was very helpful and informative. Thank you for sharing. I have done a little wire wrapping and plan on doing more, I wish I had this before I started.... Would have saved me a good bit of wasted wire.
Awesome. I have had trouble wire wrapping before but i think i can do this
That's really neat! Thank you for sharing that info!

About This Instructable



Bio: Geeky artist with too many pets. Details & blog at: rhondachasedesign.com
More by Rhonda Chase Design:Woven Wire Bail Gemstone Pendant Leather & Memory Wire Wrap Bracelet Wire Roses Ring 
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