Introduction: Amazing Wire Wrapped Glass Pendant...for Pennies!
Want to make an amazing piece of jewelry that looks expensive, but costs only pennies? The secret here is glass pebbles. You know, those pretty, shiny faux rocks you add to a vase or decorative bowl. Individually, these pebbles are actually really pretty and make a perfect, inexpensive alternative to gemstones. Add copper wire, at a few cents a yard, and you've got the makings for a truly fabulous, practically free, pendant.
This tutorial is intended for all levels as long as you can handle sharp wire and cutters.
Step 1: What You Need
4.5 feet of 21 gauge soft copper wire (Hardware store wire is fine.)
Spool of 26 gauge soft copper wire (Buy 50 feet or more if buying in bulk from the hardware store)
1 glass pebble (about 30mm)
Note: You can get glass pebbles all over, even at many dollar stores. Each pebble costs just about two to three cents!
Note: The Coiling Gismo is optional, but makes the project much easier and faster. You can make your own if you want, or use a 1.5mm rod to make coils by hand. Other options are in the directions.
Jewelry pliers (flat or chain nose)
Bail pliers, mandrel, or pen to make the bail
Step 2: Cut Wire
Cut 4 x 12” of the 21 gauge soft copper wire.
Cut 1 x 3” piece of 21 gauge soft copper wire.
Step 3: Make a Wrap
Bundle the 12 inch wires. Take the 3 inch wire and wrap it halfway down, around the bundle of wires.
Wind around six or seven times. End with both wrapping ends facing the same direction.
Trim the ends.
The side with the trimmed ends will now be the back of your bundle. This side will go against the pebble.
Step 4: Separate Wires
Fan out the wires from the wraps. Set the bundle aside.
Step 5: Make Coils
You will need the thin rod on your coiling gizmo, and 26 gauge wire. Do not cut the wire off the spool.
The coiling gizmo can be permanently fixed to a worktable, but I don’t use it often enough to bolt it down. I just hold each piece in one hand. (You can also clamp it down, I guess I'm just lazy.)
Thread the wire through the two large holes of the holder. Then put the thin rod through the small holes oriented so that the handle is on the same side as the end of the thin wire.
Wrap the end of the wire around any part of the handle. There’s no right or wrong way to secure the wire, just make sure it won’t come off when you spin the handle.
Step 6: Coil Away!
I love this next part. There's something extremely satisfying about watching the coils take shape. They're so perfect and pretty. Ahhh...
With the gismo handle in the fingers of one hand, and the holder in your other hand, spin the handle. Depending on how you secured the wire, you may quickly realize you have to spin the other direction. You will see the wire begin to coil on the thin rod between the handle and the holder.
Spin until the coil is about 4 inches. You don’t need to be exact. Then trim the wire on both ends of the coil. Slide the coil off the rod and set the coil aside.
NOTE: if you don’t have or want to buy a coiling gizmo, you can hand wrap the wire around a thin (1.5mm) rod and then slide it off. Or wrap the thin wire directly onto the 21 gauge wire. This takes a lot longer, but doesn’t require any extra equipment.
Step 7: Keep Coiling
Make three more of the same coils.
Step 8: Coils!
Treat finished coils like beads. They need to be strung on a wire to keep their shape.
Step 9: Wrapping
Now get your fanned out bundle and the glass pebble. (Back of wraps goes against the pebble.)
Set the pebble into the center of the bundle, on top of the wraps. If your pebble has a flat side, this is the back.
Bring up the two outer wires in the front, and the two outer wires in the back.
Step 10: Secure
Twist the four wires together at the top of the pebble.
This should hold the pebble in, but may not be very secure yet, but don't worry, there's more to come. (If it helps you can temporarily tape the pebble in.)
Step 11: The Art Part
String one coil onto one bottom, front 21 g wire.
Bend this wire back on itself to make a loop. Make 2-4 more loops until you reach the twisted top wires.
Wind the rest of the coiled wire around the top wires. You can trim and tuck in the ends if needed.
Step 12: Repeat
Repeat with a second bottom wire. At the top, you can wind the coils right over the other ones, like I did, or trim them back and tuck in the ends.
Note: This is your basic design. Once you've secured the pebble better, you can deviate from there if you want.
Step 13: Securing the Pebble
Take one of the back bottom wires and bring it up to the top of the coils. Run the wire from back to front under the coil, and then over, and back again.
Step 14: Continue
Bring that wire across the top back. Go under and over the opposite coil.
Bring the wire down the back and weave it under the bottom coil wire. You should have a good, solid backing now for your pebble.
Trim and tuck ends of the back wire.
Step 15: Designing Time
Using you pliers, twist the bare wires on the front so that they tighten against the glass.
To tighten the wires, hold your setting in one hand and pliers in the other. Put your pliers on either side of the wire and give a small twist. Do the exact, or opposite, movement on the wire next to it.
This twisting is part of the design. You can decide if it will show, like mine, or be tucked under coils.
Think about what you'd like to do with your remaining coils :-)
Step 16: Make the Bail
This is the easiest bail style, but feel free to use the top wires to make any kind of bail you want.
Bend the 4 top wires over you bail pliers (or mandrel, or pen).
Step 17: Bail
Keep the wires together in the front of the bail, divide them into 2 and 2 in the back.
Each set of two goes back around to the front. Use them for any kind of design you want, but end with at least one set of two crossing over the pebble front and securing to a coil.
Trim and tuck the ends of any extra wire.
Step 18: Finish Coils
You still have loose 21 g wire and coils.
String the coils onto the wire and use the rest of the coils to embellish your design. You can make loops, spirals, cover bare wires, etc. (Don't use coils on the back of your pendant.)
Feel free to cut the coils shorter.
Remember to secure, trim and tuck the ends.
Step 19: Finishing
Feel the pendant with your fingers for rough spots and then rub the front and back on a piece of fabric. If you find any sharp spots or wires that catch; file, trim or tuck in the problem wires until everything is perfectly smooth.
You can add a patina, buff and/or seal your pendant if you want.
Step 20: All Done!
Add a cord or chain and your pendant is ready to wear or give.
And no one will ever guess your amazing jewelry cost only pennies!
Participated in the
Glass Speed Challenge