Introduction: Any-Design Wire Wrap Cabochon
This tutorial shows you how to wire wrap a cabochon with any design you want on the front. For this one, I chose a heart, but I've also made one with a Christmas tree (for Christmas) and you can personalize yours according to your stone and the design you choose.
- 20 gauge square or round wire (4x the circumference of your stone)
- stone of any size/shape (mine was 1 1/2 inches)
- 28 gauge wire (approx. 5 feet)
- typical set of pliers (flat nose, bent nose, round nose, bail-making, nylon jaw, wire cutters)
Step 1: Preparations
Fold your 20-gauge wire in half and make a U-bend in the center with round nose or bail-making pliers. The size you want depends on how thick you want your bail (the part the necklace hangs from) to be.
Step 2: Wire Wrapping the Bail
We are going to do a figure-eight weave to wrap the bail. Start by wrapping the 28-gauge wire three times around one of the straight wires (don't start at the top of the loop -- we want the wire to zigzag back and forth across the parallel wires.
Step 3: Wire Wrapping the Bail (pt. 2)
Flip the bail so the wire you want to weave with is on top. Cross to the other side by going under the other wire and wrap three times around that wire, making a figure-eight pattern if you look at it horizontally. Compress the 28-gauge wires together to make them tighter together and continue the pattern until you have a one-inch segment of weave.
Step 4: Bending the Bail
Using round-nose pliers, bail-making pliers, or your own finger, bend the segment of weaved wire in half to make the bail (we will secure the two ends together later).
Step 5: Frame
Bend the two bare wires around the stone to make a frame.
Step 6: Cradle
Using the figure eight weave, zigzag back and forth 4 or 5 times across the top of the frame, leaving indentations (like a cradle) if your stone doesn't have a flat back. Cut the weaving wire, pinch it into the frame wire, and repeat near the bottom of the frame. Do not cut the weaving wire the second time.
Step 7: Foldover
Put the stone in the cradle and fold the two wires over it. This is the start of the design. From here, you can make any design you want, but first you must weave across the two base 20-gauge wires (at least a little bit) to secure them so they won't flop around. Since I made a heart, I separated the two base wires into a V and then wove between them, but if you're making something a tree, you can keep them parallel.
Step 8: Heart
Since I was making a heart, I pushed the two wires outside in under the frame wires on both sides and curved them in to make a heart shape. If I was doing a Christmas tree, I would separate the frame wires so they were horizontal. Then I would post them under the frame wires and bring them back up diagonally to meet the middle, then repeat until I reached the top.
Step 9: Heart Pt.2
Since my wires did not reach the top, I curved them to the sides and loosely wove between them using the figure eight weave to tie them together. Then I wrapped the ends of the weaving wires three times around the base wires to secure them. I trimmed the weaving wires and tucked the ends in. At this point, if your stone is falling out, I would recommend pushing the base wires closer to the frame wires to hold the bottom of the stone in. If your base wires already reach the top, I don't recommend doing this part unless it's for added decoration.
Step 10: Securing the Bail
Next, to secure the wires, I curved the wires to the back and posted them between the bail and the stone, securing the ends of the bail together. I did this for both sides. For the tree design, I posted the wires through the front between the bail and the stone.
Step 11: Securing the Base Wires
For the heart design, I wrapped the base wires outward from the bail and trimmed them to be 1 cm long. Then I made a horizontal loop that went inside the bail and connected with the base wire outside the bail, to secure the base wires. For the tree design, I wrapped the wires around the bail to the back, trimmed them to 2 cm, and made opposing spirals on the back as decorations. If your wires are loose, tighten the wires so they curve closer to the stone. Edit any details that you find unsatisfactory. You're done!