Hello fellow Instructablers!
This Instructable will show you how to make a tree of life pendant with family birthstones. The branches will branch off to show how the family is connected, making this pendant a true family tree! Tree of life pendants are a very popular trend at the moment, so here is one with a little customizable twist. These pendants make great gifts for mothers and grandmothers.
A plentiful supply of small gauge (thick) wire
A plentiful supply of large gauge (thin) wire
Wire-cutting jewelry pliers
Beads in the colors of the birthstones you will need
Step 1: Making the Frame
The first step is to make the frame that the tree will be built inside of.
First, cut a long length the thicker wire. Cut plenty of wire, as it is better to have too much than not enough! Next, make a loop at the end of this length of wire. Then, make a circle with the wire below the loop, and wrap it around the loop you made at the top. Tighten the wire around the loop to make sure it stays put. Personally, I recommend making a large circle so that the pendant will be easier to create.
Next, take the remainder of the wire and wind it around and around the original frame. How tight you wind the wire is up to you. Once you reach the loop of the pendant, wrap the wire around the loop a couple of times. You do not have to wind the wire around the original circle if you do not wish to, but I think it adds character to the pendant. If you don't do this step, wind the wire around your loop a couple of times instead of just once. :)
Once you are happy with the frame, cut off the excess wire.
Step 2: Forming the Tree Trunk
In this step, we will form the trunk of the tree. :)
First, cut a very, very, very long length of the thinner wire. Then, cut this piece into segments of equal length. I made each of my segment several inches long. You need to make sure that you cut enough segments to make the proper number of branches. For every branch that you want to make, you will need two segments. I ended up making seven branches, so I cut fourteen segments. :)
Now you need to connect the segments of wire. First, divide your wires into two equal groups. Then, twist the two groups around each other in the middle so that there are straight wires above and below the twisted section. It should look like the second picture. :)
Step 3: Making the Roots
In this step, you will form the roots and attach them to the pendant's frame.
First you will take the straight wires at the bottom of your trunk and separate them into groups of two. Then, twist each wire in the groups together tightly, but leave some wire at the ends of each group untwisted.
Next, you will attach the roots to the frame. Just wrap the untwisted section of wire around the frame of the pendant. You may find that you need to untwist some of the wire so that the roots are not too long. Trim away excess wire once you have wrapped it once or twice, if need be.
Finally, bend the tree trunk as shown in the picture for added character! :D
Step 4: Making the Branches
In this step, you will form the branches and insert the birthstone beads.
First separate the wires on top of the trunk as you did with the roots. You will need to decide which branches need to branch off of other branches. For example, I gave the pendant shown to my grandmother, so the main branches are for her grandchildren and the branches branching off are for her great grandchildren. Also, think about how you will organize the tree. For example, I put siblings on the same branches.
To create branches that branch off of each other, start by twisting two wires together. Stop twisting them a little ways up. Do the same with two more wires, but twist this set more than the first. Then, twist the two branches together, stopping where the branch with less twist is no longer twisted. Slide the bead of your choice on one of the straight wires that is part of the branch that was twisted less. To hold the bead in place, twist the two wires together just above the bead. Make two to three more twists before adding another bead. The branch you put the bead on will be your main branch. Finish this branch and secure it to the frame.
Then you will make the secondary branch. This branch will branch off of the main branch. Twist the remaining branch around the main branch until you reach the location where you would like the secondary branch to branch off of the main branch. Then, bend the secondary branch downward, make a few twists in the wires, then add a bead, make some more twists and secure it to the frame.
Do this with as many branches as you need. You can also make solitary branches by following the same process that you do to make the main branches without adding the secondary branch.
Phew! That was a long one! :-O
Step 5: Finished!
Now simply put the pendant on a chain, give it to someone, or wear it yourself! I had some trouble explaining some of these steps, so I hope this Instructable was easy to follow. Feel free to ask me any questions you need to in the comments! :D
I hope it turned out great and you had fun! :D