This web wrap is best for stones that are either fairly flat or have a sloped dome. Stones with high, flat edges will be a little more frustrating to work with. But it's a great style cabs with narrow edges, for irregular shapes like sea glass, or for thin and flat focal pieces, like vintage buttons.
It can be a nice casual wrap, you can make it more rustic by intentionally making loops of different sizes and pulling them tighter, or you can dress it up by adding a bead bead to each loop for extra sparkle.
This tutorial was designed to go after my Tree of Life tutorial, which covers the basic bail and spirals in more detail, so if you're new to wire you might want to check that one out first :) It is also designed so that you can use the same wires as used for the tree as well!
Step 1: Materials
(20mm-40mm, domed round or oval is easiest)
-18-20 ga wire
-28-24 ga wire
-flat nose pliers
-round nose pliers
-hammer & anvil
Optional but helpful:
-nylon nose pliers
-pen, knitting needle
-bail making pliers
Step 2: Starting the Frame
Cut 18-20 ga wire to stone circumference + 4”. From the center make a frame 1/8” to 1/4” smaller than the cabochon. (When using a round cabochon a spool of thread can be a great form.)
Once the frame is shaped, bend the extra wire 90 degrees up from the frame. Hammer the frame gently to harden it. (Do not hammer the two wires sticking up, these will become your bail.)
Step 3: Making a Bail* (*leave the Legs Up and Skip This Step If You Want to Make a Woven Bail)
1/4” up from juncture, bend the long wires forward 1/4” and around your round nose pliers (or round object of the right size) towards the back to make a bail. The tails should hang down.
Wrap around the stem with a 3-4” of wire. End with a spiral in front. Spiral the two back wires to the frame. They’ll help hold the stone in the back.
Step 4: Starting the Netting
Cut 1 ½ yards of fine wire. Wrap one end around the frame 2 or 3 times just to the right of the bail.
(It will slide around. Just slip it back.)
Make a loop with the small wire, pointing out from the frame like a tiny petal. Eye it, or use something narrow and round to ‘measure’ loops.
(I end up slipping so much when I try to use something to measure the loops that no matter how good my intentions I'm always eyeing it by the end.)
Step 5: Closing the Loop
To make a closed loop, thread the wire under the frame and pull it back up through the loop. Pull it tight, but not so that it loses shape.
Repeat to make another loop of about the same size. Continue until loops are evenly spaced all around the frame.
Step 6: Size Check and Second Row
Place the cab on the frame. If the loops don’t show, wrap once about the bail base to end up back at the beginning.
Start a second outside row by wrapping under the top of the first loop, then pulling the wire up through the new loop. Pull tight enough to stay without losing the new loop.
If the loops show, start the next row against the stone, holding the cab in place. Now the motion will be over the wire and the down through the loop. Same stitch from a different angle!
Step 7: Wrapping Up
After each loop, pull firmly. Hold the cab with one hand while pulling so it gets captured rather than pushed. It will start looking less daisy and more web.
Keep circling around-if some stitches end up too small skip a loop to even them out. After 3-4 rounds test the stone. If it feels tight, close off the net anytime. If it shifts, continue.
To end the net, wrap behind and around the place where the first loop of that last row caught on the first loop of the previous row. Wrap it around again and cut as close to the ‘knot’ as possible.
(Optional) Finish with a charm or bead. Instead of cutting the wire, feed it through the bead and center the bead over your ‘knot’, then catch where you finished your net again and cut the wire short.
**Note: how many rows it takes to secure the stone has less to do with the size of the stone and more to do with the loop size and stone cut.
Larger loops generally means less rows-sometimes two will do. A stone with thin edges moving up to a high dome will need fewer rows than a flatter stone or one with high sides.
Step 8: *Starting a Woven Bail
Note: it’s easier to do this after trapping the stone, so make web first and leave legs sticking up. Add 5” to frame instead of 4” to give some breathing room.
Bend the long wires to outline a leaf shape about 1 ½ long. Wrap one end of a yard of fine wire several times around one of the upstanding legs to secure it.
This wrap is figure 8s in wire. From the securing wraps, cross to the other thick wire, wrap under and around that wire 3x.
Step 9: Continuing a Woven Bail
Cross back to the first wire going over and around 3x. Repeat. Over one side, under the other.
Step 10: Finishing a Woven Bail
Once the entire shape is wrapped, bend the woven bail forward then back around round nose pliers or round implement so the tails run down the back of the stone.
Use the still attached fine wire to ‘stitch’ around front of bail base. You can use it to add a bead in front of the bail, then clip.
Wrap one back tail around bail a couple of times. Bring the other around to front and finish off with a spiral.