16 October 2013

A Pin Test #16: Wire Wrapped Necklaces

I know this is another Pin Test, two days in a row, but I promised to share photos this week and had technical difficulties with the photos. So this is for you V.S. and anyone else who saw my FB post last weekend. Saturday night after a long afternoon at the pumpkin patch, The Man and The Bug sat down to watch a movie about dinosaurs. Since I didn't really need to see another movie about dinosaurs, while they watched I sat at a desk nearby and decided to play with some new jewelry supplies I bought last week. This was the beginning of Pin Test #16.

I bought suede and 1mm leather cord and some jewelry wire. I think the grand total investment was about eight dollars. A while back I found the blue square tile on the beach. I thought it would make a nice pendant, it just had a very nice shape and I could see it hanging around my neck. I wasn't sure what I would do with it, but it got my creative juices flowing.

I think the piece of sea glass was sent to my by a blogging friend in Australia who knew I loved sea glass. This is Indian Ocean sea glass. I have Pacific Ocean sea glass and Atlantic Ocean sea glass, but having Indian Ocean sea glass seems like something a little extra special. The shell shard next to it I found in San Diego. I loved the texture and many variations of blues and browns on the surface. Lastly is an orange shell shard I found in San Diego as well. I do love orange, so this very worn down piece with such bright variegated color stood out to me.

I pulled out my jar of special shells I'd saved, thinking each one could be a potentially great piece of jewelry based on coloring, size and shape. Then I went to Pinterest which linked me straight to YouTube for great tutorials about how to make wire wrapped jewelry. This is the pin that got me started sending me to a video posted to YouTube by Gayle Bird. I ended up using some of Gayle's technique but then also watched another video by The Potomac Bead Company on wrapping sea glass. This one gave me another option for wrapping that I liked a little better.

On YouTube I could figure out the basics, wrap wire around the thing but I knew my pieces would look a lot better and I would save myself a lot of frustration if I studied up first. There are a ton of tutorials on YouTube and project ideas on Pinterest. If you're interested I would send you in those directions. There are so many I really don't want to recommend any because you really need to find one that most fits your style and how you learn. Just search for wire wrapped jewelry on either side and you will be bombarded with options.

Once I got the hang of how to start, keep the wires tight, securely wrap and best of all how to make the "bail" (top loops -- learned a new word!) it was easy to make these four necklaces in about thirty minutes. One of the necklaces I finished and then I broke one of the wires when I was trying to tighten them up on the backside. I had to cut all the wire off and start all over again. That was a little frustrating but what is a creative project without at least one mini-disaster?

I definitely learned some things and will do some things differently next time. I think my favorite is the sea glass piece. I like the "less is more" aspect with the wire and I think that was the last piece I made so I had a better idea what I was doing. I'm out of wire now, I only bought a small amount, but I'm looking forward to buying more and doing more play with wire wrapped jewelry. Once I started looking at all the tutorials I got inspired about all the amazing bracelets, earrings and pendants you can make.

You do need proper jewelry pliers and I used a round pencil as well to wrap the loops for my wider bails. I have different pliers: one pair that cut wire, one pair that are smooth cones to curve wire and another that look like basic home improvement pliers (but much smaller) to hold onto wire and gently pull it when needed.

This is a super easy project and a great way to take a small treasure and make it into wearable art. These would also make a great gift for friends and family for the holidays. The cost is very small and it would be easy to make quite a few of these at one sitting. Much easier than say piecing together a quilt or knitting an afghan, haha.

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