Princess Jewellery's guide to making a basic beaded wire link or drop.
Difficulty level: Level 1 - Beginner (For explanation of ratings please see bottom of this guide)
Time: 5 minutes
I chose to make a beaded link instruction page first simply because I use them all the time. They're quick, pretty and so versatile - you can use this technique in almost any item of jewellery. With all my instructions, I'm simply describing how I do it. There may be other techniques and you may find that another suits you better - there's usually no right or wrong method, only how comfortable you are using it.
For jewellery ideas using beaded links, take a look at the Jewellery Design Gallery in my ebay shop.
Example anklet using beaded links.
What you will needFor the single basic link I've given instructions for below you will need 3cm of wire (I used 22g half hard), two 4mm beads and one 6mm bead.
I recommend the following if you want to try the simple anklet at the top
- Sterling silver cable chain (I used 2.5mm wide chain) - search for chain in my shop
- 22g Sterling silver half hard wire - search for wire in my shop
- 4mm coloured beads (I used Swarovski crystal bicones) - look for 4mm beads in my shop
- One Sterling silver clasp - search for lobster clasps in my shop
- Sterling silver 5mm heavy open jump rings (you could use split rings for extra security if you wish)
I also needed the following basic jewellers tools:
Round nose pliers
Flat pliers (I usually use two pairs)
Chain nose pliers (Wrapped links only)
Making Your LinkThere are two types of basic beaded link - this is the easier basic link. Personally I tend to use wrapped links as they're more secure and less likely to come apart and have produced a separate guide for those but you can make an easier unwrapped link as well as demonstrated here (using a heavier gauge wire can counteract the less secure method)
This is a picture of a finished unwrapped link which can be joined to other links, chain or connecters using jump rings (you need the jump rings as they never hang properly if connected directly to the next component unless they're earring drops in which case you don't usually need the jump rings). For an unwrapped link I would usually use 18 or 20 gauge half hard wire.
Cut your piece of wire straight across at right angles to the wire (so the end is flat - note I used a scrap for demonstrating so my ends aren't flat!)
Use your flat pliers to bend one end of the wire at a right angle about 1cm from the end
Hold the end of the piece of wire with your round nose pliers - the position on the pliers depends on how big you want your loop to be. Try about half way - you can adjust your technique to fit your personal preferences as you get more experienced.
Turn your pliers around the wire (you may find it easier to move the wire rather than the pliers - thats fine too). You can loosen your grip slightly if you need to adjust your position on the wire. You want to form a loop that curves round back to the right angle in your wire.
You can now slide your beads on the end that doesn't have a loop.
Make another right angle bend 1mm above your top bead (it needs to be slightly above or your pliers may damage your bead when you bend. Then follow the curving procedure detailed above to form a loop.
You may find your loops aren't facing the same direction. Grip each loop in flat nose pliers (or flat and chain nose - personally I use two flat) and twist so they're level. Squeezing also has the effect of hardening your loop (make sure its flush to the beginning of the loop when you do this - so its as near to an unbroken circle as you can manage)
Et voila! Your beaded link is finished!
Finally - you can use headpins instead of plain wire for making dangles or earring drops - when doing this, your 'head' end of your headpin takes the place of your first loop - so you just add your beads to the headpin, and finish it with the second loop from the instructions.
Note from the Author
I hope you found this useful. I'm writing new guides all the time so don't forget to sign up for my jewellery making techniques newsletter (link for newsletter signup is at the top of any page in my eBay shop ). I do write these free of charge, for the benefit of anyone who wishes to read them, however should you feel like checking out my ebay shop next time you're buying jewellery making supplies, it would be very much appreciated!
Explanation of Difficulty LevelsI rate my designs by four difficulty levels for non-soldering or sawing jewellery making. They're rated by a number of factors including time taken to make, whether you need to make some of your own components and whether they need basic tools or 'specialist' tools.
1. Beginner - Anyone should be able to manage this, even if you've never held a pair of jewellery pliers in your life.
2. Quick & Easy - Fast project, basic techniques only. Should be confident with pliers, cutters, jump rings, basic beaded links - anything else will be explained in easy steps.
3. Needs confidence - Longer project that includes some trickier elements including but not limited to using more complex wire manipulation (e.g. making wire bails, using a jig or pliers to make wire components) and more time consuming projects that involve lots and lots of small steps.
4. Tricky - Projects for the terminally insane. Whether I'll put anything here is up in the air. The vast majority of what I make is 2 or 3 - simply because I don't have the patience for long projects
Copyright NoticeI am happy for designs to be copied where I've given instructions to do so :o) (i.e. this guide!). However if you're producing for commercial use (i.e. resale) credit for the design (e.g. 'A Stephanie Hall design' or 'a Princess-Jewellery design'), and a link to my ebay shop would be appreciated.
Text and pictures may not be reused without my express permission.