Princess Jewellery's guide to making a beaded wrapped 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 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.
Wrapped beaded link.
What you will needFor the single basic link I've given instructions for below you will need 5cm of wire (I used 22g dead soft), two 4mm beads and one 6mm bead.
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 slightly more complex wrapped link. Personally I tend to use wrapped links as they're more secure and less likely to come apart. I've written a separate guide for the easier basic links as well - you might wish to familiarise youself with the basic link guide first - ebay limits the number of pictures I can use in this guide so I've cut a couple of the pictures that could apply to either link in order to add the pictures that show in detail the wrapping process.
Wrapped LinkA wrapped link differs to an unwrapped link in that instead of the wire curving round and stopping at the bend in the wire, it instead continues and wraps around the wire just below your loop. Its slightly more fiddly but does produce a better result and is also the most basic form of wire-wrapping - a technique that can produce some spectacular jewellery. For a wrapped link I would usually use 22 or 24 gauge dead soft wire, although half hard will work fine too. If you use dead soft, you may like also use nylon jaw pliers in addition to the tools mentioned above. I'll explain why at the relevant point in the instructions.
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!)
Make a right angle 2cm from the end of your wire using flat nose pliers.
Hold your wire with your round nose pliers right next to the joint on the shorter length
Use flat nose pliers (or your fingers initially) to guide the wire around your round nose pliers in a loop. You should end up with a loop that has a short length of wire sticking out in the direction of your original right angle.
Hold your loop firmly with your round nose pliers in one hand, and with the other hand use your chain nose pliers to wrap the excess wire in a close fitting spiral around the stem underneath your loop.
Use your wire cutters to cut off the excess wire as close as you can get to the stem without nicking it. You may like to then use the very ends of your chain nose pliers to pinch the end of your wire to push it closer to the stem.
You now have a length of wire with a wrapped loop at one end. Turn it upside down (so the loop is at the bottom) and add your beads.
Look at how much space you used wrapping under your first loop. You want to allow this much space between the final bead and the right angle bend for your second end loop (so your link looks even and balanced). Its probably about 1-2mm. Make a right angle bend, allowing for this gap and pointing in the same direction as the first.
Follow the same procedure as for your first loop wrapping the excess wire around the stem and snug up to the end bead. Pinch with chain nose pliers and trim if needed.
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.
You now have a beaded wrapped link! Now is the time for those nylon jaw pliers mentioned above. You need to use them to squeeze around each of your loops. This has the effect of hardening the wire, making it less likely to deform.
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.