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Jewelry Tutorial: Make a Wire-wrapped Bracelet Lesson 7

You've found lesson 7 in my tutorial on making sterling silver bracelets.


Techniques

Before you actually begin to make the wire-wrapped bracelet, there are a few basic techniques to master that are essential to creating a professional-looking finished piece.


Cutting Jewelry Wire Flush

Your flush cutter has two sides—one that cuts flush, or straight, and the other that cuts on a sharp diagonal. Be sure to place the side that cuts flush toward the side of the wire you want to be flush (that is, the finished side that must come straight in contact with a jewelry surface, rather than leave a gap).

  • For safety's sake, cup your hand around the wire as you're cutting to contain any flying scraps.

Creating the Perfect Wrapped Loop

Use the following technique to achieve a perfectly round, neatly wrapped loop. Note:  I don't have photographs, but if these instructions are confusing, I'd refer you to the excellent illustrations for making the perfect loop in All Wired Up: Wire Techniques for the Beadworker and Jewelry Maker. 

  • It is worth the time to practice over and over.
  • Copper wire is recommended for practicing so you don't waste precious sterling silver wire.

Cut a 4" piece of 20 gauge half hard sterling silver wire (round) or, for practice, copper wire. Snip the ends so both sides are flush.

Holding one end securely in your flat-nose pliers, pull your fingers along the wire a couple of times to straighten it.

Move the flat nose pliers 1 1/2" from the end, and bend sharply at a 90-degree angle to form an "L."

Place the round part of your round nose pliers on short leg of the "L" about ½" from the bend. Curl your wrist in a smooth motion so that a loop begins to form around the round part. As you do so, keep the palm holding the pliers facing away from you.

Adjust your wrist to its original position, keeping the pliers within the loop. Then curl it again, closing the gap and completing the loop. Guide the wire end around with your hand if necessary to close the loop.

To wrap and finish the loop, remove the round nose pliers. Clasp the loop securely between the heads of the flat nose pliers in your non-primary hand.

With your other hand, wind, or wrap, the remainder of the wire tail around the stem.


  • Make the wraps close and tight.
  • Use a pulling motion rather than a pushing motion.

After you have wound the tail end around the stem twice, snip it off carefully. Make sure the remaining bit is flush. Tuck that bit in using your flat-nose pliers.

You've finished making a wrapped loop! If this is your first time, the results may look a little strange. But don't worry. With a little practice, you'll make perfect loops every time.

Next, we'll start making the bracelet, beginning with cutting the wire —using a quick-and-dirty method, or using precise measurements and calculations.

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