Wire Wrapping Jewellery: Make Your Own Gemstone Bracelet
Wire wrapping is one of the oldest jewellery-making techniques around, and yet still remains a popular way of working gorgeous gemstones into handmade jewellery. Why? because the creative things you can do with the wire are just as gorgeous as the stones themselves! Wire wrapped pieces also stand out in a crowd of mass produced jewellery, as something that has been carefully handmade… our favourite kind of jewellery! If you’re keen to learn more about creating jewellery using memory wire, you might want to check out our Get The Nation Crafting Subscription. Every month you’ll receive a brand new craft delivered to your door, one of which is a fantastic jewellery-making kit! Check out Angela Finch’s beautiful wire wrapping bracelet project below, and discover an exciting wire wrapping technique that will give your jewellery-making a boost!
This is the perfect next step for those who have created the memory wire bracelet in the Make your own bracelet kit, which is part of our Get The Nation Crafting Subscription. Learn how to add a bit of detail with 0.4 mm copper wire, in a technique that can be used in many different ways.
Time it Takes to Make: 1 hour
Skill Level: Intermediate
- Variety of gemstone chip and nuggets
- Bracelet Memory Wire
- 4mm Antique Bronze colour copper wire
- 2 silver plated copper headpins
- Beading Mat
- 4 in 1 pliers from your Get the Nation Crafting Box or:
Cut 4.5 loops of bracelet memory wire with memory wire cutters. Use the round nose pliers to create a loop at one end. This will take a few more turns than normal with the memory wire being made of steel.
If you have a tail of spare wire, use the memory wire cutters to cut it off. Please be careful; if the end of the tail isn’t held, it will ping off somewhere when it is cut! Use the flat nose pliers to make sure the loop is flat against the wire and has no rough edges.
Put a variety of different colour gemstone chips and nuggets on to your beading mat, and mix them up with your hands. This makes it easier to choose random chips for the bracelet. For this style, there should not be any kind of repeating pattern. This can be difficult to do; just pick up random chips when threading them onto the memory wire.
Thread about 6 chips onto the memory wire. Then hold the memory wire by the top and move the chips down to the bottom. It is easier to do this in sections rather than by individual chips.
Thread chips until you are happy with the width of the bracelet. In this bracelet, just over 4 loops of memory wire were completed.
Now hold the top of the memory wire, so the loops become separated. Gently turn the chips from the bottom of the bracelet to the top. The chips are all different shapes, and turning them makes them find the best angle to rest at. This stops gaps appearing in the bracelet. Make sure that every chip is turned.
Use the round nose pliers to create a loop. Start a bit further down the wire, so that the chips will not get in the way.
Repeat Step 2. At this point, it could be a finished bracelet.
Cut a long length of the 0.4mm antique bronze colour copper wire. The length depends on what you are comfortable working with. The entire bracelet will take between 4 – 5m of wire. More can be added in, you do not have to work with a 5m length of wire! Wrap the wire 4 times underneath the loop of the bracelet.
Hold the little tail of the wire to stop it turning on the memory wire. Push up the chip so it is close to the wire. Wrap the wire around the chip, and then once around the memory wire to anchor it. Sometimes the shape of the chips means that the wire will have to wrap around a couple of them before anchoring. The 0.4mm wire may get little loops while wrapping. When this happens unloop the loops immediately or the wire may break. Continue doing this until the 0.4mm wire runs out.
Wrap the end of the wire a couple of times around the memory wire leaving a tail. Cut another long length of 0.4mm wire. Wrap that around the same place leaving a tail. Again, hold onto this tail and continue wrapping around the gemstone chips. Do not be worried if some chips break and fall off, the wire will fill the gaps.
At the end of the bracelet, wrap the 0.4mm wire a few times around the memory wire at the base of the loop. The bracelet could be finished now. To continue, start wrapping the wire around the gemstone chips in the opposite way. This time only anchor when you feel like, and not every gemstone chip needs to be individually wrapped.
Once the 0.4mm wire reaches the other end of the bracelet, wrap it a few times over the other wraps under the end loop of the memory wire.
Use the flush cutters to cut off all the little tails of wire. Then use the flat nose pliers to flatten the wire so that there are no rough bits.
Choose a couple of similar looking gemstones. This is for the finishing touches. They do not need to be exactly the same. Put 2 of the gemstone chips on a headpin. Use pliers or fingers to create a 90 degree angle on the headpin just on top of the gemstone chips. Then use the round nose pliers to create a loop. (Do this with 2 headpins)
Add the loop of the headpin to one of the loops of the memory wire bracelet. Hold the headpin loop with the flat nose pliers. Use your fingers to wrap the tail of the loop of the headpin around the base of the loop. This is called a wrapped loop. Cut off the excess wire with the flush cutter pliers. Use the flat nose pliers to make sure there are no rough edges. Do this again with the other headpin, and the other end of the bracelet.
The bracelet is now finished. As the wire has been woven with your hands, it is advisable to put the bracelet in a bowl of warm soapy water for 30 minutes. Then wash with cold water under the tap, and use kitchen towel to gently dry it. This will remove the grease and make the gemstones sparkle.