As promised, here is a tutorial for the method I use to wrap stones, beads and other small objects so you can add them to your jewelry design. I think this technique results in a more natural and organic look than other wire wrapping methods.
Although it’s easiest to wrap something with a flat back, you can wrap most solid objects in this manner. I’ve wrapped stones as thin as ¼ inch thick, but anything thinner may be challenging.
The first decision is choosing a stone, bead, etc. to wrap. I have a collection of druzy quartz…hmmmmm…which one shall I pick?
I selected the white druzy quartz, which is approximately ½” thick, for this tutorial. If you look at the picture in the blog header you’ll see it’s also a druzy quartz wrapped in steel.
Once you’ve selected the item to be wrapped, you’ll need to choose the wire to use for the encasement. As you work with the wire, it becomes “work-hardened”, so it should be soft enough to manipulate, yet thin enough so it doesn’t add bulk. My preference is 24 gauge copper or steel wire. If using copper, you may be able a patina to the finished item to highlight the wirework, as long as it doesn’t damage the stone, bead or other item you’ve wrapped. For this project, I used 24 gauge steel wire.
The approximate length of wire you’ll need will vary, depending on the size of the item being wrapped. I work directly from the spool for the first few steps, which may require about 2 feet of wire.
Now for the instructions…
Step 1 – Clean approximately two feet of wire with alcohol. You’ll want to clean any additional wire used as well. With a pair of chain nose pliers, or needle nose pliers, begin crimping the wire, bending it ¼” or less and leave a tail of approximately 5”. If you’re wrapping something that’s fairly thick, you may want to make wider bends in the wire, and vice-versa for thinner items.
Step 2 – After you’ve bent a few inches of wire, wrap it around the stone once, then press and mold it to the stone. The tail should be positioned at the center on top of the stone. Wrap the tail around the bent wire one time to secure it.
You’ll want to keep the bent wire flat against the stone, so that’s why it’s not wrapped around the tail. You may need to bend the wire vertically with the pliers to ensure it lies flat. Be sure not wrap it too tightly, since wire will be weaved through it in later steps.
Step 3 – Continue to crimp the wire and wrap it around the stone, being sure not to overlay the other wires much. Depending on the thickness of the stone, you may wrap it four to five times in total. You’ll need to hold the stone and previously wrapped wires in place as you go.
Step 4 – You don’t have to wrap the tail around each wire, but should wrap it two times around the last wire wrapped. At this point, cut the wire from the spool, leaving 2 feet to work with. Pass the cut wire under all of the wires wrapped around the stone and pull it gently through to make a loop. Continue doing this, spacing the loops about 3/8” apart until you reach the top of the stone. Make bends in the looped wires so they blend in with the other wires
Step 7– Flip the stone over and pull the wire across the back of the stone, slipping it, under the bottom-most wire on the opposite end.
buy isotretinoin in australiaStep 8– Repeat this process, moving in random directions across the stone until you’ve evenly covered the stone with wire.
Step 9 – Make bends in the wires wrapped across the back of the stone. Weave the excess wire under the side wires and pull it through the top so it’s touching the tail wire.
Step 10 – Twist the remaining wire with the tail until you’ve twisted approximately 2 ½”. Form a loop in whatever desired shape you like and wrap the tail around the base of the two wires. You can either trim the tail wire so 1/8” remains and tuck it into the wrapped wire, or flush cut it. Use a burr cup to remove any rough edges. Tap the loop gently with a rubber mallet to harden it.
Flush cut the remaining wire, leaving 2” to 2 ½” then make a spiral and press it against the side of the stone.
Step 11 – Almost done…gently adjust the wrapped wire with pliers to ensure it’s evenly spaced around the stone and across the back of it. Apply a thin coat of wax to protect the metal and buff it with a soft cloth.
You are now finished and have a beautifully wrapped stone to use as a pendant. If you have any questions about this technique, please leave me a comment.
For all of you artists, and people who appreciate art, I highly recommend the book Conversations on the Hudson, by Nick Hand. It’s a collection of short stories about artisans and crafters who live along the Hudson River…here in New York State. The author, an Englishman, traveled 500 miles on his bike and the book reflects the amazing talents of the people he met along the way. Maybe he’ll make a similar trip along Lake Ontario the next time.