In special instances, a jewelry maker would run into specialty beads that is full of character. Large beads for example are quite popular and knowing how to work with with them could be beneficial when designing. This tutorial is one way of working with a large bead where wire wrapping technique is applied.
- Custom Large Bead
- Bead Stoppers
- 24 Gauge Half Hard Wire
- Wire Cutters
- Flat Nose Pliers
- Round Nose Pliers (Variety of Sizes if Preferred)
What ever the size of the bead, it is important to see what you will be working with. Look for how big the beading hole, the terrain of the hole whether it is uneven or smooth. On this particular beat it has uneven edges as well as difference in hole size, one is bigger on the other side and the other smaller.
In this particular bead, find a bead that would fit snugly in the hole, find a bead that would sit slightly inside and not on top. Test a couple design options available for you.
Remember to also find a size similar for the other side, are sure there is balance for your choice.
When measuring for length necessary to wire this giant bead. Bead through the beads that will be used, on both ends you should have a formula of measurement: Length of the beads + 3 inches for every 1/4 inch the size of your loop + 2 inches for wire wrap. This would equal to the length you will need to wire wrap.
Place the wire with a 2 inch ease on its shortest side on the farthest point of the round nose pliers and bend it along this place.
Measure to see if you still have 2 inches from the shortest end, adjust to measure to have enough to wire wrap.
Create your first indentation by creating a movement pulling downwards. Compare to working with smaller beads a bigger loop requires more movement, to keep a uniform motion, divide your rotation to quarter movements until the indentation is created.
Create the same pulling down motion on the other side of the wire, be aware that you must bring back the position of the round nose pliers, simply rotate the pliers and create an indentation. Keep in mind your movements should be circular motions.
While the wire is on the round nose, take the short end of the wire and create an "L-Shape" making a right angle. Since the loop is wider, it is important that it keeps its place on the pliers. The pliers are the only tool that is keeping the shape of the loop through out because of the pressures of the movement creating the loop itself.
Take the shorter wire and start wrapping it around the longer wire.
Wrap the shorter wire three times downward moving towards the end of the longer wire.
After the three wire wraps, create a wire wrap moving up ward, towards the loop, the wire wraps would create a look of spirals looking from the bottom and an overlapping wire wrap over the first set of wire wraps you have created. The only change necessary is the direction of the wire wrapping direction.
After creating the three wire wraps upwards, cut the excess wire, cut this wire as close as you can against the wire wraps as possible.
Your first wire wrap loop should look as so, with the size, loop and the double wire wrap.
After creating the first wire wrap look, insert the beads by beading it through the wire. Make sure that the beads are where they should be and flush against each other. Holding the beading at the top of the long nose pliers would let you adjust and also see any gaps on the beads.
To suport the movement you need as you wire wrap, let the beads rest on the work table. This way the weight of the beads, as well as its size does not affect the quality of the loop and the wire wraps you make. position the beads on its side, make sure the wire line is straight and that the beads are not resting on the wire loop. Hold the beads in place with the tip of the flat nose pliers.
Place the wire to the area where the size of the loop is the same. Bend the wire downwards, follow the line of the bead you are working with to keep the structure of the loop.
From this position, wrap the wire around one of the prong on the round nose pliers and create an "L-Shape" right angle, secure this with the first wrap to keep the loop shape and structure.
Bring this wire wrap back up towards the loop, to wrap over the first sets of the three wire wraps you have made.
Start wrapping down into the bead three times.
Cut the excess wire as close as you can to the wire wrap as possible.
On the tip of the cut wire, gently apply pressure in a clockwise circular motion following the way that the wire wrap was made. This will seal the lace of the wire wrap and tuck the end of the wraps.
Wire wrapping large beads either for crafts or custom made jewelry is a very advanced task but very easy if you know the simplified steps and what to look for when working with such materials. Surely there are many unique beads that you have encountered and do share them with us.
- Always break your movements into quarters with large beads.
- Circular motions help maintain the shape of your loops and wire wraps.
- Take your time when creating big beads.
Make it easy for you to work with large scale work, many large beads are manageable specially when made aware of what to look out for when working with large beads.