One of the simpler, and more sought-after, wire wraps are simple crystal points held in the wire, rather than wrapping around the whole. You can easily make one of these if you take a look at the following video, which shows an elegant and easy-to-understand way to make a wire-wrapped crystal point.
So, let’s take a closer look at this video tutorial, and then I’ll see if I can help address any issues that may crop up during the process.
What You Need to Follow Along
This is on the simpler side of wire wrapping, and you don’t need a whole lot to undertake the task. The following should serve you well:
- 20g Wire- The wire in the video is sterling silver, but copper or brass will work fine. This is the base wire, and anything from 16g-20g should work if you don’t have 20g on hand. Just don’t go any smaller.
- 28g Wire- This is used for coiling and tying the piece together. 28g is the most common for this task but anything from 26g-30g will work fine. If you have 16g or 18g base wire then you can go as large as 24g but it’ll be a much more difficult process.
- Drilled Crystal Point- The points used in the video are drilled. If you have a favorite but it lacks a hole, I’ll explain how to drill one below.
- Flush Cutters- To trim the wire. Make sure to use the flat side towards your project to avoid sharp ends.
- Round Nose Pliers- Used for making round shapes with the wire during the creation of the piece.
- Chain Nose Pliers- Any will work. Of particular note here is that the author of the video uses tweezer nose pliers as well. Those are handy to have around, but not required.
- Tape- She recommends using tape to hold the piece together at some points. Clear Scotch tape works well for this, but my preference is painter’s tap which leaves almost no residue and is easier to remove in one piece.
Wire wrapping isn’t a tool-less technique, but it doesn’t require nearly as much tooling as most other tasks. There are a couple of things I’d recommend having on hand in addition to what’s in the video:
- Small Rubber/Plastic Mallet- The inexpensive ones you sometimes find in the crafts section of big box stores actually work really well for hardening this style of wrap. I spent $2 at a Walmart three years ago and still use it to harden wire wraps.
- Ring Clamp- Always a useful thing to have around. You can secure the crystal with this so that your hands aren’t in the way as much when you’re putting the piece together.
- Jump Ring Mandrel- Great for making sure you have an even, uniform bend in the bail of the piece.
These aren’t necessary, but they’ll make your life a little bit easier during the forming process. I’ll explain how to use the mallet to further secure the work below.
A Quick Overview of the Steps
This is a pretty short and simple video to follow along with, but let’s take a look at a brief overview of the steps as a refresher:
- Take your framing wire and measure it with the crystal point in the middle. You’re going to want 2 ½” on either side of the stone.
- Center the stone and bend both sides of the wire straight up.
- Cross the wires over the top of the stone. This will be the bail, so you can either leave space above the stone or pull it down and flush with the top.
- Bend the wires back at the point where they meet. This creates a V-shape with each wire remaining on its own side.
- Wrap your weaving wire around the wires at the base of the V, making sure to leave a couple of inches for a tail. 4-5 times is ideal.
- Wrap the wire in a Figure-8 pattern around the base wires, beginning on one side. In the video, she uses three wraps per side, which is a solid number to get the texture for the bail. A more airy bail can be created with more wraps per side, and a tighter one with fewer.
- Continue to wrap in this manner until you reach your desired bail height. Then bend the wires back so they cross over each other again, forming the second half of the bail. Bend them in the same manner as when you started the bail so that the wires come together but don’t cross.
- Finish weaving by continuing until you reach the crossed wires and tie them together with 3-4 wraps again.
- Trim the weaving wire with your flush cutters, leaving another 2” or so of wire as a tail.
- Using round nose pliers (or a jump ring mandrel) bend the bail over so that it forms an upside-down U-shape.
- Use your chain nose pliers to bring the bottom of the bail together, being careful to center it over the crystal.
- Wrap one of the tails around one of the base wires to get it out of the way. 2-3 wraps will work.
- Wrap the other tail around the base of the bail, pulling it together. Go around 3-4 times, and then wrap it around the base wire you didn’t wrap previously 2-3 times.
- Use your flush cutters to get an equal length on both of the base wires.
- Curl the remainder of the base wire in on itself using the round nose pliers.
- Cut two 2” lengths of your base wire.
- Curl these in on themselves in order to create an S-shape with curls.
- Carefully form the S-shapes around the crystal sideways. You want the wires used for the S to be able to touch the wire on either side where it passes through the drilled holes.
- When the pieces are formed correctly, cut two 2” lengths of your weaving wire.
- Wrap the weaving wire through the sides. You want it to pass around all three pieces of the framing wire, including your S shapes and the wire which forms the bail. Wrap 5-10 times.
- Tuck the remaining tails behind this wrapping after trimming them to the appropriate length. Repeat on both sides.
Some Extra Tips and Troubleshooting
This is a relatively simple tutorial, aimed at beginners, but there’s no shame in that. There are a few things you can keep in mind while you’re working on it that can add a bit of enhancement to the final pendant.
Making Perfect Loops
Whenever you make a loop with your pliers, you’ll end up with a little flat spot on the end that sticks out like a sore thumb. You can just leave them like that if you’d like, after all handmade means nothing is ever perfect.
If you want to correct them, then you’ll need to make your spiral and then snip the flat ends off of the wire. You can then curve it further, since the new end of the wire will be entirely curved.
As a matter of habit, I recommend work-hardening all wire wraps. While these pieces can be quite sturdy, it just helps hold everything into place a little bit better.
The easiest way to do this is to tap repeatedly with a small plastic or rubber mallet around the wrap. Just give it a good 4-5 strikes with a non-marring mallet and you’ll find that everything stays in place much better. Just be sure not to squish your bail.
I actually work-harden my bails as well, which is why I recommend getting jump ring mandrels to bend it. While it won’t save it from a tragedy, it makes it much harder to accidentally pinch down the bail.
Drilling Your Own Crystals
If you have a point that you’d like to wrap this way but it doesn’t have a hole, you can actually handle it fairly simply at home. You’ll need a Dremel or flex-shaft and a set of diamond bits to pull this off.
Practice on a couple of pieces you’re not overly fond of first, there’s a bit of a learning curve.
The setup is very simple, however:
- Put on a dust mask and get a cup or bowl of water. A pyrex dish a few inches deep can make this easier.
- Mark your stone where you want to place the hole. You’ll want to mark it on both sides. A brass or aluminum scribe is ideal since Sharpie is going to come off quickly once it’s in the water.
- Use a small ball burr to indent over your dots on either side. It’s always a good idea to begin this way. Make sure to keep the stone wet while drilling.
- Bore the hole the rest of the way out using either column or ball burrs. Don’t let anything get too hot, as thermal shock can break many crystals if you’re not careful.
- Once you’ve broken through using the smallest burrs possible, you can now slowly size it up by using column burrs in increasing sizes until the hole is the size you want.
This will work on anything from tourmaline to quartz, as long as the crystal is of sufficient size to take the hole.
Subscribe to Fantasia Elegance
Fantasia Elegance is a great channel for beginners to wire wrapping, especially those who prefer simpler pieces. She presents her videos in an easy-to-understand manner and doesn’t assume a lot of knowledge on the watcher’s part. Her channel is worth a subscription if you’re into wire wrapping at all, even if you’re more advanced and just need ideas.
So, go visit her channel and see what you can find!
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