Wire Wrap - Irregular Stone

Free instructions for making gemstone jewelry by wrapping jewelry wire around a gemstone or irregular bead.

Using Jewelry Wire to Wrap and Irregular Stone Jewelry Making TechniqueUsing Jewelry Wire to Make a Pendant by Wrapping a Stone Jewelry Making TechniuqeThere is a jewelry making craft called wire wrapping.  This craft involves using jewelry wire to wrap irregular gemstones and semi-precious stones to make pendants.  In the pictures shown here, we show the front of a wrapped stone pendant at left and the back at right. 

Our approach to wire wrapping pendants involves using our Spiral Maker to make a spiral that becomes the base, upon which we wrap the irregular shaped gemstone.  In the following web pages we will describe our WigJig approach to wire wrapping irregular shaped objects.

Jewelry Making Supplies Jewelry Tools Required
  • About 20 inches of 20 or 22 gauge round, preferably soft jewelry wire,
  • 1 gemstone or semi-precious stone
  • Ruler,
  • Flush cutter ,
  • Round nose pliers,
  • Bent chain nose pliers (2),
  • Nylon jaw pliers,
  • Any WigJig Jewelry Making Tool,
  • Spiral Maker for your Jig,
  • 20 minutes of free time

Jewelry Skills Required:

  • Ability to cut wire with a flush cutter.
  • Ability to straighten wire with nylon jaw pliers.
  • Ability to make a spiral with the WigJig Spiral Maker
  • Ability to make a loop in wire.

Using Jewelry Wire to Make a Pendant by Wrapping a Stone Jewelry Making TechniuqeWe begin making a wire wrapped pendant by making a large spiral in a special shape with our WigJig Spiral Maker and one of our jigs. 

Step 1:  Using your flush cutter, cut a segment of 20 or 22 gauge wire about 20 inches in length.  The length of wire required will vary greatly depending upon the specific stone that you are trying to wrap.  The best alternative in trying to determine the best length of good wire to cut, is to make the wrap at least one time with practice wire first, having measured the amount of practice wire that you started with and the amount left over.

Step 2:  Using your bent chain nose pliers, straighten your segment of wire by repeatedly pulling the wire through the jaws of the pliers.


Step 3:  Using your bent chain nose pliers, make a 90 degree bend in the wire about 3-4 inches from one end. 
 

 

 

 

 

Step 3 to Using Jewelry Wire to Wrap and Irregular Stone Jewelry Making Technique

Step 4 to Using Jewelry Wire to Wrap an Irregular Shaped Stone Jewelry Making Technique

 

 

Step 5 to Using Jewelry Wire to Wrap an Irregular Gemstone Jewelry Making Technique

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Step 4:  Place the 3-4" segment of wire into one of the four holes of your Spiral Maker and position the peg in your Spiral Maker into one of the holes in your jig.  See the picture at right for how this should appear.  At this point the long segment of wire is held between the Spiral Maker and the upper surface of the jig.

Step 5:  Make a spiral roughly the diameter of the gemstone or other stone that you want to wrap.  View how to make spirals with WigJig SpiralMaker here.

Please note that the center segment of wire will be about 3-4 inches long.  When completed your spiral should appear as shown at left.

Step 6:  Now bend the 3-4 inch wire segment of wire in the middle of the spiral down so that it is flat against the spiral as shown at right.  Ideally, the shorter 3-4" segment should be perpendicular to the longer wire segment at the end of the spiral. 

Step 7:  Position the spiral at the bottom of your irregular stone.  Position the 3-4" segment of wire on the back of the stone.  The back side is the side that would be worn toward the wearer's body.  Using your fingers, bend the 3-4" segment of wire so that it follows the shape of the back of the stone.  While holding the 3-4" segment of wire against the stone, wrap the longer segment of wire from the end of the spiral around the stone several times as shown at left.  Wrap the wire as tightly as you can using your fingers.  (Please note that we have used practice wire and a practice stone here.  Hopefully, your stone will be nicer than this one.)

 

 

Step 6 to Using Jewelry Wire to Make a Pendant by Wrapping a Stone Jewelry Making Techniuqe

Step 7 to Using Jewelry Wire to Wrap an Irregular Gemstone Jewelry Making Technique

 

 

Step 8 to Using Jewelry Wire to Wrap Irregular Stones Jewelry Making Project

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Step 8:  To complete the wrap and make the wire component permanent you need to wrap the end of the long wire segment around the shorter 3-4" wire segment at least two times at the top of the stone.  See the picture at right for how the back of the stone would appear, with the wire wrapped at the top.  Cut the excess wire when you have completed two wraps and using bent chain nose pliers, squeeze the cut wire tail flat. 

Step 9:  Now we need to make a loop at the top of the stone.  This loop needs to be large enough to accommodate the necklace we plan on using with the pendant, or at least the chain for the necklace.  Sometimes, the clasp of the necklace will be too large to pass through the loop we make.  In that case you will need to begin making the loop and then add it to the chain of the necklace, before wrapping the loop closed.  To begin making the loop grasp the wire immediately above the stone with your bent chain nose pliers and bend the wire 90 degrees as shown above-left.

Step 10:  We continue making our loop at the top of the stone by using our round nose pliers to make a full loop in the wire at the point of the 90 degree bend.  See the picture at right for how the wire should appear.  If you need to connect your pendant to your chain, this is the point where we connect the chain.  To add the chain, you can open the loop slightly until you are able to position the chain inside the loop.  After you have completed the loop, visually inspect it to make certain that it is centered.  If it isn't centered, use your round nose pliers to twist it left or right as necessary until it is centered. 

Step 9 to Using Jewelry Wire to Wrap and Irregular Stone Jewelry Making Technique Step 9 to Using Jewelry Wire to Make a Pendant by Wrapping a Stone Jewelry Making Techniuqe Step 10 to Using Jewelry Wire to Wrap Irregular Stones Jewelry Making Technique
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Back of Wire Wrapped Stone Jewelry Making TechniqueStep 11:  To complete the loop at the top of the stone, grasp the loop with your bent chain nose pliers and hold it firmly.  Wrap the wire tail around at least two times.  Cut the excess wire and use a second pair of chain nose pliers to squeeze and twist the wire flat.   When completed the loop should appear as shown at left.  Ultimately, you may need to twist this loop 90 degrees so that the front and back of the stone are properly aligned when it is being worn.  To this, grasp the loop in your bent chain nose pliers and hold the stone in your opposite hand, then twist the pliers to re-orientate the loop. 


Alternatives:

The process described above is the most simple and direct way to wrap an irregular stone and make a pendant.  There are a couple of modifications to this approach that can make the pendant more professional appearing.  The first alternative is to alternate the longer wire first outside, then inside the 3-4" wire segment on the back of the spiral.  If you look at right, you can see going up from the bottom of the stone that the first loop isJewelry Wire Wrapped About a Triangular Shark's Tooth to Make a Necklace wrapped outside and the second loop is wrapped inside.  The second alternative to consider is to wrap the longer wire completely around the 3-4" wire segment.  Again, working up from the bottom you can see that the third loop is first wrapped inside, then wrapped completely around the 3-4" wire segment.  By doing this, the wire wrapped pendant will be much more stable and less likely for the wire to shift during wearing. 

We hope that this approach will be helpful to people with irregular shapes like beach glass, river stones, gemstones and other irregular shapes to turn into pendants.  On the next web page we will discuss alternatives for wire wrapping triangular shapes like the shark's tooth shown at left.

How to Wire Wrap a Triangular Shape Jewelry Making TechniuqeWire wrapping a triangular shape is slightly different from the technique that we discussed earlier.  While we don't claim to be the world's foremost experts in the subject of wire wrapping irregular shapes, we have developed a technique that is suitable for advanced beginners to intermediate wire workers to use to wrap a triangular object like a shark's tooth. 

Our technique involves making a spiral base with a long central wire using our WigJig Spiral Maker just as we discussed in the prior pages.   Wire Wrapped Pendant Jewelry Making TechniqueYou can view a picture of the back of a wire wrapped object at left. This picture shows the spiral at the bottom and the long central wire of the spiral. This technique needs to be modified for a triangular object like a shark's tooth because the triangular shape won't be stable otherwise.  The way we modify the technique is that instead of wrapping spiral coils of wire from bottom to top of the shark's tooth or other triangular shape, you would wrap the spiral coils 1/2 way up the triangular shape and then wrap the wire around behind the triangular shape Wire Wrapped Shark's Tooth Jewelry Making Techniquehorizontally to the 1/2 way point on the opposite side of the triangle.  In the picture at right, you can view how you would begin with the spiral at the bottom (point 1) and continue wrapping the wire to the 1/2 way point, point 2.  From point 2 to point 3 in the figure, the wire is essentially horizontal, behind the tooth.  At point 3 you change the direction of the wrap to securely hold the top of the shark's tooth and wrap up toward the center of the top of the tooth, point 4.  From point 4 to point 5, the wire is wrapped diagonally, behind the shark's tooth.  The wrap is completed by wrapping the wire from point 5 to point 6.  At point 6 the wire is bent horizontally and wrapped around the middle wire of the spiral, running up the center of the back of the tooth.  After this wrap is completed, the excess wire at this wrap is cut and the cut end is squeezed flat.  At this point you would have about 1 1/2" of wire remaining from the central wire in the spiral.  This wire is first bent 90 degrees, then a loop is made at the bend and finally the loop is wrapped closed, like a wrapped bead dangle

 

 

 

 

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