Bead Wraps - Wrapped Loops 2
Free jewelry making instructions in making a wrapped loop in jewelry wire using common jewelry tools:
The wrapped loop is one of the more important skills involved in the wire working technique called "Wire Wrapping". This technique is important because it allows us to make a loop in wire that is as strong as if it were cast or soldered. This is very important for making beaded chains and for connecting wire components into chains that are very strong. You can view a wrapped loop at right. This technique can also be used to make a bead dangle using a head pin as shown at left. The steps involved in making a wrapped loop bead dangle are described below.
Step 1: Slide your beads onto your head pin all the way down. While holding the head pin upright, grasp the wire immediately above the beads with your bent chain nose pliers.
Step 2: Bend the wire over to an angle of about 90 degrees. Ensure that you have about 1" or 25 mm of wire on the now horizontal wire segment.
Step 3: Grasp the horizontal wire segment in your round nose pliers on the horizontal segment, but as close to the 90 degree bend as possible.
Step 4: Using your thumb, push the wire up and over the jaw of your round nose pliers as shown below.
Step 5: At this point you will need to re-orientate the wire in the jaws of your pliers so that you can complete the loop. Re-grip the wire as shown at right.
Step 6: Complete the loop as shown at left.
Step 7: Remove the wire from your pliers. At this point we need to inspect the loop to see if the loop is centered over the vertical wire. If the loop isn't centered (which happens most of the time), slide one jaw of your round nose pliers all the way into the loop so that the entire inside of the loop is touching the jaw of your pliers. Then grip the loop and twist it slightly so that the loop is properly aligned so that the vertical wire points to the center of the loop. For the loop shown at right, you would twist the loop slightly clockwise as we are looking at it to center the loop over the wire and beads below it.
Step 8: Now we are ready to connect this loop into your jewelry component. This obviously must be accomplished before wrapping the loop closed if you are connecting to another closed loop as shown above-left.
Step 9: With your loop connected as described above, grasp the loop using your bent chain nose pliers. Grasp it firmly. We aren't trying to crush the loop only to make sure that it doesn't move. To be able to accomplish this step, as shown at right, you need one of two things -- Either you need pliers with jaws that are thin so that you can grasp the loop and still have room to wrap the loop closed, or the other alternative is that you need to make a larger loop in steps 3, 4, and 5 so that you will have room for the jaws of your bent chain nose pliers. We have worked with manufacturers to develop bent chain nose pliers with thinner jaws called our fine bent chain nose pliers. If you don't have these pliers, make a larger loop, so that you will have room to grasp the loop with your pliers. Grasping and holding the loop while you wrap the wire preserves the round shape of your loop.
Step 10: Wrap the wire around one, two or three turns according to the needs of your project. In general, it is good to wrap as many turns as necessary to cover the wire between your loop and your beads. Try to be consistent and use the same number of wraps each time. While wrapping the wire, keep the wire tail that you are wrapping perpendicular to the wire that you are wrapping it around.
Step 11: When you have completed your wrap, you will need to cut the excess wire. Do this with your flush cutter, holding the flat side of your cutter toward the finished piece as shown at right.
Step 12: When you have cut the excess wire, you will have a very small wire tail that will stick out at the cut end of the wire. If done correctly it will only protrude about 1mm, but even this small amount is too much so we need to squeeze and twist this wire tail flat. This is done by holding your loop in your bent chain nose or fine chain nose pliers as shown and using a second pair of chain nose or flat nose pliers, squeezing and slightly twisting, so that the small wire tail will lay flat and not protrude. When done correctly, the small wire tail will disappear as shown at right.
This completes your wrapped loop. These same steps will apply if you are using this loop to connect a bead dangle and head pin in earrings and/or necklace, or if you are making a wrapped loop as a component in a chain. If more detailed instructions would help you to better understand this skill, we suggest purchase of our "Wire Design Basics" online book.