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Connecting Components w/ Wrapped Bead Links

Instructions for making the wrapped bead link out of jewelry wire and beads using common jewelry tools:

The wrapped bead link is the jewelry making component shown at right.  This link is one of the more important links for connecting jewelry wire components, other wrapped beads links, or segments of commercial chain.  Simplified instructions for making this link can be found here and here.  Better, more detailed instructions are provided in our online book on jewelry making called "Wire Design Basics".  Our best free instructions can be found in our free You Tube video on making wrapped loops.

The following paragraphs provide a few jewelry making tips that I hope will help those who aren't satisfied with their wrapped loops.  These jewelry making tips provide amplification to the instructions provided above.  The Flemish Spiral Bracelet shown below-right shows the power behind this technique.  Once you have perfected making the wrapped bead link you will be able to make a wide variety of necklaces and bracelets. 

Jewelry Making Supplies Required:

• 20 or 22 gauge jewelry wire preferably half-hard

• 4, 6, 8, or 10mm beads

Jewelry Making Tools Required:

• Round Nose Pliers

• Nylon Jaw Pliers

• Flush Cutter

• Chain nose pliers/Bent Chain Nose Pliers(2)

Jewelry Making Skills Required:

• Ability to make a loop in jewelry wire using the round nose pliers jewelry tool.

• Ability to wrap jewelry wire around itself to make a permanent connection.

Tips for Making a Wrapped Bead Link out of jewelry wire and beads using the above set of jewelry tools.

1. 22G jewelry wire are easier to use in making wrapped loops than 20G.  In addition, while you should practice this skill with inexpensive copper wire, you will probably find that soft wire, like copper practice wire, is harder to use in making wrapped loops than is 1/2 hard jewelry wire.

2. When you are trying to perfect this technique, use larger loops.  It is easier to be successful when making a wrapped loop when the loop is larger.  After you have become proficient with this technique, then consider trying smaller loops. 

3. Try to keep the jewelry wire tail that you are wrapping perpendicular to the wire inside the bead as you wrap.  When the jewelry wire is at an angle to the wire inside the bead, you will notice gaps between the successive wraps.

4. When wrapping, it is best to hold the loop that you make with chain nose or bent chain nose pliers while you wrap the jewelry wire.  This helps to retain the shape of the loop (keeps it from distorting out of round) and helps to stabilize the piece as you wrap. 

5. As you are learning this jewelry skill allow yourself more jewelry wire in the wire tail that you wrap around the wire segment inside the bead.  Instead of starting with a bend 1 inch from the end, make the initial bend 1 1/4 or 1 1/2 inch from the end of the jewelry wire.  This will mean that you cut off more excess jewelry wire, but while you are perfecting this skill, you will find it easier if you have a little more wire to work with. 

6. One final jewelry technique to try is to push the jewelry wire tail that you are wrapping with your fingers close to the wire you are wrapping around.  This may make it easier to control the wrap and help to keep the wire perpendicular.  Pushing the wire can be more effective for many people than pulling the wire.

Summary of instructions for making the wrapped bead link out of jewelry wire and beads:

The wrapped bead link is an important jewelry making technique used to connect jewelry wire components in a permanent manner.  Because this link is wrapped, it is very strong and permanent.  We use this link in many of our jewelry making designs.  In this article we discuss several important tips for making the wrapped bead link.  Please note that for a bracelet that will receive a lot of wear, we recommend using 20 gauge jewelry wire.  When making the wrapped bead link, one very important jewelry tool is your bent chain nose pliers.  It is very helpful if the tips of the jaws of your bent chain nose pliers are only 1mm wide.  For beginners who are new to making wrapped bead links, we recommend making larger loops in your wrapped bead link as they will be easier to wrap closed for a beginner.  As you become more comfortable making wrapped links, you can consider making smaller loops in your jewelry wire.  The skill of making a wrapped bead link is very important to making jewelry with jewelry wire and beads.  Practice this skill and it will help you to be a better jewelry crafter.

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