Head Pin - Permanent Spiral

Instructions in how to make a permanent spiral out of soft jewelry wire using the WigJig Spiral Maker jewelry making tool:

What do you do if you have a handmade glass bead with a larger than normal hole? This tends to happen frequently with glass beads made by hand on a cane.  What do you do with a large semi-precious stone like the one shown at right? The answer to both questions may be you make a spiral head pin like the one shown at right. What makes the spiral shown at right special?  The answer is that an ordinary spiral will unravel or pull apart if grabbed.  A normal spiral fails the baby test -- if a baby were to grab the spiral would it pull apart. The spiral shown at right is made so that it will pass the baby test.  It won't pull apart if grabbed by a baby, or if snagged in a sweater. The way we make this spiral, using our WigJig Spiral Maker, allows us to wrap the center wire in the spiral around the outer wire and by doing this we make a permanent spiral that won't pull apart. 

Jewelry Making Supplies Required:

• ​8" of 20 gauge round, soft jewelry wire

• Any large glass bead or semi-precious stone with a top to bottom hole.

Jewelry Making Tools Required:

• Ruler

• Flush Cutter

• Round nose pliers

• Bent chain nose pliers

• Nylon jaw pliers

• Any Wigjig jewelry making tool

• Spiral maker tool for your jewelry making jig

• 10 minutes of free time

Jewelry Making Skills Required:

• Ability to cut jewelry wire with a flush cutter jewelry tool.

• Ability to straighten jewelry wire with nylon jaw pliers jewelry tool.

• Ability to use bent chain nose pliers jewelry tool to bend jewelry wire.

• Ability to use our Wigjig spiral maker tool to make jewelry wire components

Step-by-step instructions in making a permanent spiral head pin out of jewelry wire using WigJig jewelry making tools:

Step 1: Using your nylon jaw pliers straighten a segment of 20 gauge soft jewelry wire about 8 inches long.

Step 2: Using your flush cutter, cut the 8 inches of jewelry wire off of your spool or coil of wire.

Step 3: Place about 1 1/4 inch of jewelry wire through one of the holes in your WigJig Spiral Maker Tool and bend the jewelry wire flat against the bottom surface of the Spiral Maker Tool as shown in the photograph below-left. 

Step 4: This step is optional, but it makes the center of the spiral more rounded.  Grasp the wire with your round nose pliers on the long wire segment, but close to the right angle bend and bend the wire about 180 degrees as shown below-center.

Step 5: After making the 180 degree bend in your jewelry wire, the wire should appear as shown below-right. 

Step 6: Insert the metal peg from your Spiral Maker Tool into a hole in your WigJig jewelry tool.  We suggest that you use a hole close to the edge of the jewelry making jig as shown at right.

Step 7: Pull the jewelry wire around to make a spiral.  Add to the spiral in small increments.  Adjust the tension that you pull with so that the spiral is tight, but not so tight that the jewelry wire will over-ride a prior loop of wire. 

Please see the picture below-left to see how the Spiral Maker Tool is used. 

Step 8: Remove the jewelry wire from your WigJig jewelry tool.  At this point the jewelry wire should appear as shown below-center. 

Step 9: Using your bent chain nose pliers tool, grasp the jewelry wire as close to the outside of the spiral as possible, as shown below-right.

Step 10: Bend the jewelry wire so that the long wire tail points to the center of the spiral as shown at right.

Step 11: Below-left is another view of how your jewelry wire should appear. 

Step 12: Using your bent chain nose pliers jewelry tool grasp the spiral as shown below, left.  Holding the spiral in your pliers preserves the shape of the spiral as we bend the center and outer wires. 

Step 13: Now bend the center wire of the spiral down as shown below-right. 

Step 14: Continue to hold the spiral with your bent chain nose pliers, and bend the center wire from the spiral down again as shown below-left.

Step 15: Now we need to change our grip with the bent chain nose pliers.  Re-position your pliers as shown below right.  This new grip will allow us to preserve the shape of the spiral as we wrap the short wire tail around the long wire segment. 

Step 16: While firmly holding the spiral, wrap the short wire segment around the long wire segment as shown below-left. 

Step 17: When the wrap is completed, your jewelry wire should appear as shown below-center. 

Step 18: Using your flush cutter, you need to cut the excess jewelry wire as shown below-right.

Step 19: Using your bent chain nose pliers or a pair of bent closing pliers jewelry tool, squeeze the cut end of the wire flat as shown below-left.  This step completes a spiral that won't pull apart.

Step 20: From the front of the spiral, your spiral head pin will now appear as shown below-right.

Step 21: Insert your spiral head pin into your glass bead or semi-precious stone until the top of the spiral is in contact with the stone or bead.  See the picture below-left.

Step 22: At this point we need to make a loop at the top of the stone or bead.  We begin the process of making the loop at the top, by gripping the wire immediately above the stone or bead with your bent chain nose pliers jewelry tool and bending the wire 90 degrees as shown below-center. 

Step 23: Now we need to make a larger than normal loop at the top of the semi-precious stone or glass bead.  We want a larger loop than normal so that the end of a chain can pass through the loop.  If you have a very large clasp on your chain, you can connect the bead to the chain after this step is completed, but before the loop is wrapped closed in step 24.  There are a couple of ways to make a larger than normal loop.  The first way is to use your round nose pliers jewelry tool and make the largest possible loop that your pliers can support.  This is done by grasping the wire near the 90 degree bend with your round nose pliers as close to the hinge of the pliers as possible and then making the loop.  The second way is to place a 3/16" or 1/4" Super Peg in your WigJig jewelry tool and use that to make the loop.  Place your bead or stone on your jig, with the 90 degree bend as close to the Super Peg as possible and then wrapping the wire around the Super Peg.

Step 24: Grasp the loop in the jewelry wire with your bent chain nose pliers and hold it firmly.  This preserves the round shape in the loop.  While holding the loop, wrap the jewelry wire around the wire through the center of the stone our bead.  See the picture at right.

Step 25: Using your flush cutter, cut the excess jewelry wire.

Step 26: Where you cut the excess wire, there will be a short wire tail that you will need to squeeze and twist flat.  The best way to do this is to hold the loop with one pair of bent chain nose pliers and squeeze and twist the cut end of the wire with a second pair of chain nose or bent chain nose pliers.  See the picture below-left. 

Step 27: The finished project will appear as shown below center.  Please note that we have oriented the loop at the top so that it is perpendicular to the spiral.  This will allow the spiral to be oriented properly while the pendant is being worn.  You can also use the same steps to make a spiral dangle without the bead as shown below-right.

Summary of making a permanent head pin out of jewelry wire using the WigJig Spiral Maker Tool:

Prior to the invention of our WigJig Spiral Maker Jewelry Tool, it was difficult to make a spiral that was permanent -- that would not pull apart if it were grabbed or snagged.  Because of the way we make spirals with the Spiral Maker Tool, we were able to develop an approach for making a spiral where we wrapped the inner wire of the spiral around the outer wire of the spiral to make a permanent jewelry wire component.  Using the jewelry making instructions shown above, we show how to use one of these permanent spirals as a head pin jewelry making finding for beads and pendants with larger holes.

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