May 26, 2017

Learn to Make a Fancy Scalloped Wire Edge - Free Tutorial

This post has been a long time coming! I decided to make wire leaves following my previous tutorial tutorial so I could make another pair of the leaf dangle earrings.  Revisiting an old design is a great opportunity to see where else you can take it.

Variety of wire leaves made from free tutorials at Lisa Yang's Jewelry Blog

In this case, I decided to combine the leaf shape with a lacy edge that I first made on one of my heart designs.  I realized I never did a tutorial for that edge, so a little over 2 years later - here it is!

This is the lacy edge heart. If you are interesting in making this shape, start with the free wire heart shape tutorial.

Learn to make this wire heart with scallop edge - from a free tutorial at Lisa Yang's Jewelry Blog


In the leave project, my scalloped edge is smaller and more organic than the heart, but it is the same technique.  To make the scallop larger or smaller, you just vary the size of the wire or round object you use to make the scallop.

Learn to make this wire leaf with scallop edge - from a free tutorial at Lisa Yang's Jewelry Blog

I guess I'm getting ahead of myself.  For this leave, the frame is 20g brass wire and the edge is 26g silver fill wire.  Soft wire will work best for the scalloped edge. It will work harden as you wrap it. You will also need a round mandrel to wrap the edge wire around.  That wire is what determines the size of the scalloped edge.

In this case, the mandrel wire is 14g aluminum.  I don't recommend aluminum.  It's too soft.  

A better idea is a hardened wire, like the tip of a solder pick or something made of wood like a toothpick, or a thin wooden skewer.  I'm not wild about pointy things for this though, because you will end up stabbing yourself - but I have used the metal skewers from turkey lacing kits in the past.  They are just angled, not super pointy, but a bit thin.  The wooden skewers are good because you can easily cut them to size and sand down the point - but they are larger in size.

To start, wrap the edge wire around the base frame two or three times to secure it.  Your wrap wire needs to be straight and cut to an appropriate length.  For the leaf edge, I think I used 8 inches of wire. 

Just to give you an idea of how I do it, first I measured a piece of wrap wire 16 inches long because I had no idea how much I would need.  After I finished the first side, I measured how much was left - and it was about 8 inches - just enough to do the next leaf.

To make the scallop, hold the wire mandrel on the edge of the wire shape.  You are going to wrap the wire around the edge like you do to make a coil except the mandrel will be inserted into the loop, making it larger.

Learn to make this wire leaf with scallop edge - from a free tutorial at Lisa Yang's Jewelry Blog

One of the things I find hardest is to keep the mandrel in place.  These pictures show how I rest it between my fingers while I wrap the wire over it.

Learn to make this wire leaf with scallop edge - from a free tutorial at Lisa Yang's Jewelry Blog

Loop the wrapping wire through the center of your frame and pull it through, making sure you don't make any bends, kinks etc.

Learn to make this wire leaf with scallop edge - from a free tutorial at Lisa Yang's Jewelry Blog

See how the wrapping wire sits on top of the mandrel wire, forming a loop?  That's all you need!  There are a couple of other tricks though.  To make the scallops even in shape and size, you'll need to make sure your mandrel loop is held at the same angle each time.  If you allow it to pull forward or move backward, the scallop loop will be smaller.  

With my aluminum wire, this was harder to control.  The alternative in that case is not to sweat it too much and go for a more organic look.

Learn to make this wire leaf with scallop edge - from a free tutorial at Lisa Yang's Jewelry Blog

After you have successfully made the scallop, you will need to make one more plain wrap to keep the shape in place.  Just put the wire around the frame one more time and pull tight before you remove the mandrel from the scallop.

Learn to make this wire leaf with scallop edge - from a free tutorial at Lisa Yang's Jewelry Blog

A larger size frame and better mandrel would have gone a long way to make this more even - but I like the more casual effect.  And yes, I'm still liking the two tone metals.

Learn to make this wire leaf with scallop edge - from a free tutorial at Lisa Yang's Jewelry Blog

Here's a couple of other leave shapes I made.  The silver ones are the same basic instructions as the gold colored ones, but instead of making another loop on the end, I folded the extra wire down the center of the leaf.  I expected this to mimic the vein down the leaf center, but instead I think the shape looks more like a feather - which I like a lot.

Free wire wrapping tutorial: learn to make wire leaves and feathers at Lisa Yang's Jewelry Blog

When I started this project, in the back of my mind I wanted to make another pair of these earrings.  As soon as I find those tourmalines, I will!

Free wire wrapping tutorial: learn to make wire leaves and feathers at Lisa Yang's Jewelry Blog

I hope you enjoy the long Memorial Day weekend.  My sincerest thanks to all the brave men and women who serve, and those who have fallen in service to, our country.

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2 comments:

  1. My wire skills are so sloppy. I probably need to take a step back and work on a few things like this until I improve a bit. As a bonus, these shouldn't take long or use too many materials. Thanks for posting.

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    Replies
    1. Once you practice, it's a pretty simple wire wrap that you can use on the outside of many different wire shapes. I think it even looks pretty when it's a little messy, so I don't think it has to be perfect.

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