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July 06, 2013

Free Pictorial Wire Wrap Earring Tutorial - Ugh!

This one makes me a little sad.  I was very pleased with my results from the Free Tutorial for Wire Wrap Framed Gemstones that I must have forgotten my skills.

You see, I'm not very fond of coiling wire and I don't think I'm very good at weaving it either.  I'm not sure whether I'm not patient enough, precise enough, or I just don't find the zen in the technique.  It's just me, so I rarely do projects that involve coiling or weaving.

But, I really liked these earrings from my Free Jewelry Tutorials Pinterest board.  It seemed like the next logical progression from my simple wire frame pendants.  Wow - was I wrong.

First - the tutorial is a pictorial only.  Which makes it look easy, but you have to figure out the materials for yourself.  For those of you who feel you are up to making these earrings, here's what I found worked.

2 large holed 8 mm beads (mine are ceramic) - they could be larger I think
2 pieces of 20g wire, 6 to 8 inches long for the frame
26g wire for the coils (At least 30 inches - but I wouldn't know since I ran out!!)

All is well so far.  The frame was fairly simple.  There were a few tricks to make it even on both sides though.  I wanted the frames to be about 1 1/2" long, so before I wrapped the frame wires up around the bead, I used Sharpie to make a mark at the 2 inch spot.  This let me know where to make the wrap and loop for the top without guessing.

But then came the coiling - which is where the tutorial just doesn't give enough details.  It was coming out 'OK', even though I could tell it wasn't the same as the tutorial - BUT then I ran out of coiling wire... and it was tedious and hard and I wanted an easier way. (Yes, I am whining just thinking about it!)  I always think I can find a better way of making something - so that's what I tried next.  I think a normal person would have added a new wire and called it a day.

 I made another frame and decided instead of coiling on the frame, I would make two 1 inch coils and slide them onto the frame.  Time savings - phenomenal!  I think I'm a genius about now.

Now, I try to do the weaving.  Ugh!  It's still tedious and now the problem is that the higher I get up the frame, the wire keeps slipping off the coils because of the angle.  The little light bulb goes off above my head again, and I decide I'll weave with macrame cord instead.  It looks really pretty in a neutral green that matches the ceramic bead - but slipping is still a problem.  I almost resorted to crazy glue because I really wanted to get these done!!

What I should have done is separate the coils a little to make room for the wire or cord, but I was already out of patience and didn't want to ruin the frame.  So, that's as far as I got with these earrings.

Of course, like everything else I do, I look at them today and think - eh, not so bad.  I'll probably try the weaving method I started in the first picture again - but with much more wire.  I'll also mark the spots where I want the wraps to go to the center so I can make them even without counting coils.

The second frame took so much less time than the first, I consider it a far better technique once I can resolve how to make the wires or cord stay on the coil.  I've thought about using pieces of coil instead of one long one, which would give me a natural break to wrap between.  It would also resolve how to space the wraps to the center.

In any event, if you have advice - please let me know.  I'll probably let these sit until next week while I consider my options.


  1. Hi Lisa, I stumbled upon this after finding your pic of how you store your macramé cord and wire coils. I like your design here. Here's my idea of how you could make this design easier to execute: Since you found it easier to premake the wire coils and slide them onto your wire frame, why not carry that same technique through to the "branches" that connect your inner bead to the outer frame? In other words, you could cut separate pieces of wire to length, do tiny loops at either end, and then slide them onto your frame between smaller lengths of wire coil, also attaching them to your center bead loop. BTW, I'm also verrrrrry interested figuring out the Miguel Ases earrings. I have done lots of brick stitch mandalas, including using a central metal component. But some of the weaving of the different shapes seems to me to alternate between brick stitch and other techniques, like maybe netting or something. Would love to compare notes......I did find a tute on incorporating larger and different-shapes beads into brick stitch which was helpful and have worked on getting some different shapes.
    --Destiny Hunt

    1. Hi Destiny - Thanks for the ideas. I actually tried a couple of different techniques to make these earrings and none worked to my satisfaction. I've moved on...
      I'm still playing with the Miguel Ases style earrings and have found that learning some more bead stitches is going to be helpful. I really love the books by Beth Stone on Seed Bead Stitching - you can see the books and some of the projects I've one on my reading blog here:
      I'd like to compare notes some time - but I'm not sure how to find you. I added you to my circles in Google+, but I'm also on Facebook and Pinterest and Twitter and Instagram and... :)

  2. Hi Lisa, I actually don't have much of an online presence but I do have a pinterest page under Destiny Hunt aka grammadestiny. There's a brick stitch board there with ideas and tutorials and there's a jewelry tutorials board. I also have a few pictures I snapped while doing some experiments with different shapes in brick stitch, and I'm an absolute hoarder of online tutorials. Another artist you might like is Marie Geraud, if you haven't already found her. She's in the process of changing her websites and eliminating the one that had beadweaving tutorials, some free and some for sale. She combines modified square stitch and netting and does some great cab surrounds for the center of her pieces. LMK if you want me to email you some brick stitch pics - my email is Now I'm off to go check out your Pinterest boards.....
    Take care,
    Destiny :-)

  3. In order to make this work its necessary to create a gap in the coiling, then there is a place to wrap your wire directly to the frame, so coil up to the point you want the wire attached, then wrap the wire, then take up the coiling again, hope that makes sense, it does in my head anyway! Love your blog!