September 11, 2015

Two Ways to Wire Wrap Undrilled Stone Pendants

Whether it's beach glass, shells, polished stones from a tourist place or a rough stone picked up along a hike - I have tons of these stones that I know could do so much more than sit in a bowl.

I decided to start with a couple of easy, but very pretty, techniques to wrap undrilled stones.

I came up with two different ways to wrap them - the traditionalist approach that uses hardware store wire (actually - any wire you use for jewelry making, it doesn't have to come from the hardware store!) and basic wire wrapping tools, or the component approach combining a really pretty pre-made component with your stone and a little wire.

This is the traditional wire wrap approach to making a pendant from an undrilled stone. It uses 24g copper wire for the wraps.

Select a stone to wrap and cut two pieces of 24 gauge wire about 6 inches long. Note that the exact size will depend on the size of your stone. Cross the wires in the center and twist them together. These wires will align along the side of the stone, so make sure it is at least half the length of the stone.

Hold the section you just wrapped on the side of the stone. Decide which side of the stone will be the top and which will be the bottom. Take the two loose wires and wrap one wire around the front and one around the back of the stone. These wires are going to be used to form a basket that the stone will be secured in.

When you are satisfied with the placement of the wire, secure the size by twisting the two wires together.

Remove the stone and twist the wire together until it is approximately the same length as the twist on the other side.

Place the stone back in the basket and adjust as necessary. Bring one wire from each side to the front and back of the stone.

Twist the wires together on the front and then on theback side of the stone. Make sure these twists are towards the top of the stone, but are tight enough that they will secure the stone in the wire basket.

Continue to twist these wires for at least an inch or more. These wires will be used to secure the stone and make the bail to hang the pendant.

Wrap one wire around the other and trim the end. You will still have one twisted wire coming off the top of the stone.

Using round nose or bail making pliers, make a loop to hang your pendant. The size of the loop will depend on the chain you plan to use for your pendant. Stone pendants look great on chain, jute or leather cords. Secure the loop by wrapping over the previous wrap and cut the end.

Add a necklace hain and enjoy wearing your new stone pendant.

This is a super easy way to wrap stones and it works well with many different sizes and shapes. For smaller stones, you may want to use a thinner wire and larger stones may look better and be more secure with a thicker wire.

Best of all, it doesn't take long before you are pretty good at it. Maybe it's even a little addictive... I plan to darken some of these with liver of sulfur patina eventually, which I think will make the stones pop even more.

When I was digging through my jewelry supplies, I found these components from Beadalon called Artistic Wire Wrappers. I'm not wild about the name, which is confusing for someone who is always writing about wire wrapping, but the components themselves are very cool.

I'm not sure how I overlooked them for so long except I forgot I had the box of goodies entirely.

I had a lot of trouble deciding which shape to use - but the hexagon shape wrapper seemed a little more unusual for an undrilled stone. I'm thinking of making earrings using the teardrop shaped ones (which they call pear shaped).

And I really, really, really like it! I used gold filled wire for the wrapping.

It's such a simple pendant, but a great reminder of our summer trip to the Calico Ghost Town outside of Las Vegas - which is where my daughter and I picked out the stones from one of those huge bins.

Follow the link to the free tutorial to make the pendant using the undrilled stone and wire wrapper component - but it is really, really, easy.  You may even be able to figure it out from just looking at the picture. The best part, is that you can make whatever pattern you want just by deciding which groove you want to put the wire in.

These frames works great with beads too.

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  1. Hi Lisa, thanks for being here and sharing all of your great techniques!

    1. You're welcome. Thanks for being here and commenting!

  2. This is awesome - I now know what to do with my teardrop (pear-shape) jade!

  3. I have plenty of small undrilled stones and had no idea what to do with them. I do like the frames you featured further down and wondered where I might be able to obtain some from?

  4. WoW! Loving your swag. Instructions easy to follow, thanks

  5. Wire wrapping stones that my boys and I have collected over the years is the reason I became interested in making my own jewelry. Your website is one of the first I learned to turn to for good advice. Now I'm creating all kinds of unique jewelry for me and my daughter-in-law. Thank you for creating a dependable and informative website and for bringing instructions like the ones above to people like me who actually want to do it and do it right. Thanks again, I look forward to learning much more from you.

    1. Thank you for your comments. I find that jewelry making is often a very personal journey started for a reason like you state above - a desire to keep special memories close. I'm glad that I could provide instructions that you find helpful.

  6. Hi Lisa ,
    I hv found your blog website to be very useful with tons of ideas flowing into my creative brain.

  7. Hi Lisa, I have bookmarked your page on this wire wrapping project. Excellent work and easy to follow. I'm excited to start my own project. Thank you!

  8. Great instructions on tha basket technique. I used Texas agate for one and i impressed myself. Thank you!

  9. Finally a wire technique I can actually do. Do you think stainless steel is good for wire wrapping? Excellent work!