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April 22, 2017

Free Herringbone Wire Wrap Link Tutorial

You know how people say be careful what you post on the internet, that it will be there forever?  That's not entirely true.

How do I know?  Because I link to all sorts of articles and tutorials, and over time, they disappear and the links go to pages that aren't found or are re-directed to content that is different from what I intended.  

Of course, those articles aren't the same as the pictures of you doing something embarassing that you don't want your co-workers, boyfriend or mother to see.  Those probably will be there forever.

Free herringbone wire weave tutorial

One of the things I've started doing is re-visiting my old blog posts and making sure they are still good. I took this on because I know some things have changed.  And some of those changes are exciting!

For one, the site that I have been writing beadwork articles for,, has changed.  

They have slowly been chipping off chunks into vertically oriented sites (which means groups of more closely related topics).  So, the beadwork site is now part of a home oriented site call The Spruce with articles focused on food, garden, crafts, decor, repair, pets and family.  You can still go directly to the beadwork or jewelry making pages where you will find tutorials and project instructions.

It's one of those good news / bad news scenarios.  

The good news is that I've been helping them prepare for the move for well over a year by improving the articles with updated text and pictures, as well as eliminating duplicate content by condensing information.  And the site looks beautiful with a pinterest style layout.  

The bad news is that a lot of information didn't come forward to the new site.  There was just was too much stuff and a lot of it wasn't being read.  

Where does all of that extra stuff go?  Yes, contrary to popular opinion that it remains on the internet forever, it gets removed and the old address either gives a page not found error or redirects to what is hopefully similar information.

So, that brings me full circle to one of the reasons why I am working back through old blog posts - I've noticed some of my links are broken and there are gaps.

One of those is today's post - a free tutorial for herringbone wire wrap links.  I originally learned the technique from a free tutorial by Eni Oken, but it is gone - so I figured I would create a new one.

This tutorial will show you how to surround a bead with herringbone weave.  

For the example, I used 24g gold colored craft wire and a 12 mm faceted aqua glass bead.  You can try this with a variety of wire and bead sizes, but you will need to adjust the amount of wire you start with (larger bead = more wire).  The wire should be soft and easy to shape because you want it to curve easily around the bead without sharp bends.  You will also need basic wire jewelry tools - flush cutters, round nose and flat nose pliers.

Free herringbone wire weave tutorial

Cut a piece of wire ten inches long.  Straighten it to remove bends or kinks by running it through a polishing cloth or nylon jaw pliers.  Starting 1.5 inches from one end of the wire, make a wire wrapped loop.  My loop wraps around the wire neck five times. Going forward, I will refer to this as the wrapped stem to differentiate it from the wire you are wrapping with.

Free herringbone wire weave tutorial

Add the 10 mm bead and make another wrapped loop of the same size.  Note that I don't trim the tail of the first wire until I have wrapped the second side.  This makes it easy for me to adjust the wrap slightly longer if necessary to keep both sides even.

When the wraps are even, trim the short wire tail so it doesn't get in the way.

Free herringbone wire weave tutorial

Following the curve of the bead, take the long wire and wrap it around the side of the bead.  Make sure the side of the bead that is facing you has the wrap wire on top of the wrapped stem wire, not coming from underneath it.  Curve the wire around the bead and cross the wrap wire on top of the wrapped stem on the other side of the bead.

Free herringbone wire weave tutorial

Keep the wire snug against the side of the bead and wrap the working wire around the wrapped stem wire.  When making the herringbone weave, the wrapping wire will always go over the wrapped stem wire and around one full turn to continue in the same direction so you can wrap on the other side of the bead.

Free herringbone wire wrap tutorial

I typically turn the bead while I am wrapping, so this next picture is after I have wrapped around each side of the bead once.  It looks like a simple wire bezel around the bead.  

It makes a pretty link just like this, but I like to make two or three more wraps around the bead.

Free herringbone wire wrap tutorial

Continue wrapping around the bead making sure that you place the working wire close to the bead but behind the prior wire wrap.

Free herringbone wire wrap tutorial

I think it is easier to see on the darker color bead.  The top wire is the first wrap, the second wrap is sitting just underneath it and the third beneath that.

Continue wrapping the same way by always placing the wrapping wire behind the prior wrap, shaped around the bead and then over the wire wrapped stem, making one full wrap around.  The next picture shows the second round of herringbone complete.

Free herringbone wire wrap tutorial

A third time around is about all you will have enough wire for if you started with ten inches.  It will also cover the wrapped stem wire evenly.  

Free herringbone wire wrap tutorial

Wrap the tail around to the back and trim close to the wrapped stem so it cannot rub or catch on anything.  Below is a view of the backside of the herringbone link.  Notice you mainly see the wrapped stem on this side, while you see the overlapping wrapped wires on the other side.

Free herringbone wire wrap tutorial

Trim the wire and your herringbone link is complete!

Free herringbone wire wrap tutorial

The dark blue herringbone link uses a 6mm glass druk bead in the center.  It also has three herringbone wraps using the same 24g wire.

Free herringbone wire wrap tutorial

Below is the back side of the links.  Pretty, but not as pretty as the front.

Free herringbone wire wrap tutorial

A few tips to help you have good results:
  • Practice with craft or copper wire.  It will take a few times before you get the results you like and good wire is a terrible thing to waste!
  • Don't pull too hard when you are wrapping around the wrapped stem.  It can easily shift off center and your link will come out lopsided.
  • You can wrap the wire directly behind the prior wire sitting flat on the bead or curve it and have it jut out just a little.  If you stay tight to the bead, the resulting link will be more elongated and less wide.  It can be very pretty to make the center a little more rounded by having the wires sit more closely next to each other instead of directly behind the prior wrap on the side of the bead.
  • Try this with a variety of beads.  I have used a small stack of rondelles, or multiple round beads to make a wire wrapped pea pod shape.
I decided the pea pods are pretty cool, so I added a picture of them too.  The tutorial is at the link.  

Free herringbone wire wrap pea pod tutorial

Here is a herringbone wire wrap with beads version.  Tutorial is available at the link.

And just for fun, here are some other (old) herringbone experiments where I didn't place the wire directly behind the prior wrap, but extended it out to the side.  I also left more space between the wraps.  Pretty cool - eh?

Free herringbone wire wrap tutorial

I may have to experiment with this technique some more!!

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  1. Thanks for this update.

  2. Love it! Thank you so much for making it clear and simple.

    1. Glad you think it is clear! Sometimes it feels hard to explain...

  3. This is going to be a lot of work - I have detected a couple of expired links in my old blog posts as well but cannot commit to going back through all of them :( I've been following you for a while and look forward to new posts - thank you for sharing techniques and tips!

    1. It is some work, but I'm actually finding it fun. It leads me back on a path that I know and then I can venture to a new path from there.

  4. This is a nice refresher. I'm familiar with all the methods and results you showed except the last one. That is a great variation with an eye catching look.

    I've also done what I call a half herringbone before, where there's no loop on the one end of the bead. They're a little more tricky to do and you can't go around as many times otherwise the wire will slip with nothing holding it place on the bottom. They do end up with odd numbered wires on each side but were very popular with the customers. Hmm, I may need to revisit this too. :-)

  5. This tutorial taught anyone how to surround a bead with herringbone weave. crystal,clear and simple.!

    thanks Lisa Yang :)