My First Wire Bezel

This is the first wire bezel that I’ve ever made. It was done entirely for the sake of practice, which is why a lot of it isn’t right, but I don’t mind. Recently, I signed up for an online wire weaving class on making bezels. (I did a lot of the things my way and showed disregard for instructions when making this one, so I won’t say which class it was because I don’t want to misrepresent it. After I make some more in the proper manner, I’ll include a link to the class in the post.)

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It measures 3.9 cm or 1.5 inches from top to bottom, and the width is 2.9 cm, or a little under 1 and 1/8 inches.

Since I didn’t want to just do a practice weave for the sake of practicing, I decided to use my practice wires to make an actual bezel. I had a ceramic heart that I made for the sake of testing an underglaze color. (See? Even my test tiles are not just in the shape of tiles and were made to have other possible purposes.) At first it was destined to become a magnet, but after seeing some other people wire wrap (not weave) a bezel for a heart-shaped stone, I realized that it was possible to weave a bezel for a heart-shaped cabochon.

This project was different to begin with because in the class we were taught to use 30-40 mm cabochons. (I have subsequently made various cabochons that size but they’re currently being fired and I will have to glaze them.) My ceramic heart is about 26 mm at its widest. That was why I only left two inches of wire on each side for my bail, instead of three. I decided to make my bail smaller, so it would be proportionate to the rest of the pendant.

P1090896cqAlthough I measured my “stone” all the way around, and wove that length, I discovered that I didn’t want the weaving to go all the way into the “dip” in the heart, so I had to cut off the extra weaving. Since this is practice and I didn’t want to waste wire (even though it’s just silver plated copper), I straightened the pieces to reuse them. (That’s usually not advised because the wire would have already hardened some from being manipulated and would be harder to work with and more likely to snap.) I used one of the 26 gauge pieces for weaving the bail, even though we were told to use 28 gauge wire for that. Unfortunately, it was too short, so I ran out and needed to add more wire, from the spool. The other piece was used on the backside, which explains why it looks kind of crinkled and might not feel smooth to wear comfortably. But that’s fine since this piece was intended for practice only anyway.

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There’s no color on the backside of the cabochon because I can’t put glaze on the bottom of pieces or else they’ll stick to the kiln shelf. In order to make ceramic beads, I’ll need to buy a wire tree to hold them, but I’m too cheap and lazy to at this point in time.

I know that I need more practice because I had a hard time keeping the warp wires the same width apart, and it’s noticeable from the sides.

P1090900qSo even though I cut a lot of corners and used entirely different materials from those suggested in the course, and made something less than perfect, I got some practice and I am still happy with the result.

My second woven wire cuff

This week I started making another woven wire cuff. It is the same design as the one I made a couple weeks ago, but in different colors and a smaller size (to fit my 6-inch wrist).

The color of the weaving wire didn’t appear correctly in the photos. I tried adjusting it, but couldn’t get it to match exactly. (If you’re wondering, I used 26 gauge Artistic Wire® in Peacock Blue. I didn’t buy it from this site, but the color in their photo looks most like it.)

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Given what I had learned the first time around, I knew to do some things a bit differently, such as trying to leave more room between the top and bottom wires so I can have an easier time securing the coils in place. To minimize waste, I measured out a length of wire that I believed would fit me for the outermost wires, while leaving the middle wires long for the embellishments. I still ended up cutting off about 1 and a half inches from one of those wires, so if I were to do this project again, I would adjust the lengths of the three middle wires as well, even though it’s a bit clumsy to weave when the base wires are different lengths.

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Once again, the embellishments were the hardest part. I feel stressed out when I do them because I don’t want to accidentally knock off the colored coating from the weaving wires. It’s also difficult to decide how I want to position the coils.

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I think it looks quite nice at this stage, but it’s not practical to wear because the loose coils can get caught in things.

There are three things that I am concerned about when doing the embellishments. The first is how the wrapped wire looks. Unfortunately, this time I had forgotten to do the weave for three wires that I had done last time. I didn’t feel like taking apart my work again, so I kept it that way. Since I did not have any instruction on what to do with the ends of the wires, they are challenging for me. I need to make sure the sharp ends of the wires are tucked away so that the bracelet is comfortable and the wearer doesn’t get scraped. Also important is securing the ends so that they don’t come apart.

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I had a hard time deciding what to do with my coils. Although I think they’d look more interesting sticking out more from the cuff, it’s usually better to have them stay as close to the cuff as possible to prevent them from accidentally snagging on anything. Since I didn’t want to copy the example design exactly, I left one coil sticking out completely. After I finished securing that wire in place, I thought it would be better if the coil were lying against the cuff, but it’s too late to change it because I don’t want to undo and then redo that part. I figured that I’ll be careful when I wear it. If I were making it for someone else, I wouldn’t do it that way.

I do think the end result is pretty, though I’m not entirely happy with how it turned out. I don’t plan on making another one of these any time soon, given how my fingers are sore again and my thumb nail chipped again during the process, but after they’ve recovered, I might want to try a different style of a woven cuff.

Woven wire cuff

Saturday I went to a wire weaving class. It was my first time wire weaving, but the instructor said I was pretty good at it. The project that we were making was a cuff bracelet.

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We were given 18 gauge copper wire for the base wires, so I decided to use my purple (actually “grape” colored) 26 gauge wire for the wrapping.

We were told to push the wrapped work up every few layers since this weave tends spring back. I wrapped quite tightly so I couldn’t push it much, but the instructor was still able to push it back some. Since I kept pushing my weaving up while I was doing it, I ended up chipping my thumb nail.

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The class was two and a half hours long, but I stayed for three hours. The instructor was very helpful. By the end of the class, I had the basic cuff with the clasp completed, but I had to do the embellishments on my own. My fingers were sore, so I didn’t work on it the rest of the night and next day.

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Yesterday morning I finally finished it. I will be honest: I had no idea what I was doing when I was doing the embellishments, but I still had fun! I accidentally scraped off the purple coating from parts of the cuff. 😦 I wish I hadn’t wrapped the top and bottom wires so tightly, because I could have used some more space to wind the wires that were holding the coils in place. It’s a learning experience.

I actually made my cuff a bit too large for my wrist, which made the wires for embellishing shorter. I might do the project again in different colors and make it my size.

Bead and wire herringbone bracelet

Yesterday I attended a class in which I learned to make this bracelet.

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I didn’t have time to finish the whole thing during the two-hour class, so I finished it at home. We were told that we needed about eight beads, and I had completed seven sections during the class. Since I have a small wrist, I only really needed to make five sections and the clasp to have the bracelet fit. The clasp that I used was one that I had made in a previous class in December, so all the metal parts were made by me.

I had a bit of a hard time doing the weave since sometimes I do things as a left handed person would, meaning that what I make is a mirror reflection of what most right handed persons would make, even though I’m using my right hand. (I started out a lefty but was forced to switch to writing with my right hand.) But I still managed to copy the instructor’s example.

One problem that I ran into was how my wire looked very scrunched around the beads. At least that was partially fixed by bending the ends backward and pushing the beads forward. I could have also made more layers if I had been using a thinner wire, such as 24 gauge or 26 gauge. At first I was thinking that I didn’t want to do this project again, but I might try it again with 24 gauge wire, and do some of the other variations on the outermost layer.

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As you can see, my weave was a bit messy. The seed beads on the outside are iridescent, but the colors didn’t show up that well in the photo.