Wire wrapped pea pod charm

I first learned of these adorable pea pod pendants from a class offered by the Meetup group. I didn’t actually take the class, but during the herringbone bracelet class, the instructor mentioned it’s the same weave for the pea pod pendant. (I don’t know why the photos in the post are so blurry. They’re sharp when I am editing the draft. You can click on them to see a slightly larger image.)

Length (including the loop) is 2.2 cm, width is 0.5 cm.

Length (including the loop) is 2.2 cm, width is 0.5 cm.

I watched some video tutorials online. In the first one, the wire was bent in half and you wrapped both ends of the wire around the beads. I didn’t like it because it looked messy, but now I think it’s just the way those particular ones were made. In the second video that I watched, she wrapped one end of the wire, much like the herringbone weave. I thought I liked that version better, so that was the one I tried first, except I put it on a headpin. After making it, I decided to try the first version, and to my surprise, I liked it better. It also gives you two tendrils. Of course, my first attempt would be to make it tiny! I had some green 3mm round beads that were lying around unused. (I bought them because they were cheap and I thought I could do something with them, but when they arrived they didn’t look quite like how I imagined.) The only green 26 gauge wire that I have is sea green colored. I wonder if there isn’t enough contrast between the color of the beads and the wire, but since that’s what I have, that’s what I used.

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Arranged from left to right in the order that they were made.

As you can see in the photo above, the leftmost one was made by wrapping one wire. Hence, it only has one tendril. I wasn’t completely satisfied with it, so I gave the two-end wrapping a try. (Plus, I messed up when wrapping the loop, resulting in a gap.) The shape of the second one is my favorite, though I’m not sure what I did differently. I didn’t finish it because I had used a piece of previously used scrap wire, thinking it would just be a test. I might take it apart to reuse the beads and headpin, since the previous bends in the wire and parts where the color had come off are visible. After that, I made the rest using the two-ended method. My next best one was the fourth one. When shaping the fifth one, I accidentally nicked off the color with the pliers. I didn’t time how long it took me to make one, but they didn’t take long to make. P1100803eq Since my pendants are small and light—more like charms—I decided to make them into earrings. My major concern is that the tendrils might get caught in hair. I wore them for a couple hours and had no problems, but I was careful to keep my hair away from them. Another concern is that the 26 gauge wire might not be strong enough to withstand bending, so the pea pod could get deformed easily. More testing is necessary before I can make these for sale or give them as gifts.

Tiny Tree of Life Pendants

A couple of nights ago I was lying in bed when I thought I should attempt to make a tiny Tree of Life pendant (more like a charm). It actually wasn’t my idea; I had read about a challenge to make a wire wrapped Tree of Life that’s smaller than a nickel.

Yesterday evening I gave it a try, and here’s the result.

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The nickel is in there for scale. My use of purple seed beads would make these resemble flowering Jacaranda mimosifolia.

I struggled at first with making the frame, because I thought a wrapped loop would look disproportionately large on a small ring. That’s why I did the three loops, and secured the ends of the ring when wrapping the tree branch. Then I discovered the three loops are practically impossible to replicate exactly. (It’s possible that I just need a lot more practice, or maybe it can be done using a jig.) At first I thought I would use these charms for earrings, since they’re small and light, but then decided against it. When it comes to earrings, I prefer that the frames be close to identical. I don’t mind if the trees aren’t identical, because it’s even more difficult to make identical trees than it is to make identical frames. (But if people actually want mismatched earrings that don’t look deliberately mismatched—like the outer two in the photo above—then I’ll make them.)

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Although the trees aren’t identical, the size and style of the frames are similar enough for me to use them for earrings.

The tree part was actually fairly easy and enjoyable to make. I used 26 gauge wire for it, so it’s easy to bend. It takes me about half an hour to make one piece from start to finish, so I am seriously considering selling these. Because they are so small, there’s no room for complicated details, so the design remains simple, and I like that.

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The smallest one has a 1.4 cm diameter, and the larger one has a 1.6 cm diameter.

I made the ring by wrapping the 18 gauge wire around a ring mandrel. I started out at size 5. Making the tree was easier than I thought it would be. Then I decided to try size 2. Once again, no problem. To challenge myself more, I tried size 1. (After wrapping the loop, the ring got smaller so that it no longer fit on the mandrel.) That one actually was challenging, and it took the longest to make. I’m satisfied that the whole piece fits on a nickel. I don’t plan to make another one like that any time soon.

DSCF7437qThe next morning, I couldn’t wait to try to make more, with wrapped loops, so they could be used for earrings. My fingers were still sore from the night before, so I didn’t have as good control of the wire as I would have liked. It took three attempts before I had two frames that were close enough in size, but during the process I scraped the silver plating off the wire on one of them. However, it’s not noticeable after I wrapped the 26 gauge wire on.

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Clip-on earrings, because I don’t have pierced ears, but I have ear hooks for those who do. This one has a 1.6 cm diameter.

Wired rings that I made

A couple of weeks ago, I took a class on how to make wired rings. I finally got around to finishing them now. We learned how to make six styles in all. Everyone got the same kinds and colors of beads to use, which explains why some of them are not what I would choose, but we brought our own wire.

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The numbers indicate the order in which they were made.

These rings are made by wrapping wire around a mandrel. We first needed to find our ring size for the fingers we wanted to wear the rings on. I prefer to wear rings on my index fingers, so I made my rings accordingly. Unfortunately, it’s easy for the wire to slip on the mandrel from one size to another, or for the coil to loosen after removing it from the mandrel, as many of my classmates experienced. I was lucky that most of my rings ended up the correct size or close enough. For all of them except #6, we were taught to wrap the wire one size larger than the desired size. For #6, it was half a size larger. This is necessary because wrapping the wires around the shank (to secure the ends and keep the ring together) will make the ring smaller.

My first ring was kind of messed up but it was still wearable. The second one turned out nice, but I think the third one (with the button bead made from bone) turned out the best out of all the ones I made that day. It was actually the easiest one to make.

My “rose” ring (#4) ended up much larger than I intended because I accidentally unhooked the connection between the two ends of the wire. (I was aiming to make it a 6.5, but it ended up a size 10.) I didn’t feel like picking at the coils to make them look more like rose petals out of fear of destroying the whole thing. It’s green because I didn’t want to use my silver wire for it and the only other 20 gauge wire that I had with me that day was green. It was the design I was least interested in, but it might look lovely in pink if I ever buy pink wire.

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I hope to redo the one with the three crystals, since it was done a bit messy. I think I will use a different silver plated wire that is dead soft copper instead of half hard, so it’ll be easier to work with.

The last ring we made was the one with dangles. At first I wasn’t too enthusiastic about it, but after finishing it, I like what I got. We ran out of time to complete that one in class, so I finished making the dangles on my own. Everyone’s designs probably turned out different. I was afraid of accidentally cracking the crystals while making a wrapped loop, so I made simple loops when crystals were right under the loop. But to have balance (3 simple loops, 3 wrapped loops), I hesitantly made a wrapped loop for the last crystal I added. I also was concerned that simple loops might get pulled open too easily and I would lose the crystals (even though this is 20 gauge medium temper wire). I didn’t want to only make coils at the bottom of all of them, so I tried (for the first time) the design with the three loops, which I had seen in a book. Once again, there were 3 coils and 3 of those loopy things, for balance.

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I am happy with the result.

We were told to file the edges of the wire where it was cut, so it wouldn’t be sharp and cut the wearer. Yesterday I finally got around to filing them, but after filing two of them, I decided I didn’t want to file the rest. It felt as though the filing made the surface rough when it originally was smooth. (I used a flush cutter, so it’s not like the wire is pointed.) It also took off the silver coating and exposed the copper underneath, which is unsightly.

Tree of Life Ornament

Last week I took a class to learn how to make a wire wrapped Tree of Life ornament.

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The second one that I made.

The instructor decided to teach it as an ornament since it would be larger and easier for people to manipulate the wires. She had also made the outer circles and cut the wire for us, since she wasn’t sure they’d have enough tools for everyone to use. That took a lot of the work out of it. The method she taught started it by twisting the wires together to form the trunk. (I was aware that there are two other methods: one that starts from the roots, and one that starts from the leaves.)

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The first one that I made.

All the materials were provided, so I didn’t have a choice in the color of the wire, and the color choice for the beads was limited as well. This was why, by the time I got to my second one, there weren’t enough purple beads for me to finish it entirely in purple. However, given how low the materials fee was, I didn’t mind that much.

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The larger one measures almost 2.5″ across. The smaller one has a 1.75″ diameter. The frame was 12 gauge wire and the tree was made from 26 gauge wire.

The wire wrapped Tree of Life is such an elegant design and it’s fun and easy to make. I definitely want to make more, and make them smaller so that they could be worn as pendants. I’m thinking of giving the bottom to top method a try. There is a pretty good tutorial at Instructables, if you’re interested in making your own.