Learn how to add flair to a focal bead with this quick video tutorial. I’ll show you step by step how to create a fun spiral accent and craft a handmade wire bail!
Complete list of supplies and more tips after the video!
TOOLS & MATERIALS:
• Focal bead (the one I used is available here)
• 1 foot 24 gauge wire, half hard (copper, sterling silver, brass, etc.)
• round nosed pliers
• flat nosed pliers
• flush cutters
• Wubber’s large round mandrel pliers (or 1/4″ round mandrel*)
* Any smooth round cylindrical object will work as a mandrel, and you can use any size you want – for example, a pen, marker, dowel rod, etc. Just be sure to use a bit more wire for a larger sized mandrel.
If you’d like a smaller spiral, you could either start the project with a shorter length of wire, or trim the tail to a shorter length before beginning to form the coil. Likewise, of course, if you’d prefer a larger spiral, begin with a longer piece of wire so you have more to work with at this step. Approximately 4 inches of 24 gauge wire yielded a spiral that was 9 mm in diameter.
The bead I used is considered a ‘top-drilled’ bead, also known as ‘side-drilled’. For wire wrapping a ‘front drilled’ focal bead, the technique is exactly the same. The only difference is that your wire is going through the short side of the bead instead of the long side. You will make your spiral the same way on the front of the bead – it will just cover the hole!
If your bead doesn’t have a flat top like mine, don’t worry. Again, the basics are the same. After you thread the wire through your bead, bend the wire up and follow the contour of the bead as best you can, folding the wire up and across the top of the bead until your wires cross.
Find the middle of the top of the bead, and make a 90˚ bend in the longer wire so that it points straight up from the bead. Bend the shorter wire into place as necessary so that it makes an ‘L’ shape, perpendicular to the longer wire. ALWAYS make sure your wire is in this 90˚ formation before you begin wrapping and maintain it as you twist the wire around, and you’re well on your way to perfect wire wraps!
I hope you had fun with this project, and enjoyed my hand-drawn diagrams…what do you think?