Simply Beautiful Wire and Gemstone Drops
In this tutorial, we are focusing on Oval Drop Beads.
Drop beads are drilled from side to side, near the top of the bead.
This technique can also be used on Pendant beads and gemstones. Pendant beads and stones are drilled from front to back, near the top of the stone.
By wrapping the loops, we add strength and durability to the connection.
The technique also adds texture and contrast by embellishing the bead for a more ornate look.
You can use the components in your jewelry designs as focal points or as multiple embellishments.
Let’s take a look at the materials and tools you will need for this tutorials and then we will get started. I have included my affilitate links where available.
By using my links, you help support the free content on this site. TYIA
Tools and Materials
The beads I used are long oval Turquoise Drops, that measure 22 x 8 millimeters.
The gauge of wire is determined by the size of the hole drilled through the bead. The goal is to use as thick and sturdy of a wire that your bead can handle. But not so thick that you run the risk of breaking your bead.
I used 22 Gauge Copper.
I picked the beads up at Joann’s.
The technique is very similar to adding a wire wrapped loop to a regularly drilled round bead.
We have to make a few adjustments to account for the pointed tip of the drop beads.
The first step is to measure and cut the wire.
The length you need is also determined by the bead and how long you want the wrapped section to be above the bead. It is better to have a little more wire than to cut the wire short. This gives you a little wiggle room, in case you need to make any adjustments or restart.
For this tutorial, I used 6 inch lengths of 22 gauge bare copper wire.
- If you are planning to patina the wire, used bare copper.
- If you like the shiny look of copper, use a tarnish resistant wire.
The wire should be flush cut on both ends then filed smooth and flat.
Check out my tutorials in Wire Work Basics, if you need help with these steps.
- Position the wire through the bead with 2/3’s of the wire on one side.
- Using your finger, work one side at a time, push the wire against the point of the bead until the wire crosses over the tip of the bead.
- Repeat this on the other side until the wires cross over at a 90 degree angle to the tip of the bead.
The tip of the bead, needs a small space to move freely or the bead may crack or break.
Next, we want to bend the wires upward, one side at a time, at the intersection where they wires crossed over.
- You can use your chain nose pliers or a strong fingernail to make the bend nice and crisp.
- Use the pliers to flatten the wires, side by side. They should no longer cross over eachother at this point.
Now we are going to trim the shorter wire to the length we want the wraps to be.
- I measured 3/8’s inch up from the bend.
- Use the flush side of the cutters towards the bead and snip off the excess wire.
Forming the Loop
Poistion the tip of the chain nose pliers, gripping the longer wire in the barrels.
The top of the barrel should be level with the top of the short wire.
Bend the long wire over the outer barrel of the pliers to form a 45 degree angle.
Next you will determine how big of a loop you prefer.
I have talked about marking your round nose pliers with a permanent marker to insure you make the same size loops on multiples of a project.
You have the option of using the multi-step looping pliers to achieve the same goal in the next step.
Position the pliers parallel to the bead below, at the bend you made on the long wire.
- Using your forefinger, push the wire up and over the top barrel of the pliers.
- Continue pushing the wire on the other side until it becomes parallel to the bead and pliers.
- Rotate the pliers so that the free barrel is on the top, while still parallel to the bead below.
- Push the long wire under the lower barrel until your loop is formed and the wire is at a 45 degree angle to the bead once more.
Ready to Wrap
- Flip the component so that the long wire is pointed outward.
- Grasp the loop with your chain nose pliers, as close to the bottom of the loop as possible.
- The long wire should be parallel to the barrel of the pliers again.
We will work in half rotations for the best results.
- Using a second pair of pliers, grasp the tip of the long wire.
- As you bring the wire under the stone to begin the first wrap, over extend the wire slightly, towards the backside of the pliers, to get the wrap as close to the loop as you can.
- Stop when the wire is parallel to the pliers on this side of the bead.
- Reposition the pliers on the long wire.
- Wrap the wire across the top, keeping the wrap tight near the loop.
Repeat the half rotations with the long wire until you come to the spot where you bent the wires upwards.
Keep the coils tight against the previous wraps for a neat finished look.
If you are making mulitples of the component, count the number of half rotations.
For the best results, you want to end up on a half rotation. For example, if I have 4 copmplete wraps, I have made 8 half rotations.
Add one last half rotation to bring the wire to the back side of the project before cutting the wire. I have made 9 half rotations before cutting the wire.
With the back side of your flush cutters towards the coils, snip off the excell wire.
Use the chain nose pliers to tuck the tip of the wire flat against the base.
Use you fingers to make sure y ou do not feel any sharp edges.
That is it for today’s tutorial. I hope you enjoyed making the simple but elegan wire wrapped drop bead components.
Have a great time adding these beautiful drops to your designs.
Coming soon to Wire Wrapping Basics……
We are going to take our new skills in Spirals and Wire Wrapped Gemstone Drops to the nexto level.
Until then, have a beadutiful day.