Thursday, November 15, 2018

Jewellery-Making Basics - How to Turn a PERFECT Loop on Memory Wire

There are a few basic jewellery-making skills that every jewellery maker should master and turning a loop on memory wire is one of them.
How to make a perfect loop in memory wire.

It seems quite straight forward... until you actually go to do it and end up with a lopsided, half-open loop that small beads slide around or catches on your clothes.

But this simple trick will change all that and make your memory wire jewellery look really professional. Read on....

You'll need:
Round nose pliers - this is the style I use.
Memory wire shears. These are absolutely essential. Memory wire is made of steel and trying to cut it with your regular jewellery wire cutters will destroy the cutting blades. I know this from first hand experience! 

Cut the memory wire long enough to go around your wrist PLUS 5cm (2"). This will give you a little more than you need but it's better to have a little extra than not enough.
Using memory wire shears to cut a coil of memory wire.

Grip the very tip of the wire in the jaws of the round nose pliers. How far along the pliers you place the wire will determine the size of the loop. For loops in memory wire, I like to make my loop about 1/3 of the way down from the tip, but how far you choose will depend on the diameter of the jaws of your pliers.
Holding the tip of the memory wire in the round nose pliers.

In this example, I'm showing you how to turn an inward facing loop. With the thumb of your non-dominant hand pressing on the outside of the wire, rotate the pliers inwards to turn a loop. To turn an outward facing loop, you'll rotate the pliers in the opposite direction.
Turning a loop in the memory wire using round nose pliers.

Your loop will still be partially open but this is where my little tip comes in. Instead of trying to rotate the pliers again to close the loop, use the thumb of your non-dominant hand to wrap the memory wire around the jaws of the pliers until it meets the end of the wire.
Pressing your thumb against the wire to finish turning the loop.

It should look like this!
The completed memory wire loop.

You will have formed a perfect loop, with no gap to catch on your clothes or space for little beads to slide around.
Perfectly formed inward facing loop on memory wire.

Now that you know how to make perfect loops in memory wire, go make some wonderful jewellery.

Here's some designs to get you started:
Blush Memory Wire Bracelet
Christmas Tree Memory Wire Cuff
Scalloped Christmas Choker Necklace

Pin this Jewellery Technique!
Jewelry technique project sheet - How to turn a loop on memory wire

'Til next time.....

If you can't get enough of My Tutorials and you want even more inspiration, click here to find my books and printable pdfs

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Scalloped Christmas Choker Necklace

Red, green and gold might be the traditional colours at Christmas but why not shake things up and put a modern spin on them? Here, I've swapped the usual emerald green out for a more muted olive tone which works really well with the soft gold dagger beads. The combination of textures, colours and finishes make this Christmas choker a stand out!

Christmas choker featuring red drop beads on gold scallops with olivine accents.

Here's a shopping list of what you'll need:

Tools: Chain nose pliers; flat nose pliers, round nose pliers, flush cutters, memory wire shears, ruler

Cut the 26g wire into one 30cm (12”) length and two 15cm (6”) lengths. String the pointed oval dagger bead on the 30cm (12”) length, approximately 30mm (1 ¼”) from one end. Bend the wire on either side of the bead holes and then bend the wires upwards at the point of the bead.

Wire strung through a top-drilled red dagger bead.

Wrap the short wire around the longer wire two or three times to create a neck. Trim the short wire close to the wraps.
Wrapping the wire in neat coils around the neck just above the dagger bead.

Place the round nose pliers just above the wire wrapping and wrap the long wire around the jaw to create a loop.
Using round nose pliers to form a loop for hanging the dagger bead.

Remove the round nose pliers and grip the loop with the chain nose pliers whilst you continue wrapping the wire down the neck until you reach the top of the bead.
Wrapping the wire back down the neck of the wrapped loop.

Hold the bead with one hand and continue wrapping the wire down the bead until you have covered the bead holes.
Wrapping the wire neatly around the top of the bead.

Bring the wire back up to the neck of the wire and wrap it two or three times around the neck.
Wrapping the wire neatly around the top of the wrapped loop.

Trim away the excess wire. Wire wrap the top of the two faceted tear drops in the same way using the 15cm (6”) wires.
Using flush cutters to cut the wire close to the neck of the loop.

String each of the olive beads on a head pin and bend them at 90° just above the bead.
Using flat nose pliers to bend a head pin at right angles above the bead.

Trim the head pins to 3/8” and turn a simple loop on each one.
Forming a simple loop on an olivine bead dangle using round nose pliers.

Cut five 7.5cm(3”) lengths of 22g wire. Turn a loop on one end of one wire.
A piece of wire with a loop formed on the end

String five gold tube beads on the wire, the loop of the pointed dagger and five more tube beads. Turn a simple loop.
Length of wire strung with gold tube beads and red dagger drop.

Shape it into a curve and then use the flat nose pliers to grip the loops and bend them up and to the side so that they can be strung on the choker in a later step.
A beaded scallop component with a red dangle drop.

Repeat steps 12 and 13 but string four tubes on each side of the tear drops and three beads on each side of the Czech daggers.
Five scalloped drop components

Use the memory wire shears to cut 1 ½ coils of memory wire. Turn an outward facing loop on one end and string 31 tube beads. String the first loop of the Czech dagger component, three tube beads, a 6mm olive bead, and three tubes.
Stringing the first scalloped component

Hook on the second loop of the Czech dagger component.
Stringing pattern for the scalloped necklace.

String on a gold dagger and the first loop of a tear drop component.
Two scalloped components being strung on the memory wire.

String on three tubes, the tri-cut round, three tubes, the second loop of the tear drop component and a gold dagger. Hook on the first loop of the pointed dagger component, three tubes and the helix bead. This is the center of the necklace. Complete the other side of the necklace to match the first.
Two beaded scallops strung on the memory wire.

Trim the memory wire to 3/8” and turn an outward facing loop.
Turning an outward facing loop on the end of the memory wire.

Scalloped Christmas Choker displayed on a jewellery bust.
Finished Length: 42cm (16 ½”)

Pin this Project!
Scalloped Christmas Choker inspiration sheet

'Til next time....

If you can't get enough of My Tutorials and you want even more inspiration, click here to find my books and printable pdfs