Tuesday, April 5, 2011

First Tutorial: How to make Simple Loops to make links and a Great Bracelet!

OK, I am finally going to make a tutorial. I got a hankering today to do something and stop procrastinating and here we are. OK, I have a "studio" set up in my garage, but with four children, I am lucky to get out there, so my studio comes inside sometimes. You can see my set up below!
Now, with my trusty sidekick beside me (that's my baby girl, Nevin)...
...I can begin

This is a tutorial to teach you basic beading and wire techniques to make a simple and elegant bracelet and necklace. Everything you need can be bought at your local craft store, hobby lobby, Michael's for example. These are tools and supplies everyone needs if you are going to be getting into jewelry. So if you are going to pursue this, know this, You get what you pay for. Get the good pliers, and good beads. Don't think just because they are on sale that it is a good deal. I had to learn the hard way!!!

1)  I used scrap wire that I have but it is best to start with a head pin if your a beginner. You can also use 20 gauge silver wire.  
2) Beads (doesn't really matter what kind, but it can't be bigger than the head pin.
3) Tools: Round Nose Pliers and Needle nose pliers.
4) If you want to make a bracelet or necklace with the final product,  you will need closure of some kind, I use a toggle clasp.


1) Grab a good size of scrap wire, if you have a headpin, you can go ahead and add the bead and work on closing the one side, if you have wire, cut about an 1 1/2 inches of wire.

2) Using your needle nose pliers, grab the wire about 1/4 of an inch from the edge and bend to a 90 degree angle.

It should look like this!

3) Grab the end of the wire with your round nose pliers and turn to create a loop. Here's a tip: make sure you use the tip of the pliers if you want a small loop. You can move down the pliers to create a bigger loop. I have done it before on a few pieces and it gave the piece some personality!

It should look like this. Sorry if it is hard to see!

4) Next, add the bead and, using the bead for leverage, bend the wire at a 90 degree angle again and loop it as you did before. 

Tip: No matter what you are using, it is likely that you will need to trim down the other side to make the loops the same size. Just use your flush wire cutters to snip it down to about 1/4 inch, but be careful, if you cut to much and its too short, you will have to chunk that one and start over on that particular link.

5) Finishing up: When you have finished the first link, it should look like this. Here is a tip, if the loops are not lined up, grab your needle nose and round nose pliers, grab both ends and twist until they are lined up. I have to remember to do this all the time, or the piece doesn't lay right.

To create a bracelet or necklace, open the links by using your needle nose pliers to grab the end of the loop and pull towards you. Don't try to undo the loops, it won't work and it just makes it look horrible.

6) add another link and close up the link the same way you opened it. Keep adding links and it will start to look like this.

7) Once you have it long enough to cover your wrist or neck, whatever the case, add a clasp to the end of the links, same way you did with all the other links and your done. a Beautiful piece of jewelry and you made it yourself!

This technique an be applied to all manner of beads. You can mix the beads, mix up the colors, the possibilities are endless... If you try this at home, I would love to see it. Send a pic to lesliemarquezdesigns@gmail.com. Hope you like it. I am going to embellish on this tutorial to show how you can take this to the next step but we will see if I have time for this this week. Happy Jewelry peeps!

Try these books if you want more info:

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