Skip to main content

A freeform wire wrap - a tutorial by Paul Bishop

[Editor's note: This is Paul's second wonderful wire tutorial that he wrote for us.  The third will be posted next week...don't miss any of them!

If you'd like to offer a tutorial on Beading Arts, by all means, contact me at cyndi @ (remove the spaces), and let me know what you'd like to write about.]

Artist: Paul Bishop
Website: Bishop Wire & Bead

Project #2 – A Freeform Wire Wrap

First, a selection of tumbled gemstone rocks is good, even better if you know the names. The ones I know in this picture above are sodalite (top left), unakite (centre), “green ones I don’t remember” and “two I hope are amethyst”. This project works best with a stone that has a flat bottom.

I’m practicing, so the wire used is very cheap stainless steel 20G. I spent $2 for 25 ft at a hardware store. I used around a foot for the design on a 1.5” x 1” x ½” stone, but it’s hard to gauge and depends on the number of wraps you make. You can also work directly from the spool so you don’t waste it, but then it’s a bit awkward to position everything.

1. Using chain nose pliers to hold a length of straightened 20G wire, start a loose spiral with a couple of twists using your other hand. It should be less than half the length of the stone.

2. Place this curl at the bottom centre front face of the stone. You can paper-tape it in place if it makes this easier.

3. Turn it over so the back of the stone faces you, while holding the curl in place.

4. Bend the wire along the centre bottom of the stone.

5. Put your thumb on the wire at the bottom of the stone, your index finger on top.

6. Bend the wire straight up the middle of the back.

First part of frame, shown off of stone

7. Bend that back wire 90 degrees somewhere above the curl, halfway up or a slight bit higher.

8. Holding the curl and back vertical wire firmly, make one tight horizontal wrap around the stone, then a half wrap little further so the wire ends up in front.

Front of completed frame

9. Make a 90 degree bend so the wire points toward the top of the stone, centred with the curl.

10. Bend the wire over the top of the stone and down the back

Back of the completed frame

11. Make a 90 degree bend in the opposite direction from the first, and go around the stone in a tight wrap 1.5 times, and bend it up again. You’ll wind up with two 90 degree bends at the front with 2 wires going up (hopefully better aligned than mine).
Showing wrapped loop at top

12. This next step was the hard part. Take the end of the just-bent wire and slip it under the other at the top of the stone, then bend it up 90 degrees when it reaches the back. Do not pull too hard or the wires will separate. This wire will become our wrapped loop*:

Finishing with a wrapped loop

1. Place the tip of your round-nosed pliers about ¼ inch above the bend, and bend the wire 90 degrees.

2. Move the pliers so one round-nose in the new bend and the other on top. How large the loop is depends on how deeply you place your pliers.

3. Bend the wire up and around and down the other side.

4. Move the pliers again so that the bottom part is in the loop.

5. Take the end of the wire (using another pair of pliers gives more fine control) and wrap it around the wire right at the bottom of the loop as tightly as you can.

6. Keep doing this as tightly as possible without overlap (like a coil) until you either reach ¼ inch from the wire end, of the bottom of the vertical wire.

7. Gently press your loops together with the chain-nose pliers.

8. Use your side cutters to snip off the excess wrapping wire (if any), then your chain nose pliers to push the remaining end again the bottom of the wrap under the last coil.

Now it’s ready to by attached to something. It’s rustic, but nice.

*Cyndi's instructions for a wrapped loop were spot on, so please reference hers if necessary.

Copyright 2010 Paul Bishop. Not to be reprinted, resold, or redistributed for profit without the permission of the author. 


Thanks for the tut. I received my book yesterday. Lots of ideas to try. Thanks Again.
Paul Bishop said…
You're welcome, Carol. I'm sure I'll be posting more here :)