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Sodalite Delightful - a tutorial by Paul Bishop

[Editor's note: Another special project created and shared by Paul Bishop, our wire-wrapping champ, of Bishop Wire & Bead.  The last in the series 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 #4 – Sodalite Delightful

Wrapping stones can be fun and challenging. Fairly regular-shaped rocks are easiest. One with a distinct shape can prove a challenge. If you’re entirely new, pick a smooth rounded rock. It is far easier on the hands than a sharp one when it slips out of your grasp.

You need:

· An interesting stone. Mine was sodalite.

· 3 soft wires, preferably of different gauges, but none less than 22 gauge. You could even mix wire colours, if the colours complement the stone. (note - If you’re new to wrapping, do this in cheaper wire – stainless steel or copper – for practice.)

· Chain-nose pliers

· Round-nosed pliers

· Wire cutters

The Wrapping:

1. Cut a piece heaviest wire, long enough to wrap all the way around the stone along it’s long axis and make a “wrapped” loop (single wrapped or double wrapped, your choice).

a. By double wrapped, I mean a wrapped loop that will be wrapped again after the wire is taken around the stone.

b. By single wrapped, I mean a simple loop at the top, and the wire is wrapped around itself below this loop after it circles the stone. I used this version.

2. Using the round-nosed pliers, add the top loop of your choice, large enough to fit whatever hanging material you’re going to use.

3. Two wire widths below the loop (below the wrapping for the double wrapped loop), bend the wire 90 degrees.

4. Hold the stone in your fingers with the long axis pointing down, thumb on one side, fingers on the other.

5. Put the loop in between two fingers, holding it vertically over the top of the stone so the 90 degree angle points away from your hand.

6. Using your other hand, start wrapping the wire down one side of the stone. In the pictures, it’s the thick vertical wire you see on the right. Don’t try to put in the kinks you see here. That happens later.

7. Once you put it down the side, hold the wire and stone together with your fingers or thumb, whatever side it’s on.

8. Pull the wire up the other side, over the top, and hold it in place.

9. Allow a little slackness, then wrap the wire UP around the vertical wire a couple of times. Cut your wire and tuck the end in with the chain nose pliers.

10. This is a good time to rest your hands and put down the stone and simple frame.

11. Choose the next thinnest wire. Cut a few lengths that will go around the stone horizontally, and add enough to allow several turns of wrapping around the wire frame and some slack.

12. You can start wrapping the new wire around the frame anywhere you like. I started near the top as the frame curves down to the side.

13. Bend the wire around to the other side of the frame, wrap it around the wire. Don’t forget to leave a little slack.

14. Repeat with the wire, wrapping around the stone each time. I basically divided the stones into quarters, top to bottom with three wires around the stone. If your wire gets too short, clip it off with wire cutters so that the cut end goes inside the wrap against the store. This will keep sharp edges away from the wearer.

15. Do the same with the next thinnest wire. This time, start anywhere you want and go in any direction you feel. Cut ends go under, leave a little slack. All you have to remember is cover enough of the frame so the stone cannot push between wires and fall out. I used this thin wire to cover the vertical part of the frame on the sides where there was no heavy wire.

16. Now, get ready to be do some “kinky” stuff. Taking your chain nose pliers, choose a section of the heaviest wire and place the jaws perpendicular to the stone (tips pointing down at the stone with the wire between then.

17. Twist the wire to the left, or right. Depending on how loose or tight you’re holding the jaws of the pliers, you’ll keep sharp kinks or gentle curves. Do this at random places until the heavy wire is tightened against the stone.

18. Repeat kinking with the next thinnest wire.

19. And again with the finest wire. You might notice that other places became a little less tight as you progressed. As long as the stone cannot fall out, you’re OK, but you can tweak as much as you want.

20. String your new pendant on the material of your choice.

My version of this is strung on 1/3 loop of necklace memory wire, covered in black rubber tubing (that’s why it’s hard to see in the photo). Once strung, the ends of the memory wire were given loops small enough that the stone cannot slide off. Those memory wire loops were attached by jump rings to a silver-plated chain. My chain has a clasp in the middle.

(Alternately, I could have used clasps at both ends of the chain to clip onto the memory wire loops. Then you could switch this wrapping with other pendants that can fit those clasps. One chain, many necklaces.)

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

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Jean Bowler said…
This looks great.

I tried reading through the directions only to realize it would be best to actually get my wire, stone, tools and follow along step-by-step.

So I've put this on my to-do list.

Thanks, Paul and Cyndi. I'll be baaack ...
Paul Bishop said…
Hi Jean!

This is a very organic wire-wrap, so you're correct. It's best to read along but do your own thing. Free-form is a lovely way to put your own energy into a piece.