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Midnight in the Garden of Good and Medieval

A guest post tutorial by Paul Bishop of Bishop Wire & Bead.  Paul first shared this amazing wire necklace with us at the beginning of this month as we transitioned from Spring Fever Month (April) to Celebrating Wire Month (May).  Thank you so much, Paul, for making this tutorial available free exclusively to readers here at Beading Arts.  You can download the pdf file for Midnight in the Garden of Good and Medieval at this link until July 28th!

Midnight in the Garden of Good and Medieval

This tutorial will explain how you can make this lovely, artful necklace.  This will be a limited-time exclusive free tutorial for Beading Arts readers.  Later, it will be available for purchase on my Etsy site, after I've expanded with detail pictures.

This necklace was originally created free-hand, and I worked off wire spools.  Wire lengths are not possible to provide at this time.

To finish the necklace I used a black chain.  The finished inner length of my framework design is 9 inches.  Take that into account when deciding how long to make the chain.  I suggest you do a custom fitting or use a chain with large enough links that you can clasp the chain for anyone who tries it on until it fits, and finish the necklace when the sale is completed.

This tutorial is long because there are a lot of components to make, plus the construction.  As with my other tutorials, the steps are well-detailed.

These materials will create this piece.  If you want to make it in your own colours, just make sure the wire and jumpring colours match.

- Black annealed steel wire, a heavy gauge for the framework and a lighter gauge for the beads.  Mine were 19 and 28.
- 16 6mm garnet beads
- 12 4mm garnet beads for the drops
- 6 black wall ball head-pins (1.5 inch should be enough for a wrapped loop, 1 for simple loop)
- As many more 4mm garnet beads you need for the leaf
- 7 black jumprings - inner diameter must take three of the 19 gauge wires passing through and be able to close
- Black clasp and chain

- A mandrel or a dowel with a 1 inch diameter for the circle-based components
- A mandrel or a dowel with a small diameter (I used a normal crochet hook) for the leaf component
- Round nose pliers
- Wire cutters
- Kitchen string (for an impromptu ruler)
- Marker
- Ruler or Measuring Tape

- If you've having trouble finding black annealed steel wire, it's available cheaply in a hardware shop.  I paid $3.40 CDN for 50 feet of 19 gauge, and the same for 100 feet of 28 gauge.  That's a lot of wire.
- Black annealed steel is soft but quickly becomes work-hardened.  The necklace will look delicate but is actually quite sturdy.
- I worked off the spool so I do not know how much wire I used.  However, at per inch costs of 0.006 and 0.002, I know I used less than 50 cents worth of wire and didn't worry about waste.
- Aside from the cost of the garnets, the real cost of this item is mostly the time spent to make it.

Most of these will not be described as you can find excellent tutorials by Cyndi here at Beading Arts, on the web or in the "Basics" sections of beading magazines.

- Wire Wrapping
- Coiling
- Spiral-making
- Simple Loop
- Wrapped Loop
- Jumpring opening/closing
- Patience (always a requirement for me)

Beaded Dangles:
1. Take one headpin and place a 4mm, a 6mm and a 4mm garnet bead on it.
2. Using your round nose pliers, make a wrapped or simple loop at the top, large enough for the jumpring to pass through.  If your headpin wire is very soft, use a wrapped loop.
3. Repeat steps 1 and 2 until you have six dangles.

Beaded Connectors:
The loops for these components must be wrapped, because they use thin wire but will bear weight.

1. Working from the spool of 28 gauge wire, slide 5 6mm garnets onto it.
2. Make a wrapped loop on the available end of the wire.  This loop must be big enough to accommodate the 19 gauge wire.
3. Slide the beads toward the wrapped loop.
4. Measure 2 inches past the last bead and cut the wire.
5. Use that wire end to make another wrapped loop.
6. Repeat steps 1-5 for the second connector.

In step 5, you can form the leaf free-hand, or draw a leaf on paper and manipulate the wire on the paper to match.  Keep the curves simple so it can be easily wired with beads.

1. Cut a 19 gauge wire of at least 5 inches long.
2. Use the ruler to find the center and mark it.
3. Grab the center with the tip of the pliers.
4. Using your other hand, bend the wire up and as close together as you can.
5. Pull the wires apart slightly and form a leaf shape.  The wires should come together at the top horizontally pointing in different directions.
6. Place the smaller mandrel at the top of the leaf above the two wires, perpendicular to the wires.
7. Draw the front wire up and around the mandrel a full turn back to the direction it originally was.
8. Do the same for the rear wire to the back of the leaf.
9. Slide the mandrel out of the coil you just created.
10. Clip the ends of these wire to about and inch from the coil.
11. Using the tip of the pliers, grab the ends of the wires and curl into small spirals.
12. Using a thicker part of the pliers, bend the wire to approximate a short vine.

You should now have a leaf shape, but the loops at the top are separate.  This is okay for now, since it will make beading the leaf easier.

Side Coil Form:
1. Using the string, tightly wrap the string around the 1 inch mandrel for three and a half full turns.  Cut the string at the three and a half turn length.
2. Stretch the string onto the ruler and measure it.  This is the length you'll need to make two identical components.
3. Cut three pieces of wire to the length of the cut string.  Lay one aside for the center coil form.
4. Using the 1 inch mandrel, tightly coil one piece of 19 gauge wire around it for three and a half full turns.  The coils should be as close together as possible
5. Place your finger on the coil where the wires cross the final time.
6. Use the pliers to roll a small loop back toward the top of the coil.  The loop should be on top of the coil, not rolled underneath.
7. Turn the mandrel around in your hands, retightening the coils if necessary.
8. Loop the other end back, keeping the small loops consistent.
9. Release the wire carefully and slide it off the mandrel.
10. Repeat steps 4-9 for the other connector.
11. Take one coil and hold it by the loops in your fingers, one loop in each hand, with the coil above the loops.
12. Very gently and slowly uncoil the wire by pushing the loops "back the way they came".  The coil will become larger and spread apart.  You need to keep the pressure even to make the shape fairly symmetrical.
13. When the holes of the two loops overlap in the middle of the new shape, you are almost done.  Push them a little past each other, and then let go.  Push or pull gently with the curve to make the loops overlap so they stay close together when you let go.
14. Repeat steps 11-12 for the other coil.

Center Coil Form:
1. Using the third 19 gauge wire previously cut, follow Side Coil steps 4-9 to create your coil.
2. Take the coil and hold it by the loops in your fingers, on in each hand with the coil below the loops.
3. Very gently and slowly pull the coils apart in opposite directions.  The coils on the ends will stretch out and the space where the wires cross will get smaller.  You are aiming to keep the result symmetrical.
4. Let go of the wire and tweak it with your fingers to fix any symmetry issues.
5. Your shape is most likely linear.  Take the ends again in your opposite fingers and gently bend the shape into a V or U.

Bead The Leaf:
There are two ways to decide the amount of wire you need for this.  The first way is described below in six steps.  The other way is to shrug, cut a piece and not worry about it, because black annealed steel wire is cheap and you can always add wire and reuse extra.

Icky Math...
1. Lay the leaf on the table as if you were looking at someone wearing it.
2. Lay the ruler on top of it and find the largest width and add 0.5 inch.  Record that number.
3. Fill the leaf with lines of beads.  Leave a gap on each side to accommodate the 28 gauge wire that will wrap the frame.
4. Count the rows of beads.
5. Multiply the row count by the number from step 2.  That's a generous figure for the amount of 28 gauge wire you need.
6. Cut the length of 28 gauge using the number from step 5.

No matter how you got your wire length, do this:
1. Place your 29g wire near the bottom of the leaf, below the point where one bead would fit in the frame.
2. Wrap the 28g wire around the 19g wire, keeping coils tight and close together.  To get the wire around the frame easily, pass it through the gap at the top, where the coiled wires are not joined.
4. Keep wrapping until the frame is wide enough to accommodate a bead.  Slide the bead onto the wire as close to the frame as possible.
5. Wrap the 28g wire around the 19g frame and up on the far side of the bead, until you have cleared enough to add another row of beads.
6. Repeat beading and tight wrapping up the frame on opposite sides until you cannot fit any more bead rows into the frame.
7. Wrap off the wire several times at the top of the frame.

If you ran out of wire, cut it at the most recent FULL set of frame wrapping.  Cut another piece and wrap over the last wrap, careful to tuck in the wire ends, and continue.

1. Set all the components in position on your work surface using the image as a guide, then connect the pieces in the following order.
2. Open all of the jumprings.
3. Open the ends of the coil components as if you were opening a jumpring.
3. Using a jumpring, attach the leaf to the middle coil of the Center Coil Form.  Close the jumpring.
4. Slide one bead connector onto the small loop on one end of the Center Coil Form until it rests on top of the first coil loop.  Close the small loop you just slid over.
5.  Slide the other end of the bead connector onto the lower small loop of the matching Side Coil Form so the bead connector hangs off the bottom of the coil.  Close the small loop you just slid the bead connector over on that Side Coil Form.
6. Repeat steps 4 and 5 for the other bead connector on the other side of the necklace.
7. Connect a bead dangle to each small loop in the Center Coil Form.  Close the jumprings.
8. At each outside LOWER intersection of wires on the side coil loops, attach a dangle and close the jumprings.
9. Slide the chain onto each side on the upper small loops of the Side Coil Forms.  Close the small loops.
10. At each outside UPPER intersection of wires on the side coil loops, attach a dangle and close the jumprings.
11.  Finish the chain and clasp as necessary.

Copyright 2012 Paul Bishop. All rights reserved. Not to be reprinted, resold, or redistributed without permission.

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Terry Pugh said…
Wow! cool necklace and great tutorial!

Paul Bishop said…
Thanks! It was really fun to make, especially since I did it on a whim.