ECT TV Episode 80: How to Make a Wire Bead

ECT TV Episode 80 - Wire Bead

On today’s episode of Emerging Creatively Tutorials TV (ECT TV), I have a fun and simple wire bead tutorial.

You can use this bead in your jewelry creations to give your projects a little more personality and fun.

Here’s the video:

As I mention in the video, the inspiration for these wire beads started as an art journal layout.

Here’s that art journal page:

ECT TV Episode 80 - Wire Bead

I’ve been somewhat obsessed with layering paper over a watercolor background in my art journal this year.  (I’ll share more examples of different pages tomorrow here on the blog.)

For this page, I started out by using different colors of watercolors, including a metallic color.

Then I did some doodling using a silver pen as well as a white colored pencil.

Finally the paper layering came in.  I used pieces of scrapbook paper as well as an old letter from the 1920s and an old receipt.  (The actual letter is still in tact inside the envelop and the envelop has an opening on the right side to slide the letter out.)

Going from art journal page to jewelry:

ECT TV Episode 80 - Wire Bead

When I’m using an art journal page as inspiration for jewelry, I like to make a “map” of colors, themes and other things from the art journal page.

I might make the jewelry piece based on colors or on the general feel of the art journal page or symbolism that is in the art journal page.

In this case, I mostly used the colors as inspiration for my jewelry piece:  green and the brassy metallic colors from the page.  The veining on the gemstone chips, as well as the brass color of the wire beads also gives me the feeling of an older time, which I also get from the art journal page.

When I was thinking about making this bracelet, I knew I wanted to add the brass color and I had the wire.  I could have used the wire to make some sort of wire wrapped jewelry piece using the brass wire, but I wanted the brass to be more prominent.  I also thought the messy look of the wire beads would add more interest to the bracelet and fit well with the art journal page as well.

ECT TV Episode 80: Wire Bead

This bracelet is the final result.

Maybe you see something different and most likely you would come up with something completely different for your jewelry piece.

Inspired eCourse

In Inspired eCourse I go into detail about this process.  In fact, I give you creativity activities and art journal prompts, then show you my exact process for mapping out a jewelry piece inspired by your art journal page, we sketch jewelry design ideas and I give you a jewelry tutorial each week.

Most Inspired eCourse students are inspired to design their own jewelry pieces.  You can use the jewelry project tutorial each week however you like.  You may want to make the piece exactly as I show you.  You might use it for inspiration for your own design.  You might learn a new technique to incorporate into your own design.

Find out more about Inspired eCourse and sign up now!

Step-by-Step Photo Instructions for the wire bead:

ECT TV Episode 80: Wire Bead

Materials and Tools:

  • 22 gauge half-hard round wire *
  • Wire cutters
  • Chain nose pliers
  • Something small and cylindrical to wrap around.  Ideas include:  small knitting needle, small dowel rod, artist paintbrush, jump ring mandrel (that’s what I used.)

*Wire:  You really can use any wire you like.  I’ve used mostly 22 gauge wire for these beads and it works well.  You could use a thicker gauge such as 20 gauge wire, which would probably work well, but it will be more difficult to wrap.

Thinner gauges like 24 gauge will be easier to wrap, but won’t hold their shape as well.  You can experience with gauges and see how it works.  22 gauge half-hard round works well.

Step #1

ECT TV Episode 80: Wire Bead

Working off the spool (do not cut any wire), hold the wire against your cylindrical object leaving about a 1 inch tail of wire.

Use that wire tail to help hold the wire while you’re wrapping.

Step #2

ECT TV Episode 80: Wire Bead

Decide how long you’d like your bead.  Then wrap the wire down the mandrel to create a base of the size you’d like your bead to be.

Step #3

ECT TV Episode 80: Wire Bead

Now wrap up the other direction right on top of the wraps you just made.

ECT TV Episode 80: Wire Bead

Continue to wrap up and down on top of the previous wraps.  For this messy look, just wrap freestyle not trying to be neat.

Step #4

ECT TV Episode 80: Wire Bead

ECT TV Episode 80: Wire Bead

Once your bead is the size you want, pull it off and trim the excess wire making flush cuts.

Use chain nose pliers to make sure the ends are not poking out.

ECT TV Episode 80: Wire Bead

ECT TV Episode 80: Wire Bead

Use your wire beads just like you would any other bead.

ECT TV Episode 80: Wire Bead


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You can also sign up for my Quick Start Guide to Wire Wrapped Jewelry as well, which is 10 days of lessons to give you a solid foundation for making wire wrapped jewelry.

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Want a PDF of the wire bead tutorial to save and print easily?  Get it below:

(Note:  This PDF eBook is exactly what you see here on this post and in the video.  I’m offering it as an easy way for you to save and/or print the tutorial easily.)

ECT TV Episode 80:  Wire Bead PDF eBook
ECT TV Episode 80: Wire Bead PDF eBook
Get the PDF eBook version of the Wire Bead tutorial. Note: it is the same as what you see here, but in an easy to download, save and/or print version.

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