In this tutorial I’ll show you the basics of how to wire wrap a cabochon to make a pendant similar to the one below:
Once you have the basic structure down, you can easily modify it to create your own designs.
Round nose pliers
Flat nose pliers
Wire of your choice. How much wire you’ll need will depend on the size of your cabochon, which I’ll get to shortly. It may be best to practice with some cheap wire, until you get a feel for the process. For this tutorial I used half hard 0.5mm round silver wire and square silver wire. With round wire I wouldn’t recommend using anything smaller than 0.5mm, as it wouldn’t be very strong and may not hold the cabochon securely.
7 inches of D shape wire.
Cabochon of your choice. I’ve used a 24mm sodalite oval cabochon, which is a lovely blue gemstone.
Making the pendant:
To begin with, you’ll need to measure the circumference of your cabochon. You can use a soft tape measure for this, or wrap a strip of paper around the cabochon, and measure that. Once you’ve measured it, add 3 inches to this length to work out how long each wire piece needs to be. My cabochon is 3 inches around, so each of my wire pieces needs to be 6 inches.
Cut 5 pieces of your wire to the length required. You can use more or fewer pieces depending on your design and how big your gemstone is, but for this design I’ve used 5. If your wire is curled up, straighten it out.
(I’m sure no one needs an image showing them how to measure wire, but I think having photos breaks the steps up nicely!)
Gather your wire pieces together in a straight bunch and use a bit of tape to keep them in place.
Measure where the centre of your wire bundle is and place a little mark there. Use a pen which can be easily wiped off.
Take your D shaped wire and, using your flat nose pliers, bend one end to make a little hook, like so:
Make the hook wide enough to cover your bunch of wires and slide it over them at the centre mark. Use your pliers to squeeze the hook down and clamp your wires.
Wrap the D shaped wire around your bunch, flattening it with each wrap, to make a tight fit. Make however many wraps you prefer. I’ve used 5 to keep it secure.
Snip off the ends and tuck them in using your pliers.
Using the same method, make a couple of smaller wraps, one on either side of the middle, roughly 1cm or so away. These wraps should be tight enough to hold the wires, but have a little wiggle room to adjust their position if desired.
Now to shape the wire! Take your cabochon and bend your wire to fit it’s shape. This can be a bit fiddly at first, but quickly becomes a lot easier with practice.
***The next step is optional for a basic wire wrap, but if you want to make the same design as I have then take your front wire on either side and separate it from the others, like this:***
Otherwise, leave all your wires together and continue on with the next steps.
With your wire bunch shaped to fit your cabochon, gather the wires at the top and use your flat nose pliers to bend them, as in the picture below:
Now we need to make some little holders, so that your cabochon will fit securely in the wire. Separate the top wire between your wraps, take your flat nose pliers and bend this wire into a right angle, like so:
Do this on the front and back, and you’ll see how the gemstone fits nicely into the holders and will stay put.
Repeat the process for the top of the cabochon, too, on the front and back. If you are following my design, only do this for the back.
With your cabochon back in the wire wrap, gather your bent wires at the top. ***If you are following my design, wrap the two loose wires you separated earlier around the top as shown in the photo below. Then take them around the back and make a little loop in the end, using round nose pliers, to keep them in place***
Otherwise, take your D shape wire and wrap it around the bunched wires at the top of the cabochon a couple of times, closing and securing the wire wrap. Don’t cut off the ends just yet.
Separate the top two wires as shown above. These are going to become your pendant loop, which your chain will go through. You can either cut off the other wires, or integrate them into your design – make swirls with them, add small beads.. whatever you like! For this tutorial I cut the wires off.
Using your round nose pliers, make a loop with those two wires.
Snip off any excess and continue wrapping around with the D shape wire to close the loop and secure it.
And there you have it. Basic pendant complete! Now you know the basic structure, you can alter it in various ways to make your own designs, altering the wire length and type to suit your purposes.
If you have any questions, or any of the steps aren’t clear, feel free to post a comment and let me know.