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Introduction and Materials
Cabochons come in many shapes and sizes and are made from a variety of gem stones such as hematite, aventurine, and agate. Though there are many ways to wrap cabochons with wire, the following method should work best. If you've never tried to wrap a cabochon before, you should start with a fairly large cabochon. The larger the cabochon, the easier it is to handle. Of course, the larger the cabochon, the more wire you’ll need to wrap it.
What You Need
- Your choice of size and type of cabochon
- About 1-foot of 24-gauge half-round gold-filled wire
- *22-gauge dead-soft square gold-filled wire or 20-gauge dead-soft square gold-filled wire
- Wire pin vise
- Masking tape
- Polishing cloth
- Wire cutters
- Chain-nosed pliers
- Round-nosed pliers
*Some people recommend using 20-gauge vs. 22-gauge square wire. However, 20-gauge is much stronger and harder. So, if you do not have strong hands or some mobility issues then try using 22-gauge.
**For clamps, you can also use those black binder clips available at office supply stores which are used for binding papers together. Just make sure you cover the inside of the binder clips with a soft cloth or something so you don't scratch your wire.Continue to 2 of 6 below.
02 of 06
Form Wire Around Cab
To determine the length of the square wire you will need to use—take the masking tape and wrap it around the edge of the cabochon. Then carefully unwrap it from the cabochon and place it along side a ruler. Add four inches to the length of the masking tape. For the cabochon in this example the length was 7 1/2 inches.
Now, cut three pieces of square wire at the length determined (7 1/2 inches), and pull the wire pieces through a polishing cloth to help straighten and clean the wire.
Next, fit the three pieces of square wire tightly against each other and use the clamps to keep them together. (Before clamping them together, it also looks nice if the top and bottom wires are twisted. It adds to the finished piece and looks a lot like diamond cutting.)
Determine the middle of the wires and make the first wrap here using the round wire. Add two other wraps on either side of the middle wrap about 1 inch from the middle.
Now fit the cab up against the wrapped wires, and form the wires around the cab so that the middle wrap is against the bottom of the cabochon and the other wraps are on either side of the cabochon.Continue to 3 of 6 below.
03 of 06
Pull Wires Around Cab
Once the wires fit tightly around the cabochon, make another wrap at the top of the cabochon so that there is about 2 inches of wires remaining at the top.
Position the cabochon and wires so the front of the cabochon is facing you.
Now, use chain-nosed pliers to pull the first (of the three wires you previously wrapped) toward the center of the cabochon. There are four places on the cabochon that this needs to be done. Two spots are directing on either side of the center wrap which, of course, needs to be positioned at the bottom center of the cabochon. The two other spots that need the wire pulled are to the left and right of the second two wraps you did.
After pulling the wires to the center on the front of the cabochon, repeat this on the back. Now your cabochon should be held firmly in place. Separate the wires at the top of the cabochon.Continue to 4 of 6 below.
04 of 06
Using a hand held wire pin vise, twist the top wires and trim off about 1 inch from four of the wires. Use round-nosed pliers to curl four of the wires down.Continue to 5 of 6 below.
05 of 06
Pull Wire Back
Use chain-nosed pliers to pull other two wires to the back of the cabochon and wrap around wires in the back to create a bale on the back.Continue to 6 of 6 below.
06 of 06
Other Wire Wrapping Ideas
And that’s it. You can wrap other items besides cabochons this way. I also used this technique to wrap a piece of "recycled" glass or what some people call "beach" glass. As I explained before, this is just one way you can wrap a cabochon. There are many other, more "scientific" methods, but I find this way works for me.
Updated by Vicki O'Dell