Wire Wrap a Polished Stone
Rocks, seashells, sea glass, they all make great souvenirs from trips—but wouldn't it be nice to make a piece of jewelry from your vacation find?
Use the technique in these step by step instructions to use wire to wrap a simple pendant that you can add to a necklace, charm bracelet, or any other type of jewelry you can dream up.
Types of Stones
Some people can't resist buying these polished stones at tourist spots (you too?), but it seems like such a waste to just let them sit in a bowl. Wouldn't it be fun after you get home from vacation, to pick out a few of your favorites to wire wrap into a pendant?
A good stone for the wire wrapping technique will be slightly irregular in shape, with the stone getting wider towards the middle and more narrow towards the base. You can wrap small or large stones, but you will need to adjust the amount of wire described in these instructions.
You don't have to go on vacation to have a hoard of polished stones. You can always buy them on the internet.
Finding Jewelry Wire at the Hardware Store
One of the best places to find wire for your jewelry projects is your local hardware store—especially if you don't mind working with copper, steel or aluminum wire. All of these wire types are great options for simple wire wrapped pendants.
You can often buy wire from the electrical or picture hanging sections of the hardware store or online.
Choose a stone to wrap and cut two pieces of 24 gauge wire each at least five inches long. The exact amount of wire will depend on the size of your stone. The stone here is a little over 1/2 inch wide by 1 inch tall. For a heavier stone, you may choose to use 22 gauge wire which is a little thicker.
You will need a few basic wire working tools such as wire cutters, chain nose, and round nose pliers. If you have bail making pliers or step pliers, they will also work instead of the round nose pliers.
Twist the Wires Together
At the midway point, cross the two wires and twist them together as shown in the picture. This twist will form one side of the pendant. Twisting takes a little practice to come out evenly—although nothing has to be perfect for these types of pendants. They are very freeform and natural.
Hold the wires close to the intersection with your thumb and index finger holding both wires and twist your wrist 1/2 turn. You want both wires to twist around each other, not for one wire to wrap around the other one in a coil.
Align Wire on the Stone
Hold the twisted wire along the side of the stone, and place the stone between the two wires. You want to make sure the wires sit beneath a wide point of the stone. You are going to smooth the wires across the front and back of the stone to the other side where you will make more twists.
Twist Wire to Make a Basket
Twist the wire on the other side of the stone just enough to secure it. It is easier to remove the stone and finish the twist. It will be more even that way.
Finish the Wire Basket Base
Finish twisting the wire until it is the same length as the other side, or whatever length is appropriate to line up on the side of the stone. At this point, you have formed a wire basket.
The wire basket will hold the polished stone in place, while the twists will go up the sides of the stone.
Secure the Stone
Holding the stone in place, separate the wires, taking one wire from each side and joining them in the front and the back. You can join them so they are going to go across the face of the stone as a decoration, or you can try to shape the wires to follow the contour of the stone and be as unobtrusive as possible. The example keeps the wire covering the stone to a minimum to showcase the pretty color variations in the stone.
Twist the Wires Together
Twist the wires together on the front and back to secure the stone. Continue twisting the remaining wires until you have at least an inch or so of twisted wire. The extra twisted wire is used to form a single wire wrap and also to create the bail to hang the pendant.
Securing the Wires
This is a side view of the wire basket. Bend one wire at a 90-degree angle and wrap it around the other wire. The wire wrap needs to tighten the wires around the stone.
Complete Wire Wrap and Trim the End
Wrap the wire at least once or twice around the other twisted wire. Trim the end in a spot on the side or back of the pendant so it will be out of sight. Tuck the wires in if possible. The other wire will be used to make a wrapped loop that will be used to hang the pendant from.
Make a Wrapped Loop
Bail making pliers are a great tool to use to make the loop. Bail pliers are a type of round nose pliers with two round barrels that are a consistent size down the entire length of the barrel instead of being tapered like round nose pliers.
Bail pliers are great to make jump rings, coils or—yes, pendant bails! They are one of our favorite jewelry making tools that are beyond the five basic wire working tools. The ones with only two barrel sizes are perfect for making bails. The pliers with multiple size barrels work well for other wire shaping needs, especially ear wires.
Secure the wire by wrapping it under the loop. You will be wrapping the new wire around the wrap securing the other piece of wire. This forms a slightly heavier wrap that makes a nice decorative element and also helps to secure the wire and hide the ends.
Adjust Wires, Add a Chain
Adjust the wires to make sure the stone is secure. If any of the wires have loosened during the wrapping, you can use your round nose pliers to tighten the wires slightly. Just grasp one of the single wires (not a twisted piece) between the jaws and give a slight twist with the pliers. The motion will add a small kink to the wire, but it will also tighten the wire around the stone.
If this seems a little complicated for you, there are also pretty pre-made pendant frames that are perfect for adding undrilled stones too.