I call this easy jewelry-making technique “wire lashing” to distinguish it from “wire wrapping” – but really, it is just wrapping thin wire around and around a component in order to cover it with beads (or chain!).
The keys to wire lashing are simple, but oh so vital:
- Always begin with a few wire wraps around your base piece (in this case bangle bracelets) before adding beads or chain. Rather than trying to wrap the very end of the wire, leave about a 1″ tail so you have a bit of wiggle room.
- Always keep your wire wraps tight around the item. Pull the entire wire all the way through and around before beginning another wrap. If using beads, lay the bead against the base in the position you want it to end up in before wrapping the wire tight.
- Always use two or more wraps between beads to keep everything securely in place.
- Always stay calm if (ha – when!) the wire gets kinked or tangled. When in starts getting cranky, take a second to smooth it back out or it will grow into a major mess.
- When you’re all done, you can adjust the wraps and beads with your fingers to make it more uniform. Likely there will some wraps that are tighter than others. This is perfectly normal and easy to fix.
I’ve used this technique before on small items (kidney ear wires, links, ear hoops and hair combs) so decided to step up to bracelets today. The only difference is working with longer wire (about 4-5 feet for a typical bangle). You have the option of working with smaller sections of wire and adding new pieces as you go, but I really wanted to use one continuous piece. I did of course kink the wire. Repeatedly.
But the nice thing about using one piece of wire is that as you go along, the lashing goes faster and faster until suddenly you realize you are having fun! At the end, you feel so victorious you immediately want to make another. So you do … and realize the wire is too darn long again … but wait, now it is fun again … victory is within reach … This is how addictions start.
I like to use 24 or 26-gauge wire when lashing because it is very easy to manipulate with your fingers. Today I used several colors of Artistic Wire. The beaded bracelet has 6mm purple Miracle beads, 4mm turquoise magnesite and opalite barrels held in place by chartreuse Artistic Wire. It was quick and easy to make. However, I started with waaaay too much wire, so it took a little longer to add each bead than was really necessary. Impatient as always, I decided to do away with stringing beads. My next attempt uses rhinestone chain.
It turns out the 14pp size Swarovski Elements crystal rhinestone chain is almost exactly the same width as the bracelet form, so it stays in place nicely. I think this would be a great girl’s night jewelry project – simple, sparkly and easy to customize by adding some charms or changing up the wire color.
For those of you who prefer thread, check out Toni’s rhinestone hair comb – same technique, different materials.
What else can we cover in rhinestone chain? Perhaps an easier question would be what can’t we cover! ~ Cindy