Earlier this week on Facebook, a dear friend and fellow artist, Carol Myers, asked if anyone knew of a tutorial to make wire loops for the end of ball chain. After several folks chimed in and googled and left links, we found several links to mass produced findings that would add a loop to the end, but not any hand-made ones.
|The standard connector for ball chain...boring!|
|Some early attempts...pretty pitiful!|
Here is what I finally liked. You will need:
wire - 26g soft 6-8 inches
wire - 18g soft approx 3 inches
round nose pliers
flat nose pliers
steel block or anvil
a bit of perserverance!
- Cut 18g wire into 2 pieces
- Using your torch, ball the ends of each piece. You may go through a practice period to get 2 finished double ball pins the same length (I neglected to take a photo of that, sorry)
- Wrap the pin around the base of your round nose pliers
- Using flat nose pliers, right next to the ball ends, make a sharp bend to straighten.
- Using your steel block and hammer, gently harden your loop. I put mine back over the round nose pliers and straightened out the legs a bit.
- Attach the end of the 26g wire to one of the legs of the loop. I wrap around once just so it won't come off. Then you can place the end of the ball chain where you want it and begin weaving the wire around. It is hard to see the actual wrapping in the photos, as I was taking my own photos and only have 2 hands!!
The actual weave is an over/under, like a figure-eight, but with a third wrap...here is a crude diagram I drew that hopefully will explain it better. I am sure there is a technical term for this. The dots are the legs of the structure with the ball chain in the middle, and the arrowed lines are your 26 gauge wire...clear as mud?
- Continue wrapping until you feel the structure is secure...usually about 3 or 4 passes. Snip the wire and tuck it firmly so that it won't snag later. You can straighten your wraps with your pliers or your fingernail.
- Attach clasp of your choice.
- Optional: Use desired patina and give it a whirl in a tumbler for strength and polish.
|I know you will do a better job of getting your wraps neater and more symmetrical!!|
So there you go... would love to hear of ideas or methods any of you have played with finishing ball chain ends!
Happy Saturday! I am off to BeadFest for the afternoon!