Saturday, September 21, 2013

Saturday Share: Be Still!

We all have some of these beads in our stash.  You know, these little flower beads that are shaped like shank buttons...flat faces with the hole through the pointy backside?  Or those little blobs of glass with the loop in the back?  We see them and say, "oh, how sweet...they will be perfect in this design! I will wow the country and make a million bucks!"  Then, you start trying to incorporate them and they just. will. not. stay. put!

What usually happens when you try to wire wrap these!
I have taken apart so many pieces trying to get these sort of beads just right.  Sure, you can wire wrap them like charms, but they usually end up facing down, so no one can see their pretty carved faces!

Pretty ceramic charms by Diana P. of Suburban Girl Studios, my torch-fired enamel components, and yes, the evil Czech glass flowers with the hole in the backside!

A couple of days ago I created these earrings and I really wanted to use these little flower beads.  After watching one spin around on the wire, making me dizzy, I had a V8 moment,. Duh!  It dawned on me that I could use a technique I learned long ago...a herringbone wire-wrap.  I have always used it as a decorative technique, but never as a functional one.  I thought I would share it with you today.

Materials needed:
evil bead in question
wire of your choice...1 guage that is strong enough to support your bead, and 1 smaller gauge, flexible enough for wrapping
Flush cutters for close snips

  • take desired wire you want your bead to be strung on (I'm using 22g sterling), then take your smaller gauge wire (this is 28g) and start a wrap around the larger wire
  • Once you have it wrapped tightly 1 and 1/2 times, trim the small gauge wire and squeeze the end as tightly as possible
  • slip your bead onto the wire

  • Bring the small gauge wire over the top of the bead and wrap around the wire in an overhand direction
  • bring the wire around the other side and wrap around your starting point, also overhand.  
  • Continue this pattern until your bead feels secure.  I usually use 3-4 wraps.  As you are wrapping, smooth the wire against the previous wrap, so that is lays nicely and doesn't kink.

  • nice and secure!
  • depending on how you are using your bead, finish the ends.  Here I have made wrapped connector loops.

Here is one of the cute Unicorne Glass blob beads that I have always frustrated me!  The holes in these are big, so I used 16 gauge sterling and created a ball, then did the same wrap.  I am using 22 g to wrap, so I had to anneal it a bit to make it easier to wrap tightly.  This technique does double duty for this type of bead...decorative and functional.  Keeps the bead in place but still provides a nice frame!

Well, there you have it!  Hope this inspires you to pull out those frustrating beads and give them a second chance!

Happy Saturday!

Melissa Meman
Melismatic Art Jewelry
Art. Life. Love.


  1. What a neat idea - simple when you see it done...glad you had he 'V8 moment' Melissa and thanks for sharing.

  2. Thanks so much for this! I'm self taught and never had come across this before; this is a life saver!

  3. BRILLIANT! And yes...I have all of those exact same beads in my stash!! :) Thank you for sharing! BTW: Your earrings are gorgeous!

  4. Such a fabulous wire, enamel, metal maven. Oh, and an earring maven, too! (A maven (also mavin) is a trusted expert in a particular field, who seeks to pass knowledge on to others.) And a wonderful friend you are, too!

  5. And I have been avoiding these! Wonderful idea! Love the earrings!

  6. Thanks for sharing, those "evil beads" have been driving me NUTS. Now please come up with something for using bead cups face front instead slapped onto a bead? :D *makes puppy dog eyes*

  7. Oh, Melissa, you made my day!! I saw these earrings the other day at Earrings Everyday and wondered how you kept them facing forward! Thanks so much for sharing your
    "aha" moment.


  8. What a fantastic idea - thank you for passing it along! Will have to give it a try.

  9. Fantastic idea! Thanks for sharing.

    Ingrid A

  10. That is amazing!!! Makes me almost wish I could play with wire!

  11. What a great tip! It seems so simple. Thanks for sharing your secret.


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