The words wrapped loop sound like a simple two-step process. Step one: form a loop with some wire. Step two: wrap the end of the wire around the bottom of that loop. Piece of cake.
Piece of cake. That’s what I thought just before I started my first jewelry project. After all, I’d already tried embroidery, cross stitch, quilting and crochet. Making a wrapped loop should be simple. Well, after attempting to create a pair of earrings, I came to realize that this skill was not as easy as it sounded.
To create my first wrapped loop, I started shaping a wire head pin around the tip of a pen using a pair of needle nose pliers I found in our garage. They looked similar to chain nose pliers, and I decided they would work just as well. After I formed the loop, I removed it from the pen and started wrapping the wire around the loop’s base. The loop bent out of shape as I wrapped. It served the correct purpose, but it looked unprofessional. The bead attached to it didn’t hang straight, let alone match its mate on the other earring. “How do the jewelry designers at work get the loop to look so perfect?” I wondered.
Perhaps it was my lack of tools? I still thought the needle nose pliers from my garage would work, but I definitely needed something to replace that pen! My next purchase of jewelry-making supplies included a round nose pliers.
While I was practicing the wrapped loop, I decided to design a pair of earrings for my sister. She loves bright colors and had just purchased a pink shirt, so I made her some earrings with a pair of pink dichroic beads. The beads looked terrific, and the round nose pliers gave the wrapped loops a more rounded look, but even my beginner’s eye noticed that they looked far from perfect. How was I going to master this important jewelry-making skill? I wasn’t sure, and for a while my wrapped loops stayed the same.
I finally got some help from Amy, one of the designers at Artbeads.com. She showed me step by step how to create a wrapped loop. I found out what I was doing wrong, along with tips for preventing future mistakes. It seems that when you’re shaping wrapped loops, you need to pay attention to details like the position that you hold the round nose pliers and the amount of room that you leave between the bead and the loop. And when you’re paying attention to details, it helps to have a tool the right size. Those needle nose pliers I was using are just too large to work well. With Amy’s help (and her chain nose pliers), I’ve become much better at creating wrapped loops, although they’re still not as perfect as hers!
Artbeads.com just came out with a new wrapped loop handy tip, where Amy demonstrates the exact same steps that she showed me. If you’re interested, check out the video or read through the step by step instructions below it.