Tuesday, 28 February 2012


Humans have been producing jewellery for such a long
time, using shells, beads, seed pods and of course, precious
metal and gemstones. Not only has it been created
to adorn, beautify and show status, but in most ancient
cultures it has had symbolic connotations and was often
worn to protect the wearer. So with that in mind, here's
my LUCKY MASCOT project, which can be designed with
any personal variation of beads and coloured wires.

This talismanic charm can be created as a pendant, key
ring, 'phone/or/bag charm, earrings, or as a bookmark ...
Alternatively just make it as a little portable sculpture
(the equivalent of Greek worry beads! ... a necessary accessory
in this global financial messiness!!).

To see how the LUCKY MASCOT BOOKMARK is made
you can watch my tutorial on BEAD TV.

I've been creating these little doodlebead people ever since
I started fiddling with beads. Below, are 2 little Mascots I made
20 years ago. When my children were young they used to play
with them and make their own versions, bending the arms and
knees into all sorts of contorted shapes until they finally broke
into pieces!!

So if you would like to create your own version,
... read on ...

STEP 1: First, have a rummage in your bead stash and
find some suitable beads. You require a minimum of a
(1) HEAD bead (2) BODY bead (3) 2 x LEG beads (these
can be made out of long bugle beads, coils of wire,
or a sprinkling of seed beads (4) 2 x ARM beads (similar
to leg beads, but not as long.
*Then optional - like the one above, you can also add a
NECK bead and HAT bead!

STEP 2: To create the ARMS, cut a length of wire (the length
is dependent on the size of the body bead). Place your round
nosed pliers at the centre of the wire and cross the wires over
on each side.

STEP 3: Once you have created the loop at the centre of the
wire, straighten out the ends and thread with the 'arm' beads
on each side.

STEP 4: Depending on the width of the 'body' bead you're using,
you might have to bend the wire down on each side to create
'shoulders'). However, if you have a narrow body bead this is

STEP 5: Now for the 'LEGS'. Cut another length of wire
that is longer than the 'arms' and using the tips of your
round nosed pliers, create a complete loop at the centre -
just like the end of a safety pin. Straighten the projecting
wires out so that they run parallel to each other.

STEP 6: Thread each projecting wire with your 'Leg' beads
and create spirals at the ends, curling the wire up to the bead.

STEP 7: Using your chain nosed pliers, bend the centre
link on the 'arm' and 'leg' units 90 degrees.

STEP 8: Now you are ready to thread all the units onto
the end of your spool of 0.8mm wire - starting with the
'legs', then the 'body', the 'arms', the optional 'neck' bead,
the 'head' and finally, the other optional 'hat' bead.

STEP 9: I know this looks
very painful and rather
eyewatering!! but, create a
wrapped link at the top
end of the piece and
cut the wire off the spool
leaving approximately twice
the length of the 'body' bead
projecting. Bend this wire
over the centre, front of the
'body' bead.

Wrap the projecting wire just above the 'arms', between the
'neck' and 'head' to secure.

STEP 10: Bring the extending wire around to the other
side of the mascot and create a doodly spiral with any
wire left projecting and flatten this on top of the 'body'
bead. Alternatively, you can cut off any excess and neaten
the end.

STEP 11: Tweak the
central wire, that
runs down the 'body'
bead (on the opposite
side) with the tips of
your flat nosed pliers
to tighten it around the

And now you're ready to suspend it as your


Here's a Key Ring
I made earlier !!

Below you'll see 2 Dancing Belles!!

I used a feather for the skirts and created these to suspend
at the end of bookmarks.

Above, is another idea for a pearly Lucky Mascot Bookmark.
If you don't have any ribbon, just plait, or braid some cord!

So, experiment with different beads to create funny, character

... and finally, if you're up for a little competition, (although there
are NO prizes, just PRAISE and ACKNOWLEDGEMENT for having
a go!) please do join my
for this month!
This is to create your own little LUCKY MASCOT piece, in any
style that inspires you and post an image up on my FACEBOOK
page to share.

I don't know about you, but these little bead dolls make me smile!
They're not called LUCKY for nothing!!

GOODBYE for now and I hope to see your designs posted up
soooooon ....


Friday, 17 February 2012


Oh 'hail' to the

There are such a variety of jewellery pendant
bails available to purchase ... different styles,
sizes and metals. Some snap on, some pinch
and some ... you're supposed to glue on!

However, as a wire jewellery artist and designer,
you might find (like me) they don't always
blend well with the pendant you're making.
Also, it can be fun and add more originality to
your piece if you create your own.

Below, you'll find a variety that I have created
out of wire. A handmade bail can add that
extra 'wow factor' to any wire wrapped
pendant or, even to a pair of beaded earrings.

The 'Celtic' Spiral Bail is the one I probably
use most. It's easy to make and always looks
great with any free-form wire wrapped 'stone'
suspended from it! So if you want to create your
own, here's how to do it:

1. Depending how large you wish to make the bail, cut
a length of wire (anything from 0.8mm to 1.25mm gauge -
to match the weight it will hold). Now, bend the wire
length in half and squeeze the doubled wires together
with your flat nosed pliers, so that they become straight
and parallel.

2. Use the tips of your round nosed pliers to create
a link at the end of the doubled wire.

3. Bend the doubled wire once again using bail making pliers
or a pen (or, similar cylindrical mandrel) to create a second,
larger loop, curling it in the same direction as the first link.

4. Using the tips of your round nosed pliers, create tiny
circles at the ends of the projecting wires.

Hold these small circles firmly in your flat nosed and curl the
wire around to form open spirals on each side.

5. ... and there you have it - BINGO!
Cord, or chain can be threaded through the larger loop and
the pendant that you wish to suspend can be attached to the
first doubled link, that you created in step 2.

N E X T ...

If you have a stone, pebble or fused glass piece that you wish
to suspend, basically anything which is relatively flat on both
sides ... you can create a

A. Make this by cutting a length of wire and creating tight spirals
at each end leaving a space at the centre (this space is completely
dependent on the width of the piece you're creating the
bail for). Then take a pair of bail making pliers (or, any cylindrical
mandrel of your choice) and place these at the centre of the
space between the spirals. Now, BEND, or fold the wire in two,
so that the spirals are opposite each other, leaving enough
space in between to slide the 'stone' or glass piece that you wish
to suspend.

B. Dab glue (I love E6000!) on the inside of each of the
spirals and slide over the top of your unit, pressing both
spirals down on each side of the piece to secure in place
at the top of the 'stone'.

Once the glue has dried, cord or chain can be threaded
through the top loop to suspend as a pendant.


This plain style of
bail can look great
on more decorative
pieces - as it doesn't
distract from the

To make a plain wire bail such as the one above,
all you need to do is cut about 1" (2.5cm) of wire.
Hammer ONLY the centre of the length (turning
it over on each side) to spread and flatten the metal
as evenly as possible, leaving both ends untouched.
Then fold in half (around a cylindrical mandrel) and
create small links with the projecting ends, curling
them in towards each other. These links can then be
threaded with a jump ring or, the top loop of your pendant.

This is another option, which especially good for cord or
leather strung pendants. It involves coiling the wire in both
directions (North & South) finishing off with spirals
on each side.

OR, you could go for something more freestyle! As with
everything, there is no end to variations!

I do hope this short bail tutorial has triggered new inspiration
for your future wirework projects!

ALL HAIL to the B A I L!!

Monday, 6 February 2012

The WireHeart Guild

As my very final offering to February's
Valentine theme of all things
heart-shaped ...
below is a freestyle

As it's freestyle, don't be too
worried about following the instructions
too methodically -it's just a guide to get
your creative juices flowing!
Feel free to let the wire 'talk to you'
and lead you in the direction it wants to
most naturally flow ...

So, if you're sitting comfortably,
gather together: 0.8mm SOFT
silver-plated wire, round and flat
nosed pliers, wire cutters and a
cylindrical mandrel - such as pen.

1. Cut 2 x 8" (20cm) lengths of 0.8mm wire (or more
if you want to create a larger pendant). Place the ends
of the wire together so that they run parallel and wrap
the doubled wires around the circular shaft of your round
nosed pliers to create a loop - one end should be longer than
the other ...

2. Working with one of the shorter lengths, randomly wrap
this around one of the longer projecting wires, creating a
spiral at the end.

3. Repeat with the second shorter wire, wrapping it
around the remaining projecting wire.

4. Bend one of the longer projecting wires back up
towards the double loop and squeeze the end of the
bent wire together to create a short doubled stem.

5. Place a pen (or similar cylindrical mandrel) next to the
doubled stem and shape the wire around to create a rounded
edge, leaving the rest of the wire projecting back down away
from the top double loop.

6. Bend the wire back towards the top double loop and
spiral the end inwards, to form a 'heart' frame.

7. Repeat steps 4-6 with the second projecting wire.

8. Once again, place your cylindrical (pen) mandrel to
shape the side of the frame and bend the end of the wire
back around towards the top double loop.

9. Repeat step 6, to create a spiral with the projecting
end of wire, curling it in towards the doubled stem
to form the second 'heart' frame.

10. Now spend a little 'tweaking' and rearranging
the wires until you're satisfied with the overall shape.
As you can see above - you can suspend beads from
the ends of the heart. These gorgeous heart shaped
coloured shell beads are available from:

You will also find a tutorial for a 'MERMAID'
that I made using them. Just perfect for Valentine's!

All that's left to do, is to suspend it from a ribbon, cord
or chain ... and it's ready to wear!


WITH freestyle FORMING AND SHAPING can provide no
end of surprises and new design styles ...

Above, is a small pendant shaped with 3 wires.

... and here's a slightly busier version ...

... and finally here's a beaded version with gold and
silver wires! The options are endless so do post up
your versions to share on FACEBOOK!


The main thing is to have FUN - let the wire FLOW
F R E E S T Y L E !(P.S. I said "WIRE" not "WINE"!!!)