Thursday, 21 November 2013



I love chain maille designs, but personally, I haven't got the
stamina and patience to count and connect all those jump rings
into intricate patterns and styles!  So ... a while ago, I designed
quite a few pieces using my 'cheat' method - if you've seen my
first project book: CREATING WIRE and BEADED JEWELRY
you'll find my Egyptian Classic Set on Page 102!

Well, that was 10 years ago and since then I've created lots of pieces
using a similar technique and every time they are showcased, they
always get a little admiration ... so with Christmas looming over
us and festive crafts in the making, I have created a festive tutorial
that will hopefully inspire you with lots more wirey inspiration!

So ... "are you sitting comfortably? Then, I will begin ..."

1.  Working directly from a spool of 0.8mm or 1mm wire
(20-gauge or 18-gauge), use your round nosed pliers to create
a circular loop at the very end.

2.  Place your round nosed pliers (same place as before) on the
wire, next to the first loop and wrap the wire around to create
a  complete second loop.

3.  Repeat again, forming a further loop, keeping them all
running straight in a row.

4.  Now that you've got the hang of it, create 2 more loops to
complete the first unit and cut off from the spool.          

5.  Next, create a row of 4 loops, 2 of 3 and 2 of
2, as shown above.  *Optional: you can choose to
gently hammer the links to flatten and work harden
(avoiding the cross-over wires).

6.  Now it's time to make some jump rings.  If you have
bail making pliers, a Coiling Gizmo or a mandrel to wrap
the wire ... get coiling and snipping!

7.  Next, it's time to begin connecting the rows of looped units
to each other with jump rings.

8.  Use jump rings to connect all the end links along the
sides - as shown above.

9.  Turn the unit over and attach some jump rings at
the top. (Can you see the festive shape we're making now?)

10. Continue adding jump rings within the
looped units to fill the gaps and if desired, you
can suspend the base row with beaded spiral dangles
or any charms, beads or decorations of your choice.

11.  If you wish and have the time (and inclination) keep adding
more jump rings - I added some silver to the gold.

12.  You can make a little star, or add a bead at the top
and create a loop of chain or ribbon to be able to suspend it
from the Xmas tree ... OR ..., why not create it as a handbag or
key ring charm? It would be a perfect special gift! (For yourself
or someone who you know who would treasure and appreciate
all the effort you put into it!).

AND ... if you wish to decorate your tree (to add a little colour and bling),
well, some small crystals will add a touch of festive


This technique is so versatile, and gives the impression of
chain maille without all the bother.  Just design your own
grid system to make earrings, pendants and bracelets!

Here's my Gallery showing some of the pieces that I have created
in the past ...

Watch-strap in silver (with a few black wire jump rings!)

Sterling silver and hematite beads.

Different ideas for bracelet styles ...

Earrings with blue drops.

Gold Earrings with 'dancing' pearls
My 'Jubilee' Key Ring

A 'Flower' bracelet
Simple 'chain-pillar' earrings

Bracelet with focal lampwork bead

Grey Pearl Necklace

'Viking Queen' Necklace

Gold 'Sungod' Necklace

I hear you yawning!  That's enough inspiration for one day!
Happy 'Cheat' Chainmailling!

Friday, 8 November 2013


*BOW* Tutorial

As we approach the festive season, I thought up a quick, fun 
tutorial based around a BOW! 

This motif can be suspended as a pendant,
wired to a hair grip or band, created as a brooch ... or just
used as a decorative accessory on a greeting card design!

So, if you're sitting comfortably, read on, and hopefully
it will inspire you to create your own interpretation!

1. The bow I created was approximately 6cm x 3cm
and for this I cut 10cm (8") of 0.8mm/20-gauge wire. 
However, if you want to make something smaller
(use less) or larger ... cut more!
Place your round nosed pliers at the centre of
the wire and wrap around, crossing the wires over,
to create a loop.

2.  Approximately 2.5cm (1") from the central loop,
use the tips of your chain nosed (or round nosed)
pliers to bend the wire back in towards the loop on
either side.

3.  Create a crinkly edge on each side wire with
your round nosed pliers.

4.  Bring the extending wires back in towards the
central loop to secure and complete the frame.

5.  Place the 'bow' frame on a steel block and hammer
the edges to flatten and work harden.

6.  Choose a binding wire (0.4mm-0.5mm) and weave
in and out of the frame, to fill the space.  You could
also add beads for extra texture and decoration.

7.  Continue weaving the wire, until the frame is
completely 'coloured' in. Cut off any excess wire
and neaten the ends - or, use the excess wire to
attach a focal bead.

8.  I've wired a 'button with bead' to the centre and
'corrugated' the bow, by pushing my chain nosed pliers
into the woven wires ... creating a wavy surface.

9.  Finally, secure the corners of the bow
with jump rings to suspend as a necklace

10.  You could also attach a pendant drop to
add extra decorative detail!

If you don't have a button to hand ... how about
making a wire 'rose'?

Below, are a few more suggestions of styles to inspire your wire
and beaded appetites!

The 'Bow' can make a great pendant

Above, I have wired it onto a hair grip.

And on the side of a hair band!

Whilst ... here's a brooch!

And ... if you DON'T want to make a bow at all ...
just follow steps 1-5 of the tutorial and turn the frame 
into a butterfly!