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Make a silver wirework necklace

Silver wire drops and dangles suspend playfully in this lush necklace

The more you sample wireworking techniques, the more inspiration you’ll gather to fashion your own distinctive designs. Better still, the techniques you learn here can be used to make a matching pair of earrings or a complementary cuff.

All the dangles in this necklace use plain or wrapped loops or modifications thereof. Some dangles also include variations, or “variants.” Feel free to mix dangle styles as you see fit, or create your own versions.

You will construct the various dangles first, then assemble the units into the necklace. Make 15-20 simple dangles, 15-20 long dangles, and 15-20 accent dangles before assembling the necklace. 

See below for examples of each type of dangle you can make. For more variations on these dangles and the complete project instructions, click here for the free project PDF.

Materials

  • 75–85 glass and ceramic beads in assorted shapes and sizes (4mm–10mm)
  • 10 or more silver beads (4mm–8mm)
  • 20–30 ft. (6–9m) 20-gauge sterling-silver wire
  • 20-inch (50.8cm) chain with clasp
  • 50–60 jump rings or split rings (6mm–10mm)

Tools

  • Roundnose pliers
  • Chainnose pliers
  • Diagonal wire cutters
  • Small flat file
  • Design board
  • Hammer (optional)
  • Anvil (optional)
  • Ruler (optional)
Instructions
Make a silver wirework necklace simple dangle 1
Photo 1
Make a silver wirework necklace simple dangle 2
Photo 2
Simple dangle: standard

Cut a 4-inch (10.2cm) length of wire and make a plain loop on one end for a standard dangle. Slide a bead on the wire and test the loop to be sure it stops the bead from slipping off [1]. Adjust if necessary. Make a wrapped loop 1⁄2 to 3⁄4 inch (1.3–1.9cm) from the top of the bead; continue wrapping the wire down the stem until you reach the bead [2]. Use wire cutters to trim the excess wire and chainnose pliers to press the tip of the wire against the stem.

Make a silver wirework necklace long dangle 3
Photo 3
Long dangle: spring

Create a “spring” dangle by using a coiling tool to make 2 inches (5.1cm) of coils (or coil the wire by hand around a thin cylindrical item such as a piece of thick wire).

Cut the coiled wire into two 1-inch (2.5cm) lengths.

Cut a 5-inch (12.7cm) length of wire. Make a plain loop at one end.

Slide one of the coils onto the wire until it is flush against the loop. Add a small bead. Slide the second coil onto the wire.

Finish with a wrapped loop. Slide a bead on a headpin and start a wrapped loop above the bead.

Slide the loop on the headpin into the plain loop at the end of the spring dangle and complete the wrapped loop. Trim the excess wire [3].

Make a silver wirework necklace accent dangle 4
Photo 4
Make a silver wirework necklace accent dangle 5
Photo 5
Accent dangle: circle

Cut a 5- to 8-inch (12.7–20.3cm) length of wire for a circle dangle. Grip one end with roundnose pliers. Tightly wrap the wire around one jaw of the pliers to form a small loop [4]. Use the chainnose pliers to grasp the loop across its flat plane and gently roll the loop into a coil. Release the coil and grasp it again, coiling the wire as you go. Continue releasing and grasping the wire until the coil reaches the desired size. Slide 1–3 beads onto the opposite end of the wire. Make a wrapped loop above the last bead [5].

Once you’ve made all the dangles, assemble the necklace. Drape the chain over a design board and secure the ends. Arrange the dangles until you find a mix of styles and lengths that pleases you. Usually the longest dangles look best in the center. Pay attention to the color, size, length, and shape of the beads, separating similar beads and styles of dangles. When you’re ready to start assembling the necklace, use jump rings or split rings to attach the dangles to the links of the chain.

FIND MORE: wirework , wire , beads , necklaces

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