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Woven wire banjo pendant

Shape and weave wire into a wearable instrument. It might not be playable, but it is certainly wearable, musical, and a little whimsical, too.

SUPPLIES

Pendant 2 3⁄8 x 7⁄8 (60.3 x 22.2 mm)

  • sterling silver, copper, bronze, or gold-filled wire: round, dead-soft:
  • 20-gauge (0.81 mm), 8 in. (20.3 cm)
  • 22-gauge (0.64 mm), 14 in. (35.6 cm)
  • 26-gauge (0.40 mm), 6 ft. (1.8 m)
  • 2 6 mm jump rings, 18-gauge (1.02 mm) 
  • chain with clasp
TOOLS
  • Wirework toolbox
  • large wrap-and-tap pliers
  • painter’s tape

INSTRUCTIONS

Banjo armature

Woven wire banjo pendant 1
Photo 1
Woven wire banjo pendant 2
Photo 2
1. Cut 8 in. (20.3 cm) of 20-gauge (0.81 mm) wire. Using the largest step of large wrap-and-tap pliers, form a 3⁄4-in. (19 mm) circle at the midpoint of the wire. Bend the wires 90° at the top of the circle, leaving enough space so two more wires will fit between (1).

2. Cut 7 1⁄2 in. (19.1 cm) of 22-gauge (0.64 mm) wire for the inner circle. Form a circle around the smallest step of the large wrap-and-tap pliers. Bend the wires 90° where they cross over each other. Position the two formed wire pieces so the bends for the neck sit close to each other. Tape the pieces together across both circles (2).
Woven wire banjo pendant 3
Photo 3
Frets

3.
Cut a 2-ft. (61.0 cm) piece of 26-gauge (0.40 mm) wire. Leave about 1 in. (25.5 mm) of tail, and wrap, from left to right, once around each of the four fret wires, A, B, C, and D (3).
Woven wire banjo pendant 4a
Photo 4a
Woven wire banjo pendant 4b
Photo 4b
4. Wrap eight times around wire D (4a). Working left to right, make a wrap around wire C, wire B, and wire A (4b). Wrap eight times around wire A.
Woven wire banjo pendant 5a
Photo 5a
Woven wire banjo pendant 5b
Photo 5b
5. Repeat three more times until there are four sections of eight wraps on wires A and D. As in step 3, wrap around each wire, finishing at the opposite side of the fret wires (5a). Bring the wire around the two middle frets, wrap four times, and trim any remaining wire at the top (5b). Wrap the tail wire from step 3 twice around fret wires B and C between the two circles, and trim any remaining wire. Remove the tape.
Woven wire banjo pendant 6
Photo 6
Woven wire banjo pendant 7
Photo 7
6. Using chainnose pliers, make a 90° bend in both wire A and D above the woven wire at the top of the frets. Flush cut the wires to 3⁄8 in. (9.5 mm). Using roundnose pliers, roll the wires inward to make loops on each side (6). 

7.
Using roundnose pliers, create outward-facing loops on wires B and C. The loops should sit above the loops made in step 6. After forming the second loop, wrap the tail twice around both frets, and trim the wire. Wrap the other wire tail once around both frets and trim (7). 
Woven wire banjo pendant 8
Photo 8
Woven wire banjo pendant 9
Photo 9

Banjo body

8. Cut a 1-yd. (91.4 cm) piece of 26-gauge (0.40 mm) wire. Leave a 1-in. (25.5 mm) tail, and working clockwise, wrap the wire around the 20-gauge (0.81 mm) outer circle three or four times. Pass the wire down between the two circles and back up inside the center hole. Wrap twice around the inner circle (8). Pass the wire down between the two circles and back up outside the outer circle. 

9. Wrap three times around the outer circle, bring the wire under the inside circle, and wrap twice around the inner circle (9). Continue wrapping twice on the inner wire and three times on the outer wire until you are about one-third of the way around the banjo body.

Woven wire banjo pendant 10
Photo 10
Woven wire banjo pendant 11
Photo 11

10. Change the count of the weave pattern, and wrap twice on the inner wire and four times on the outer wire. Continue this pattern across the bottom (10). 

Continue for about another one-third of the banjo, and then return to wrapping three times around the outer circle and twice around the inner circle until the circles are completely woven. Trim the wire tail at the beginning of the weaving. 

11. Once you are back at the top of the body, bring the 26-gauge (0.40 mm) wire across to the opposite side of the frets, and wrap twice to anchor, curving the wire slightly across the middle of the banjo (11) to create an anchor loop.

Woven wire banjo pendant 12a
Photo 12
Woven wire banjo pendant 12b
Photo 12b

Attaching strings

12. Cut 1 in. (25.5 mm) of 22-gauge (0.64 mm) wire. Leaving about 1⁄4 in. (6.5 mm) of straight wire at the middle, bend a 90° angle on each side of the middle section (12a). Position the piece at the bottom of the circular opening in the banjo, and slide the ends between woven rows. Wrap the ends around the bottom of the opening, and squeeze them together tightly until they stay firmly in place (12b). If the wire is loose, adding strings in the next step will help stabilize it.

Woven wire banjo pendant 13a
Photo 13
Woven wire banjo pendant 13b
Photo 13b

13. Cut four 3⁄4-in. (19 mm) pieces of 22-gauge (0.64 mm) wire. Make a small open hook on one end of one wire, and push the hook through the 26-gauge (0.40 mm) anchor loop created in step 11. Pinch the ends together to anchor the wire in position. On the opposite end, bend the wire around the piece added in step 12 (13a). Pinch closed. Repeat with the three remaining wires (13b).

Hanging pendant

14. Open two jump rings. Slide a jump ring through one fret loop and a section of chain. Close the jump ring. On the same side of the banjo, slide a second jump ring through the weaving on the curve of the banjo and a section of chain. Close the jump ring. Cutting the chain on the fret end shorter than the chain on the banjo end makes the banjo hang as though it were attached to a strap, ready to be played. 

The pendant can also be hung from the fret loops on both sides so it hangs straight down from the chain or strand.

Tip!
If you run out of wire, end by wrapping the short wire once or twice around the outside wire. Cut a new piece of 26-gauge (0.40 mm) wire, leave a tail, and wrap around the armature directly adjacent to the end wraps of the previous wire. Once you have woven a few rows, cut off the tail wire.
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