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Make geometric wire links with flatware

Copper and brass wire are the materials for this big, sturdy, interesting chain. But silverware provides the inspiration and the technique: Use a dessert spoon — which is larger than a teaspoon but smaller than a tablespoon — as a template for the oval links. And try a dinner knife (with a dull blade!) or an icing spreader for the square links. Just experiment to find a size you like; a letter opener (not sharp!) will also work.

SUPPLIES

Necklace 28 1⁄2 in. (72.4 cm)

  • 10–14 ft. (3–4.3 m) 20-gauge wire, in two colors
  • 34–54 ft. (10.4–16.5 m) 22-gauge wire, in two colors
  • chainnose and roundnose pliers
  • diagonal wire cutters
  • nylon-jaw pliers
  • hammer
  • bench block or anvil
  • permanent marker
  • dessert spoon
  • dinner knife with 3⁄4–1 in. (1.9–2.5 cm) wide blade

Earrings

  • 56 in. (1.4 m) 20-gauge wire, in two colors
  • 12 in. (30 cm) 20- or 22-gauge wire, 5 in. (13 cm) in one color, 7 in. (18 cm) in a second color 
  • chainnose and roundnose pliers 
  • diagonal wire cutters
  • nylon-jaw pliers
  • metal file or emery board
  • hammer
  • bench block or anvil
  • pen
  • permanent marker
  • dessert spoon
  • tapestry needle or T-pin

Check your local bead store for supplies. 

INSTRUCTIONS

Necklace

Make geometric wire links with flatware 1
Step 1
To make an oval link: Cut a 10-in. (25 cm) piece of 20-gauge wire. Straighten the wire by drawing it through nylon-jaw pliers. Mark the center of the wire and the center of the bowl of the spoon. Align the marks on the wire and the spoon. Wrap each end of the wire around the spoon, making sure the wraps don’t overlap.
Make geometric wire links with flatware 2
Step 2
Cut a 4-in. (10 cm) piece of 20-gauge wire in a different color. Wrap it tightly around the center of the flat side of the stacked wire, covering the center mark. (This is easier if you wrap from the center of the short wire outward to the ends.) Use chainnose pliers to tuck the ends.
Make geometric wire links with flatware 3
Step 3
With each end, make two wraps next to the coil. Trim the excess wire. Use chainnose pliers to tuck the ends.
Make geometric wire links with flatware 4
Step 4
Open the halves of the stacked wire to form a butterfly shape.
Make geometric wire links with flatware 5
Step 5
Gently squeeze the pointed ends together to form teardrop-shaped loops. Use roundnose pliers to align the halves.
Make geometric wire links with flatware 6
Step 6
On a bench block or anvil, gently hammer each side of the oval. Do not hammer the inner parts of the teardrop. Make eight to 12 oval links, in two color combinations.
Make geometric wire links with flatware 7
Step 7
To make a square link: Do not cut the 22-gauge wire yet. Wrap one end around a knife blade six times. About 12 in. (30 cm) from the last bend, trim the wire. Remove the knife.
Make geometric wire links with flatware 8
Step 8
To form a square, use your fingers to gently unwind the wire (as if you were opening a paper clip), maintaining the right-angle bends. Each bend will form one corner of the square.
Make geometric wire links with flatware 9
Step 9
Use chainnose pliers to sharpen the corner bends and straighten the sides of the stacked wires.
Make geometric wire links with flatware 10
Step 10
On the short end of the wire, string an oval link. Continue around each of the bends until you’ve strung all the sides of the square.
Make geometric wire links with flatware 11
Step 11
Just before the center of one side of stacked wires, with the long end of the wire, make a right-angle bend. Wrap the wire four times around the center of the stacked wires. Make a right-angle bend, aiming the wire toward the next corner.
Make geometric wire links with flatware 12
Step 12
On the long end of the wire, use chainnose pliers to make a right-angle bend at the next corner.
Make geometric wire links with flatware 13
Step 13
Repeat steps 11 and 12 until you’ve wrapped each of the stacked sides of the square. Trim the excess wire and tuck the ends.
Make geometric wire links with flatware 14
Step 14
Make a square link in a second color, attaching the first square and another oval link. (You’ll make 16 to 25 square links as you go.) Attach two square links and an oval link, repeating until the necklace is the desired length. Attach the last link to the first.
Earrings
Make geometric wire links with flatware e1
Step 1
For each earring: Following necklace steps 1 to 6, make two oval links in two colors as you did for the necklace.
Make geometric wire links with flatware e2
Step 2
Cut a 2 1⁄2-in. (6.4 cm) piece of 20- or 22-gauge wire. Wrap it tightly around a tapestry needle or T-pin. Cut a 1⁄4-in. (6 mm) coil.
Make geometric wire links with flatware e3
Step 3
Cut a 3 1⁄2-in. (8.9 cm) piece of 20- or 22-gauge wire. Make the first half a wrapped loop on one end. String the coil and make a right-angle bend above it.
Make geometric wire links with flatware e4
Step 4
Curve the wire around a pen barrel or your roundnose pliers. Use chainnose pliers to bend the tip of the wire upward. Trim the excess wire and file the end.
Make geometric wire links with flatware e5
Step 5
Attach the oval links and the loop of the earring wire. Wrap the wire tail twice next to the loop. Wrap the tail around the coil, then around the earring wire. Trim the excess wire and tuck the end.
Make geometric wire links with flatware e6
Step 6
On a bench block or anvil, gently hammer each side of the earring wire.
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About the author

Laura Andrews is thrilled to be teaching at 2017 Bead&Button Show again. She has been taking classes and now teaching at the Show for 16 years.

FIND MORE: wirework , wire , earrings , necklaces

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