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Great Lakes wire-wrapped necklace and earrings

Beach-themed charms and wire waves create an aquatic motif.
Great lakes necklace_full
Great lakes earring_full

Sea glass comes from pieces of cast-off bottles worn smooth by the waves. These bits of glass wash up on beaches throughout the United States. But with the increasing use of plastic, authentic sea glass is becoming difficult to find. Tumbled glass pieces are an alternative.

Combine these smooth, elegant forms with beach stones that are sculpted by the wind, waves, and sand of the Great Lakes. Whether you comb the beach or collect rocks at the local craft store, this necklace-and-earring set will suit your seafaring fancy.

SUPPLIES

necklace

  • sea-glass shard, approximately 40mm (Michaels)
  • 6–8 16–28mm drilled beach stones
  • 7–9 8–12mm charms
  • 4 1⁄2–5 ft. (1.4–1.5m) 22-gauge dead-soft wire
  • 9 in. (23cm) 26-gauge half-hard wire
  • 16–19 in. (41–48cm) chain, 6–7mm links
  • 7–9 5mm jump rings
  • 2 4mm jump rings
  • 7–9 3mm jump rings
  • toggle clasp
  • chainnose and roundnose pliers
  • diagonal wire cutters
  • bench block or anvil
  • hammer

earrings

  • 2 8–12mm drilled beach stones
  • 2 8–12mm charms
  • 8 in. (20cm) 22-gauge dead-soft wire
  • 2 3mm jump rings
  • pair of lever-back earring wires
  • chainnose and roundnose pliers
  • diagonal wire cutters
  • bench block or anvil
  • hammer

INSTRUCTIONS

Necklace

Great lakes necklace_step 1
1. Cut three 9-in. (23cm) pieces of 22-gauge wire and three 3-in. (7.6cm) pieces of 26-gauge wire. Gather the 22-gauge wires. Wrap one 26-gauge wire around the center. Repeat on each side, approximately 1 in. (2.5cm) from the first set of wraps.
Great lakes necklace_step 2

2. Form the wires around the sea-glass shard so the middle wrap is at the bottom.

 

Bring the ends of the middle wire together, and make a wrapped loop above the pendant. Do not trim the tails.

Great lakes necklace_step 3
3. Wrap each remaining wire once around the wraps.
Great lakes necklace_step 4
4. At each corner, use roundnose pliers to pull a wire toward the center of the shard. Leave the middle wire intact.
Great lakes necklace_step 5
5. For each wire, grasp the end of the wire with the tip of your roundnose pliers and form a small loop. After a complete turn, reposition your pliers, and continue to form a spiral.
Great lakes necklace_step 6
6. Hang the shard over the edge of a bench block. Hammer each spiral flat.

Great lakes necklace_step 7
7. Press each spiral against the shard. Open a 3mm jump ring and attach a charm and a wire. Close the jump ring.
Great lakes necklace_step 8
8. Cut a 4-in. (10cm) piece of 22-gauge wire. With the largest part of your roundnose pliers, make the first half of a wrapped loop. Do not trim the excess wire. Attach a beach stone, and complete the wraps.
Great lakes necklace_step 9

9. a. Use a 3mm jump ring to attach a charm to the wrapped loop.

 

b. Repeat steps 8 and 9a to make six to eight dangles.

Great lakes necklace_step 10
10. Make a spiral with the wire from the wrapped loop. Hammer the spiral as in step 6.
Great lakes necklace_step 11

11. Determine the finished length of your necklace. (My necklace is 17 in./43cm.) Cut a piece of chain to that length.

 

Use 5mm jump rings to attach the sea-glass pendant to the center link of chain. Attach the beach-stone dangles to the desired links. Check the fit, and trim chain from each end if necessary. Use 4mm jump rings to attach each half of the clasp to each end link.

Great lakes earrings

Make a matching pair of earrings!

 

Follow steps 8, 9a, and 10 of the necklace to make a beach-stone dangle. Open the loop of an earring wire and attach the dangle. Close the loop. Make a second earring to match the first.

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