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Wild heart necklace

A curvaceous borosilicate glass heart and etched metal circles nest into a copper squiggle. A handmade link chain and matching clasp complete a necklace with heavy-duty handmade appeal.



  • Copper wire, round, dead soft
    • 14 in. (30.5 cm) 12-gauge (2.1 mm)
    • 5 ft. (1.5 m) 16-gauge (1.3 mm)
    • 4 ft. (1 m) 24-gauge (0.5 mm)
  • 40 x 50 mm lampworked glass heart
  • 2 1/2 in. (13 mm) etched copper disks
  • 2  5/8 in. (16 mm) etched copper disks
  • 2 10 mm copper jump rings
  • Copper toggle


Figure 1
Click on images to enlarge

Editor’s note

To make the focal wire element, use the provided template (FIGURE 1), or draw an original squiggle template. If using an original template, start with 15–16 in. (38.1–40.6 cm) of wire to make certain there is enough to create the design. Although the template was provided by the designer, her necklaces vary slightly from the one provided.

Photo 1a
Photo 1b


1. Using large roundnose pliers, make a loop on one flush-cut end of a 14-in. (35.6 cm) piece of 12-gauge (2.1 mm) wire (PHOTO 1a). Continue shaping to fit the template using your fingers and large wrap-and-tap or bail-making pliers. Trim off any extra wire, if needed. Finish the other end with a simple loop (PHOTO 1b).

Photo 2

2. When satisfied with the shape, use a bench block and chasing hammer to flatten and texture the wire (PHOTO 2).

Photo 3

Attaching the etched disks

3. If your disks are already dapped, proceed to step 4. For flat etched disks, use a dapping block and punches to shape the circles into a cup shape (PHOTO 3). Position the etching on the concave side of the dome. 

Photo 4a
Photo 4b

4. Using a screw-down hole punch or hole-punch pliers, make two holes in the disk, 180° from each other (PHOTO 4a). Position the punched disks on the focal wire to check their location, positioning the holes in the 3- and 9-o’clock positions. If needed, adjust the shape of the wire squiggle to accommodate the disks (PHOTO 4b).

Photo 5
Photo 6

5. Cut 6 in. (15.2 cm) of 24-gauge (0.5 mm) wire and attach one side of a domed disk to the focal wire with one or two wraps through the hole and around the squiggle. Continue wrapping around the squiggle five or six times on either side of the hole, and tuck the ends into the wrapping. Repeat on the other side of the disk (PHOTO 5).


6. Repeat step 5 for the other domed disks, attaching them into the remaining loops in a design you find pleasing (PHOTO 6).

Leave an empty curve on the squiggle where the focal bead will be attached.

Photo 7a
Photo 7b

Make the chain

7. Measure and flush cut both ends of 48 pieces of 1¼-in. (32 mm) 16-gauge (1.3 mm) wire. Using round nose pliers, make a simple round loop working where the plier jaws are ⅛ in. (3 mm) in diameter (PHOTO 7a). Using chainnose pliers, grasp the loop near the base and make a 90° bend in the wire (PHOTO 7b). Position the wire so you’re looking through the loop and make a second simple loop on the other end of the wire. Using chainnose pliers, make a 90° bend at the base of the second loop. The loops will sit perpendicular to one another. Repeat for a total of 48 wire links. Set the links aside.

Photo 8

Assemble the necklace

8. Using two pairs of chainnose pliers, open a 10 mm jump ring and slide it through the hole in the focal bead and around a curve at the bottom of the squiggle. Close the jump ring (PHOTO 8). The bead can be attached underneath a disk on one of the bottom squiggles if you opt to fill all the curves with disks.

Photo 9
Photo 10

9. Using chainnose pliers, open the loop on one link of chain and slide it to the bottom loop on the squiggle. Close the link. Repeat with another chain link on the other side of the squiggle. Continue adding links by opening one loop of one chain link, adding another chain link and closing the loop (PHOTO 9).


10. Using two pairs of chainnose pliers, open the end links of the chain and slide an open 8 mm jump ring through the loop half of the toggle. Repeat to attach the other end of the chain to the clasp hook (PHOTO 10). Adjust the length as needed by adding or removing links.

11. Add a patina and polish with a brass brush or fine steel wool to highlight the shapes and enhance the contrast of the finished necklace. 


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