Monday, March 15, 2010

Colored Wire Leaf Tutorial

Some of my friends on Polymer Clay Central have asked how I make my colored wire pendants and pins. Here are some of the leaves I made from colored wire and embellished with square beads.

Click on the photos for a closer look.
Here is the one I will be making today.
top:Flush cutters
2nd row: nylon jaw pliers, flatnose pliers and roundnose pliers.
Not in photo: Slender rod
Supplies: 10" length of 20 gauge wire, 36" length of 26 gauge wire and 30" length of 26 gauge wire. 5 square beads.

I used 20 gauge copper wire and 26 gauge amber color wire. I use the nylon jaws pliers to straighten and strengthen the wire by firmly grasping the wire and drawing it though the jaws.
Use the roundnose pliers to made a loop at the end of the wire.

Slip the 26 gauge wire through the loop leaving a 1 1/2" to 2" tail. Feed the end of the tail through the loop again and tighten snuggly in the loop. Using the long end of the 26 gauge wire coil it around the 20 gauge wire 3 0r 4 times.
Slip a bead onto the smaller wire feed it down until it fits over both wires.
Hold it firmly next to the coils and wrap four coils around the wire below the bead.
Continue adding beads in this manner until there are 5 beads on the wire.
Use the flatnose pliers to bend the wire upward. Use your fingers to shape the wire in a half oval shape. Using the flatnose pliers bend the wire down and shape the wire along the other side.
Using the flatnose pliers bend the wire up again at the bottom to form the outer line of the leaf. Bend down at the top and bring the wire back to the bottom.

Bring the tail of 26 gauge wire at the top though the round loop and around both wires twice. This secures the wires and keeps them in place for weaving.

At the bottom trim the 20 gauge wire to 1/2" and form a loop with the roundnose pliers. (sorry I forgot to take a photo of this step.)

Like at the top, feed the 26 gauge wire through the loop and around both wires in the bend twice.
Begin the weaving by wrapping snuggly around both wires for 3 or 4 times. Then feed the wire down through the narrow space between the two wires. When weaving there is less tangles if you push a loop down through the opening and pull the wire through rather than trying to feed it though from the end of the wire.

Wrap it around the outside wire twice. Then bring it up through the center space and wrap around the inside wire twice.
Continue in this manner 4 times. The out side wire is longer than the inside wire so every 4 times add an extra wrap on the outside wire.
Continue in this manner until the 26 gauge wire will no longer fit between the two 20 gauge wires.
Wrap around both wire until you reach the bend. First side wrapped.
Lay a slender rod flush with the leaf and coil the remaining 26 gauge wire around the rod ( I used a copper rod but a slender knitting needle or wooden skewer will work as well) leaving an inch tail.
Slide the coiled wire off the rod, bend it down and using the tail secure it at the bottom of the leaf.
To weave the 2nd side of the leaf use the 30" length of 26 gauge amber wire. Leave a 1 1/2" to 2 inch tail and wrap around both wires several times. Wrap in the same method as the first side.
And again coil the remaining wire around the slender rod, bring it down and wrap at the bottom of the leaf. Trim the ends of the wires and using your pliers (or fingernail) to tuck the ends in so they won't snag on your clothes.
Okay, that is it. I am trying to learn how to write tutorials, your input will be greatly appreciate.... Please let me know what you think. Is there enough photos? to many? are the directions clear? Could you make this using these directions? Do you have any questions?


  1. I think you did an awesome job on your first tutorial. It really is a pain to stop and take pictures and write notes as you are working on something and you did a great job with each steps. The directions are very clear to me and the pictures are just the icing on the top.

  2. Very clear and nicely written!

    My only question at all was at the very end - how do you hide the ends of the new wire you feed on to weave the second side of the leaf? A closeup photo of where you tuck it away would be helpful.

  3. Same here, where do you hide the ends? I was not interested in wire at all until I saw your post today. Thank you for sharing and writing such a beautiful tutorial! - Marlene

  4. This is wonderful and SO generous of you to post and share with us when so many are charging for tutorials (which I think is fair, but it can get costly!). Thank you for this beautiful project. May I link to this from my blog?

  5. Thanks Kathi... remembering to take the pictures after each step is the hard part, I had to back track a couple times. Hopefully it will be easier next time.

    Thank you Gilly & Thank you Marlene. To finish the wire ends, working on the back side I cut the wire as flush as I can then I use my thumb nail (one of my favorite tools) to push it into the inside of the bend. I was going to take a close-up photo but I can't find the end of the wire... guess I did a good job hiding it. In the next tute I will take a photo after I flush cut and before I tuck it in so you can see how I do it.

    Thank you Chel. I was happy to do it and I will be very pleased to have you link to it from you blog.

  6. You did a great job!! I could follow this easily. One suggest is to maybe use contrasting colors of wire for different steps when making a tut so its easier to see for beginners. I want to make one now! thanks very much!
    Pam M.

  7. Hi! Great tute! I will be linking at in future post.


  8. Thanks so much BJ, it is nice of you to write the tute, and the pics are great! Oh, and not to charge,that is very generous. You make it look so simple,but the results look like you worked on it a very long time. Thanks again. Vicky PCC)

  9. I was so pleased to come across this today. So many of these have no tutorials and yours was excellent. Thanks for sharing