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Beading Blog - Notes on wrapping

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One woman's adventures in the wide, wonderful world of beading.
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Notes on wrapping
posted by Colleen Shirazi, April 25, 2006 at 11:19 PM (Pacific)

I'm practicing wrapping now. I think I've gotten the rest of it down...making a basic beading wire necklace and bracelet...which is not as simple as it sounds. It's easy to do it badly or so-so, not so easy to make it perfect. You have to settle on which kind of wire to use, which clasp, get the slack right...

I use wire in the 19 strand range. The 49 strand imo is slightly better, but not worth the cost. I've settled on a particular clasp (it's a toggle that my local bead shop carries in silver and gold finishes) which looks beautiful, stays put and feels comfortable on.

Crimps aren't that big a deal...just get crimps. I don't use the super tiny ones or super big ones. Even though you're supposed to be able to use crimps on 1.0 mm Stretch Magic, I haven't found any practical use for doing that...I use crimps only on beading wire.

Wire pieces don't seem to require that much slack...just a notch. Particularly bracelets, where too much slack shows more.

I'm happy with my stretchy pieces too. Stretch Magic works fine...the 1.0 mm kind is best for larger/heavier beads (it's thicker and less stretchy). 0.7 mm or 0.5 mm are better for most applications.

For stretch pieces you need only put a bead in the back with a drillhole large enough to put the knot inside. It need not be a fancy bead. I use three knots...a square knot followed by two overhand knots (the last knot is not necessary; two would do). Once you're done knotting, cover the knot with glue and put it inside the bead in the back. Let dry overnight.

Which leaves a few techniques...wrapping, knotting, soldering...there is also stitching (not sure exactly what it's called) where you get a needle and thread and do different stitches.

Along with wrapping, I'm doing some minor fabrication. Part of it is necessary. I made a wrapped piece--straightforward enough, each bead "unit" is connected by wrapped loops--and I wanted to put a sort of pendant in the front. Using a readymade jump ring clashed with the rest of the wire, so I had to make a jump ring out of the same wire I used for the wrapped loops. Then, in the back, I decided to fabricate a clasp rather than use a readymade one. It looks nicer...all the same's also more economical than buying a clasp.

From this point on, I've decided to use more fabricated clasps. For bracelets I still prefer the readymade, decorative ones, but for necklaces...why not?

Wrapping, for me anyway, is hard. It started out next to impossible for me to do...I had to figure out which gauge of wire to use (some wires are impossible to wrap because they're horribly thick and hard)...then got easier and easier.

I decided I needed practice, so I started an all-wrapped project. I figured, if it turned out horribly, so what? It's practice. And if it turned out great, then bonus!

It turned out pretty great actually. I gave myself one week as the target to finish it. I was planning on doing three wrapped-loop pieces per day (basically two separate wrapped-loop pieces, then connecting them with a third). And I finished the piece in three days and was pretty darned pleased with it.

It's modeled on a rosary, sort of. I like rosaries. It doesn't have a cross, just the basic structure of a loop ending in a short piece.

I've gotten a new pair of round-nosed pliers (much better than the el cheapo pair I got at Michaels) and am now contemplating getting a new pair of chain-nosed pliers. I've been using two pairs of pliers that I already owned. Somehow I think a pair with a narrower nose would work better at finishing the wraps; I still find that part difficult (getting the nose of the pliers on the wrap without cracking the bead!).

Oh well thanks for reading! I hope to get some pictures up soon.
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