Sunday, December 25, 2011

Easy Wire Wrapping for "The Undrillables."

Hiya!  A new tutorial for you guys!  Take a look at this big silver pendant, made from a vintage steel leaf.

I lucked into a fabulous stash of these old metal pieces, circa 1960 or thereabouts.

They're from the estate of a metal sculptor - I'm thinking he used them for making wrought iron grapevines.  Cool, eh?  But these things are  2mm thick and hardened steel.  No way was I going to be able to drill a hole!

So how to use them in an upcycled pendant?  Well - here's how!

Start with two 6" pieces of hefty craft wire (I used 18 gauge).  Make a loop in the center of one wire.  Then thread the other wire through the loop.  Like so:

Center the crisscross on the back of the leaf.  Bend the wires up, to surround the leaf in front.  If some of the ends are too long, snip off the extra.

With round-nose pliers, grab the end of a wire and start swirling.

Swirl all four wires right down to the leaf.  Give each a final twist to wrench it tight.  Now they look like random, vinelike tendrils!

You could leave it like this, nice and simple.  But come on - that's crazy talk!  I know you want more.  Use a bit of wire to add a bead strung between two tendrils.  Here I embellished with a beautiful chunk of red coral:

Another idea: tuck something under the tendrils and press them tight to hold it there.  A drop of glue first will make it more secure.  This beautiful flower was crafted by my friend PC, of the delightful Malaysian blog Meijo's JOY.

Now your pendant is done!  The back looks like this:

To hang the pendant, just slip a chain, cord or neckwire in behind the crisscross, and you are the proud owner of a nifty statement necklace!  

"But Mich," I hear you saying.  "I happen to be fresh out of vintage steel leaves."*  No problem!  This swirly wire method will work with all kinds of objects that you can't (or don't want to) drill.  The important thing is that your piece has a pattern of zigs and zags for the wires to settle into.

Here's one I did with a carved shell flower that did not come with a hole, and is too fragile to drill:

I like the tendrils, don't you?  I always love it when embellishment and structure combine.

Well, that's today's interesting upcycle - hope you liked it!  Thanks much for coming to check it out.  See ya soon!

* Psst...I have some of the leaves available for sale in my shop, should you desire. 


  1. Hi,
    what a cute necklace, Gorgeous with silk flower..PC is too good in sharing cool ideas :)
    thanks a bunch for sharing the how-to ~

  2. So beautiful! Love the final look of it! Happy holidays!

  3. Found a shell flower in my stash yesterday...Now I know what to do with it! Beautiful upcycle tutorial.

  4. A beutiful necklace .Happy Chritsmas.

  5. Beautiful necklace - love those leaves! Thank you for the tutorial- I have some of those large un-drilled pieces and now I know what to do with them!

  6. The leaves look beautiful...I love the one with the coral bead

  7. OMG, you are so creative. That swirly wire technique could be so versatile with all the undrillables. Your pendants came out great! Happy Holidays!
    Karah @ thespacebetweenblog

  8. Oh, they are beautiful! And to be honest I love the one with only the wire attached the most! It looks like tendrils of vine branches... :)

  9. You make it look so easy! What beautiful creations :)

  10. Awwww....That's too cute! Such a good idea and actually the one without the flower look absolutely gorgeous all by itself. Must pinned this idea!

  11. Awesome tutorial! I like the one with the fabric flower, nice contrast between the soft flower and shiny metal.

  12. Oh, My, these are beautiful and the one witht he fabric flower is stunning, really!

  13. The bead strung between the tendrils is SO clever! Miss smartypants, I love it.

  14. oh my....just lovely! I don't make jewelry, but I might just start after seeing this. Thanks for the inspiration, and Happy New Year!

  15. Sonja, please do! I only started my blog after falling under Mich's influence, I would love other people to give in to her spell :) Even though my blog has been sorely neglected recently, but if you really want to take up making jewellery, you could not get off to a better start than this.

  16. I cannot tell you how much your comment made me smile! Thank you :)
    I love your blog, it is the only one I know like it, and I so admire your talent for making unique jewellery and how easy you make it seem! You always have such interesting projects and creative ideas!
    I hope you have an amazing New Year!
    Kate x

  17. Great idea and tutorial and the finished product is one of my favorite pieces ever of yours. Thanks for all of the creative inspiration in 2011 ( even the mystery thing stumpers!) and looking forward to seeing what you have in store for 2012!

  18. You always come up with the most creative ideas. The last necklace is my favorite but they're all lovely.

    Happy New Year!

  19. Wow how lucky you were to get these treasures. You are making beautiful pieces with them. Thanks for sharing.