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How To Make A Wire Wrapped Bead Chain

Turn your favourite gemstone beads into a beautiful chain!

This page provides step by step instructions on how to wire wrap individual beads to form a delicate beaded chain. Great for incorporating in your necklace, bracelet and earring designs.

This is a great technique to learn to enable many design options, it also helps your beads to go further.

In this tutorial we've used some amazonite beads that are approximately 8x5mm. As the hole in the bead is approximately 0.7mm, we chose to use 0.5mm sterling silver wire. You can use any beads of your choice and suitable sized wire. You can use all the same beads or create your own design with different shapes and different coloured gemstone beads.

You Will Need

Metal Wire

Choose from our selection of metal wire to complete your beading chain. Including plated, sterling silver, 9ct gold, copper, brass and more.

Choose a suitable diameter wire for your beads, that will run smoothly through the holes (smaller beads = smaller holes). We would usually recommend using between 0.3mm and 0.5mm wire depending on your choice of beads.  

GEMSTONE BEADS

You will need a gemstone bead! We have so many beautiful beads to choose from in a range of gemstones in many shapes and sizes to choose from.

In this tutorial, we've used some amazonite beads similar to these.

Jewellery Making Pliers

This tutorial requires a few pliers to complete the look including round nose pliers, snipe nose pliers and side cutters. All of these are available individually or in our popular pack of pliers.

Follow Our Wire Wrapped Bead Chain Tutorial Below...

Step 1

Line up your beads in the order you want them to be on the chain, this gives you a good idea of how they will look when strung.

Step 2

Use side cutters to cut a length of wire.  Approximately 5cm of wire per bead should do, but do bear in mind different wire gauges and bead sizes will require different lengths so it's worth trying a few first to see which will leave you with least wastage (the beads used here are around 5mm wide).

Tip: Having a bit more wire than you need will make wrapping easier.

Step 3

Take the first piece of wire and form a loop one end using the round nose pliers, leaving a short length one side of the loop.

Step 4

Take the shorter length of wire and wrap it around the longer length to create a tight neat coil, 2 or 3 twists should be enough. You can use snipe nose pliers to help hold the wire whist wrapping.

Step 5

Use side cutters to cut off any excess wire as close to the coil as possible then use the snipe nose pliers to make sure it's tucked in and there are no sharp points. You should now have what looks like an eye pin with a loop at one end that has been wrapped closed.

Step 6

Thread the first bead onto the open end of the wire then place your round nose pliers after the bead and bend the wire to a right angle.

Step 7

Form another loop and repeat the process of tightly wrapping the wire back down the pin towards the bead. Again, cut off any excess wire as close to the coil as possible then use the snipe nose pliers to make sure it's tucked in and there are no sharp points.

Step 8

This should leave you with two loops either side of the bead and wire coils between the loop and the bead, the bead is now secure on the wire.

Step 9

Now you need to use this wrapping technique to form your chain. Start again by using one of the lengths of wire and creating a loop one end as before - this time threading the end loop of the previous bead onto the loop before wrapping it closed.

Step 10

Continue to repeat these steps until you reach your desired length of chain.

Step 11

If you need to add a clasp to your chain you can wrap it straight onto the chain in the same way you attached a new link. Alternatively, you can use jump or split rings to attach it.

Finished!

Your bead chain is now complete. You can create this look with any fully drilled bead of your choice!

Top tips for beginners:

  • Choosing your metal wire: silver plated wire (copper core) wire is a popular choice for beginners as it is cheap, however bear in mind that sterling silver wire is a lot softer and more malleable and easier to work with and when using small diameters it is still an affordable option.
  • Always choose a wire that is suitable for the beads you are using. The wire needs to run smoothly through with no resistance. Never force a wire through a bead as invariably this will cause the bead will break. Remember the smaller the bead, the smaller the hole. Most pearls and faceted rondelle beads have quite small holes, so a 0.3mm wire is a good place to start, for larger beads (perhaps 5mm - 7mm) you may be able to use a 0.5mm wire. Having a few different diameters of wire in your beading kit will help you be prepared for the different beads and projects you might to work on.
  • Practice getting your wire wraps neat with one sitting up against the other, holding the wire taught at a right angle will help you do this.
  • If you find the loops you are making are off to one side and not sitting centrally above the bead, use your round nose pliers to align them: insert the tip of the round nose pliers into the loop, and whilst gently gripping the wire, tilt the pliers, so the loop sits directly above the stem. This small detail will give your wire wrapping a much neater finish.
  • Make sure any loose ends of wire are tucked in neatly (use snipe nose pliers to do this) so that your designs do not catch on clothing whilst you are wearing your jewellery.