Why We Love This Tutorial:
This design certainly makes a statement! We love this project as it is a great way to use up all those random beads you have lying around. We love the soft colours of Rose Quartz and Freshwater pearls in this particular cuff – however, you can use any colours that take your fancy (see the design we made last year, below, using Amethyst, Lepidolite and Freshwater Pearls).
It is a little more time consuming than our average project – wiring all those beads on takes time! However it is not what we would call difficult; the design is very forgiving and it is almost impossible to make a mistake. Getting the shape right in the first place is the hardest part – but, it is quite freeform so the swirls to not need to be perfectly uniform. When it comes to wiring on the beads, that’s the fun part! If you run out of wire you can just wind on some more. And, you can just keep wiring on beads until you think it looks full enough – there are no rules with this design!
Beads and Materials You’ll Need:
- Mixture of beads 4mm up to 14mm. We find somewhat flat beads work best for the larger beads. This project is a great way to use any random beads you have left over from other projects. We’ve used a mix of Freshwater Pearls (coin pearls, nugget pearls and rondelle/button pearls) and Rose Quartz beads.
- 18 gauge Artistic Wire
- 24 gauge Artistic Wire
Tools You’ll Need:
Step 1. Start with approx. 1.2M of 18ga Artistic wire*. You might not need quite this much, but it is better to have too much than to little in this case – you cannot join more wire onto the base cuff.
*We have also made these in the past using 1.5mm Aluminium wire (as in the photo with Amethyst & Pearls at the bottom of this page). However, we find this to leave the cuff a little floppy. It is wearable like this – however, the Artistic wire is a fair bit harder and will keep the shape better.
Step 2. Start to form the shape. Starting from one end, you will need to make the spiral first. You can choose to go as big or small as you like for this! We’ve gone over the top big with ours. Start the spiral off with your round nose pliers, forming a small loop.
Step 3. Continue to make the spiral by holding your round nose pliers closed on the center loop, and use your fingers to loosely form a spiral around it.
Step 4. Now it is time to make the swirls. You can use any cylindrical object for this – a permanent marker, dowel – we’ve used one of the mandrels (14mm) from the jump ring make tool. I’ve found that the quicker I do these the better they turn out. Don’t overthink it!
Step 5. Now you will need to cut the wire to make the spiral at the other end of the cuff. Getting the size right can be a little tricky. One way to do this is to use a piece of string to measure how much wire your first spiral used. Or you can guesstimate like I did! I allowed approximately 20cm for the spiral. It doesn’t really matter if the spirals don’t match exactly 😀
Step 6. Stop, Hammer time! Now it’s time to hammer out your wire. This is entirely optional, but I like the look it gives the cuff. Start with one end at the spiral. I hammered the spiral entirely, and then on the swirls I mostly hammered the outer curves.
And the result of hammering:
Step 7. Now it is time to start attaching the beads. Start by winding on your 24ga wire. I like to start with about 4-6 wraps.
Step 8. When it comes time to add the beads, you will want to find a bead that nicely fits the space you are filling. You can use more than one bead at a time, but I like to group beads of the same type together.
Step 9. You will need to make several passes over the cuff frame to fill it. I started by making a row at the top first:
And then a row at the bottom:
And then fill in the middle (ours went a little off course, but that’s ok because you can just fill in the gaps wherever needed!):
Step 10. Shape the cuff to your wrist. I found this to be a little more difficult on the cuff made from Artistic wire (rather than the Aluminium). However, after slightly bending each part of the frame the shape slowly formed.
And you’re finished! Here are some more photos, as well as another design we made last year: