How to Wire Wrap a Gemstone Cabochon by Wyatt White

SKU VID-0402
Designer: Wyatt White
In this video, wire wrapping expert Wyatt White shows you how to create a stone setting to turn your favorite cabochon into a pendant.
Audio Transcript
Note: This audio transcript is auto-generated and may not be completely accurate.
hi my name is Wyatt white I'm the education director and the product manager at beadalon today I'll be showing you a technique with fancy square wire and half round wire be showing you a basic technique on how to wrap a cabochon and make it into a pendant today we're going to be wrapping this labradorite 30 by 40 millimeter cabochon we're going to be using the banding pliers round nose pliers chain nose pliers and flush cutters for this project I'm going to use the 20 gauge fancy square German style wire German style wire is a copper core wire that is has been silver-plated and this fancy wire is three pieces of wire that's been twisted and then forced back into a square shape you always whenever you're going to set a stone or any type of wire wrapping that requires a stone of some type whether it be a faceted stone or cabochon you need to be able to build a structure that will have both a bottom and a top to hold the stone in and I like to use the fancy square because it's fancy basically it gives you a lot of shine and with your fingers just sort of straighten the wire out a lot of people will use other types of pliers and for this I like to use my hands because you kind of get a feel for the wire in it and you can straighten it out nicely and it doesn't take that much to to get it straight and a general rule of thumb for measuring I'll take the stone and just set it up on edge like this and then very carefully roll without letting the stone slip all the way around to kind of get an idea of your total length so that's about four and a quarter inches the wire comes in a pack size large enough that you can make several this particular package two meters so we're going to need four and a quarter inches plus I like to have Italy 20 to 50% extra just so that you have plenty of wire at the end to be able to make the the ends so on this particular project we're going to go double the length so I'm going to go 8 inches take your flush cutter and make a snip and I'm going to be using three pieces of the square wire so we'll need three pieces straightened of eight inches so a lot of people ask why you use square wire square wire once it's set next to other square wires gives it a nice solid piece of wire in that and the more you increase the the number of strands the stronger the the wire gets and that's what gives you the base of your of your jewelry so these are going to be held together by half round wire so the half round wire I'm going to use on this one and again it doesn't matter which half round you use with which square wire the important thing is that you're getting the look that you want for the stone this is a large stone so I'm using a larger wire because the stone for my particular taste I like to have big wire with big stones you could have the opposite if you want depends on what you want to highlight highlighting the stone with bigger wire means the stone is going to get a little bit less look and if you use small wires the stone will have a bigger look so now I'm going to make four cuts of the half round wire the half round wire doesn't really have to be straightened but I just kind of always straighten the wire anyway so here I'm going to cut about probably about three and a half inches and I need three of these and this is where our banding pliers are going to come in you can bend these by hand around the the 3 inch excuse me the three square wires but we've created a plier that does that for you it has two different diameters this particular plier is made for 20 gauge and 21 gauge square what that signifies that if you're using square wire and you're going to use 20 or 21 in this case I'm using 20 gauge I'm going to bend the half round wire on the 20 gauge side and you place the half round wire flat side up into the banding plier just like this make sure the flat sides up and then you compress I like to push that to get it then that puts a nice square the size of 20 gauge so you're basically making these bands that you're going to then wrap around the wire so again push that up and we've got our three bands that are going to hold this whole business together just like so okay now because I've made three of these bands that means there's going to be three places that there will be a wrapped section for this pendant instead of setting at the normal way like this so I'm going to set it to the side so we straighten these get them all together and at about the middle you're going to slide this right here you're going to take your chain nose pliers and squeeze from top to bottom and that should hold it together then you're going to pull this up and push this down that's what gets the first really tight wrap onto these wires make sure you're in about the center the first wrap will be pretty easy to slide the rest of them should not be and you're going to just nudge this and bend this over and tighten then bend it over once again and tighten your design is going to raise really up to you of how many times you want to do this wrapping some people like fewer wraps I happen to like fewer reps when I'm using this fancy wire so as we get that nice and tight you'll notice this now cannot be moved fancy wire helps that because it has all these ridges on the side so that's going to hold it together nice and tight now once we have I'm going to go three wraps and if it's if it's not quite tight this direction just nudge it there you're going to take the flush cutter and cut flush here so that you can lay these two fingers if you will down on the backside and take this just like that nice and tight and do the same thing right here okay so that's your first band now we need these bands to be roughly on the sides of the where the curved points of this so there's a couple of ways you can do that you can roll it and measure it again or you can eyeball it and I'm kind of a eyeball er when it comes to that so we're roughly there and now we're going to do exactly what we did before I want to mention that the banding pliers are only used for that first band but that also allows this the square part of the wire to be the right size for that pull that down pull this up and then squeeze and I'm not putting a lot of pressure on this but I'm getting it to just lay down there nice and tight alright so we're going to take this one do the same once again and every time you make a partial bend tighten that bend and almost made the mistake that I sometimes mistake you want these fingers to all be on the same side and that's going to be on the inside of your stone so just remember that you need all those on the same side and I didn't do that here but you just pull that back up tighten this snip this with the flush side down again so that you don't have a sharper edge and tighten that down and tighten this down and then we have one to go and this should be approximately the same distance from the center and this becomes just a really wrote thing once you have the band's made you can just roll right along again be aware of which which side you want those fingers to be bent down you can wrap all on one side or do a combination of both I kind of like to wrap both sides so you get a nice tightness on each side of the the first band so in the snippet a sawed off okay now we have the banded portion and we're going to remember for those fingers to be on the inside then we can just kind of start to bend this in this in the basic shape of the cabochon and this takes a lot of a lot of nudging if you will to to get this just right to where it's going to fit the cabochons you just kind of pinned it and rebuild it up those up a little bit okay now we're getting a little bit of a better fit and we've got to bring the top over and just bypass these so that they're not getting in each other's way they're real fitting you don't have to be so careful about this portion because we're going to be able to do some bending to kind of tighten it up you can use the pliers but be very careful that you don't Mar the surface too much just kind of use them to get that shape just right now we need to grab this in approximately the center at the top and Bend these about straight up and flip this over and this is kind of the tricky part you want these to come together but because it's wire and it's bending you can usually you can usually make it work even if you've kind of missed it a little bit so we want to bend that straight up as well you can see what we're doing is we're trying to get this to just be nice and tight right there alright so we're pretty close so the reason I use the three wires is because the bottom wire is going to become the base to hold the stone in and then the top wire will come across the stone to hold the stone from the top we're going to bend the bottom around and kind of get it to where it's where it's seeding the stone properly on the bottom and then we'll work on the top then we'll slide the stone in and then capture this and do a few more things to get that working properly so on the bottom there's a number of different things you can do I like to just kind of grab a hold about here and just twist and Bend just the bottom one in like so and then grab and twist this one in like so so that kind of builds a little a little base for the stone to sit in and we want to do the same on the other side and obviously with a stone that is not clear it doesn't really matter what you do on the back but again it's jewelry so you want it to be as pretty as you can so try to make it as is symmetrical as you can so that's got that seated there now you can see what that does on the back and this is probably a good angle to see how nice the fancy square wire looks especially on a stone like this all right so we have that now on the front I'm going to do a smaller opening and make sure you're just bending that top wire then we're just going to pull this slightly in the center hopefully to bring that up do the same thing on the other side first what we have to do because the stone is thick we're going to have to angle this top one up and out to be able to accept the stone properly I just want to get it bent to where we have approximately the same look on the front okay now that we have this we can take and open this up and Bend this up to allow room for the stone to properly seat it does take a little practice to get this right but the wire is not that expensive and them and it just you just have to kind of play with it once you figure out what exactly you're doing alright so that's pretty much what our front is going to look like I may want to change that the angle of these I think I I want a little bit of a point here just to make it something a little different so we've got that and then on the back we have this so the stone is really holding in there well with the addition of the wrap up here on the top it's going to hold pretty well so I'm going to I'm going to have to do a bite by the hand wrap on the top because it's a double it's a two square wire by three square wire and these banding pliers only allow you to do a single wire so what you've got to do is make a by hand square down on the bottom approximately the same size as two pieces square where the best way to do that is just to bend one and then test it on two and not too bad for the first shot so just put that in there seat it then carefully gather the two by threes making sure they're all lined up got some curves in the end making this problem so straighten all these wires up get this to where you've got the twos buy the threes this is usually the most challenging part here we're going to pull these just like we did before only now it's holding two by three string these up a little bit and when we tighten we'll be able to get this nice and tidy finally again we're just tightening each time we make a quarter of a turn around this this group of wires on that just tightens it even a little bit more and I've left some space here because we're going to we're going to bend one of each side one of these down and down and then in the back we'll probably do something very similar to what we did down here so let's take the back the bottom side and do that I got to push the stone sort of down so you can grab and then twist and then grab and twist this one straight down I'm going to make sure you just have that on this side the bottom water now we've got a nice holder in the back in the front we'll need as much so we're going to try to slide this down and take another wrap now for the front again we're going to have to pull this up so I'm just going to want to pull it up with my fingernail just like so I think I'm just going to pull the very center here you can you can get really fancy or just kind of do plain this stone has so much going on that I don't want to overpower it with wire stuff so we're just going to kind of bring this up and hopefully get it again symmetrical our stones a little bit twisted but we can shift it justice slight ped okay so now we've got our stone set it's actually not going to go anywhere at this point so we just need to tidy up these and figure out what we're going to do with the bail on the top this is going to be a pendant and this is where I always have a have a problem as a lot of times I'll have several of these that are unfinished because I can't just can't decide what to do with the bail and sometimes it's good to just set it aside and like think about it for a day or two and then go back to it and that usually decides what you want to do these things can be the square wires can be turned down each one just presume for a minute that that's one of these wires coming up here you can cut them off like this and take a round nose plier and just curl them down and under and they look really nice at the top of the bail because we've got six wires and we really only need two of the wires to make the bail we could use four we could use all six but it's sometimes kind of fun to put like a nice little frill right here at the top so I'm thinking on this one we're going to do the little frill so I'm going to pull this wire front wire out on the left front we're out on the right and we're going to curl this under so I'm going to fly this cut this off and flatten that then I'm just going to cut probably about probably 3/8 of an inch and I measure from the top of the band and come up here to about 3/8 of an inch snip that we want to do the same thing on the other side so that these two are the same length that makes it easy for you to get these wraps in for some reason didn't come out right so you gotta eyeball this and cut it a little bit shorter so if they're even measure twice cut once which of course it's not what I did there but so now when you when you bend this down you can kind of get an idea it sort of gives it a regal look you may need to do a few little adjustments here and there to get it to do what you want it to but it's wire so you can always make it do what you want it to okay now we want to make a bail so I'm going to pull the back one on the right side back and this one forward do the same with this on this side so when we make our bail first you need to decide how big of a chain you're going to put it on it's always better to make the bail bigger so that you can get a clasp on a big chain or something like that through now there's there they make tons of different pliers that you can do this with again you can see I'm just doing it with my fingers you may need to use pliers at first but once you get once you get the hang of it it's pretty easy to use your fingers so if you notice I've now done this with the wires on the top they're going to they're going to help hold one another together and you can see that that that bail is going to be pretty large but you can always change it to whatever size you think you might need and now I'm going to kind of gather these make sure they're all in the square now we're going to take another piece of the half round wire and because this time we have a 1 by 4 I'm able to use the banding pliers again and you want to cut a fairly short piece of wire about two and a half three inches band it in the very center on the 20 gauge side because we're still using 20 gauge square wire puts this right in the center that now going to collect all four of these wires on that band hold this nice and tight I've got some of these a little bit curving and twisting so I'm going to try to repair that right now just grab this and square it up with the rest of them the same with this one you want it square so this so this band will will hold them nice and tight okay just get them in the end of the band just push it so it's nice and tight and then pull and push now you have to go all the way around and through the bottom so just get a couple of wraps on here and get it tightened and then one of the tricks to getting the longer wires through is just bend it and push it through like that so you're not bending it too much and then squeeze that don't squeeze here and again this is the same technique we did before but now we're doing it with a 1x4 of the wires and on the top we're going to leave these the fingers are going to be up because you don't want anything to get in the way of the chain sliding through and it's always you always want to tidy the ends in one way or another that pleases you or your client or whoever you're doing this for so cut this off so one of the things that's fun to do on this type of thing is to bend these up which also helps to lock it in place and then you can do a double heart on the top the first thing you need to do is get everything cut to the same length so the shortest one will cut everything to the shortest one and we're just going to bend this down and pin that one down okay so we're not going to make art sometimes it changes we have too much too much banding going on here so we'll just make little loops on the top as well just make them all pretty close to the same or as close as you can get them and that is your wire wrap using half round and fancy square and you've got a nice big loop this could be made into a hook so you could hook it on things it could be a smaller loop there's you just do just about anything so the most important thing is to know that you need to have a backing it will hold the back of the stone and then you need to have these four on the front or however many you choose you could have chose to band several more times that just gives you less amount of wire in between the bandings to be able to come up and over the stone so there you have it you

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