How to Make a Wire Wrapped Tree of Life Pendant

SKU VID-1176
Designer: Julie Bean
Skill Level: Intermediate
In this video learn how to make a wire wrapped tree of life pendant featuring lovely gemstone chips. You will learn how to make the outer hoop frame as well as how to make the twisted roots, trunk, and branches. Finally you will add gemstone 'leaves.'
Audio Transcript
Note: This audio transcript is auto-generated and may not be completely accurate.
Hi, this is Julie with beadaholique.com in it-- gemstones versus these pretty emerald green colored ones but we are going to make the outer frame we're going to do the wire wrapping for the roots the trunk the branches I'm going to add the gemstones as leaves and then we're going to quickly turn it into a necklace as well so let me show you what I have here for my supplies now I'm going to be doing everything out of wire including the outside rim so I'm going to be using 18 gauge artistic wire in a pretty shiny silver and that's going to be for the outer frame and then for the branches and the roots I'm going to be using 26 gauge artistic wire and silver again and then I have my gemstones and these are gemstone chips and they range in size from two to four millimeters so I really would recommend not going much beyond four millimeters for these leaves just because they'll get to be a little too bulky now I'm going to be using a Rolo chain to finish it off in a couple jump rings and to make my outer loop I'm going to be using a dowel and here's actually a dapping set which is great and it comes in a bunch of different sizes and I'm going to be using this one right here now before I show you my tools I want to show you another quick option that I'm not going to be showing in the video but it's really handy if you don't want to make your actual outer frame these are by Nunn design and they're open frame hoops and they're just really cool completely solid rounds and they come in a variety of sizes as well so that would be a great option if you don't want to make your outer frame now for tools I have a couple different pairs of chain nose pliers I have a bent one and a straight one not sure which one I'm going to use just yet is really whatever feels the most comfortable at the time I'm going to be using a pair of round nose pliers and a cutter and those are the tools that you are going to need so let me go ahead and clear off some of this excess so we can really just focus on the pendant itself and this is a really fun project is not a quick project I will say that but it's very fun and there's a lot of different options you can do with it and a lot of variety I've seen really cool like spooky Halloween ones and holiday themed ones and all different types of gemstones precious metal you can use sterling to do this as well so really let your imagination go wild so I'm going to cut my gemstones even though I'm not going to be using them at the beginning but I do want them ready and you'll see they are just chips in a variety of sizes and I'll probably be pulling out the smaller ones here for my leaves so we are going to begin by making the outer frame and that's out of the 18 gauge wire and it is pretty pretty stiff go ahead and cut yourself a good length a little bit more is easier than if you accidentally cut too little so I'm going to do about 12 inches here so take your wire and you're just going to form it around the dowel and I use these for everything I love this this is like I says just a dapping set but so handy to have a nice solid wood structure to hold on to that is nice and cylindrical shape okay we're just going to form it around the dowel and let our wires crisscross at the top and then we are going to make a twist see that little twist right there and then we want to go ahead and take one wire and pull it up the one is up and one is still around and then we're just going to make a nice little simple loop like so and we don't want it to get too bulky and this is really nice thick wire so we don't have to worry that that's going to come undone we're just going to snip it off okay now we're going to make a wrapped wire loop so we're going to bend this wire at an angle take our round nose plier and you can choose how big of a loop you want based upon where you position the wire along the round nose so I want one that's a decent size rotate your pliers up and pull so you have a loop and if I was take this out you see what that looks like at this point I like to grab my loop with my pliers and then wrap it around and you can actually pull this off you see we got a nice round shape and continue my wrappings and you're going to do some more wrappings up near here with the thinner wire so you just wanted to make sure it's nice and secure trim it and take your plier and kind of tuck it in a little bit just like that okay so put it back on here in case it kind of came out of shape at all and then I'm just going to like this real quick you'll notice what I just did was I made it so as more of a flat loop now I want to make sure that this is facing up right so we've got a nice foundation to start with so we got our loop and we've got our nice circle so now we're ready to do our wrappings I'm going to cut a length and you can always add more I'm going to cut a length of probably about 30 24 inches maybe I don't want it to be too unruly but I do want enough to really get going so it's about 24 inches and let me get rid of the kinked part so look at the example piece here you see the roots where they start your roots can start wherever you want but we're looking to do to begin with is we want to wire wrap this outer edge down to the point where our roots are going to start and we want to do that on both sides so they could start here to be a really narrow tree or it could be a really wide tree this is totally up to you but we do want to wire wrap this top portion first so go ahead stick your wire through the hole and pull it and make a couple nice wraps okay and then you will be covering part of this when you do your branches but you'll notice that some of it will still be exposed so I like to rock I wrap the whole frame so to do that just go ahead wrap your wire around and this is why I don't like too much to work with to begin with because it can get a little tangled so I'm going to do a couple wraps and then I'm going to use my finger and just scoot those wraps together so they're a little tighter and I did not cut the tail yet it will just be a simple snipping of the tail and tucking it in but this gives me something to hold on to okay so do that for as far down as you want it to be before your roots start and do that on both sides you can see now I've wire wrapped both sides and I wanted to show you something real quick before I trim the ends on this side I actually started from here when I did the other side because I'm right-handed it was easier for me to wind like this versus trying to I guess I could have turned it upside down round like that but for me it worked just as easy to wind this way so this is where my start tail was it's a little bit messy at the beginning so I'm just going to unwind a little bit and then trim it and then any time you trim your wire make sure that your tail is not poking out so just going squish it in a little bit and then up here I finished my winding and I am just going to pull that tail towards the front because I don't want it to be pokey and I know it's going to get covered anyways so I'm just going to trim it there so we are ready to start our root system and that is going to be done with various pieces of wire that are about 12 inches long each so we're going to cut ourselves some and you can see I'm just eyeballing this and that's easy to do because all your branches are going to be a little bit different and if you end up with some short ones you can do these little wire spins so you need a bunch of these some of these are looking a little bit shorter than 12 inches there we go that one's a little bit better your tree can really be anything you want it to be so you know use this video as a good starting point and then really let your imagination and your own creativity really flow and remember let the wire also leaves you if you've worked with wire before you'll probably know that sometimes forcing it to do something just doesn't work so if it wants to bend a certain way let it Bend a certain way so we're going to start with our piece and we're going to put it at the midway point on our outer hoop and we are going to make some spins now when I say spins I just mean I'm spinning it around the outer edge of it I hope that's not too confusing I guess I should say wraps feels like I'm spinning it though all right so I've done maybe a little over an eighth of an inch you can do as much or as little as you like and you want to pull it so both wire ends are facing towards the center of your your circle and then scoot that guy up to match the edge that you are a wire wrap so it looks like it's just a continual wire wrap at this point now take these guys and twist them together I'm just twisting twisting twisting okay and do that just so that they're secure and will stay together and we're doing that for maybe a quarter of an inch a little bit more and that is our very first root and we're going to just go ahead and repeat that let me do that again for you so at the halfway point on your cut piece of wire and you see although I'm lining them up here it's fine to start over here where it's a little bit easier you're not catching these wires as much because they just do scoot when you're only wrapping like an eighth of an inch is easy to maneuver these guys and scoot them along now you could if you just wanted a couple roots you could do a much wider section of wrappings here and eventually all these little loose wires are going to become your branches which are going to be able to put your gemstones on and I'm going from both sides and I'm just pushing that together make my wrappings nice and neat I'm going to pull them both to the center I'm going to go ahead and twist them and you want it to be a little bit kinky this is a tree after all it's not perfect and uniformed part of nature and organic and then just scoot it along and now we've got two of them and what you can do is you see in this example sometimes I then even when I twisted a couple of them together I'm going to do that right here you don't have to but if you look at the roots of a tree they are pretty twisty so there I've got those guys twisted together as well so you're just going to do that all the way along here until you filled that open gap and you can do as many as views you want you can twist them together if you want to you don't have to do that either so just continue with that and then I'm going to show you how to make the trunk of the tree will be the next step all right you can notice I've finished all my roots and you'll see that this base area is now filled in so it almost looks like we did a complete wire wrapping all the way around which we did we just did it in sections want to show you a quick little design difference between though the one I did here in my sample you'll notice I started my twist a little bit higher here so could these more open space triangles whereas here I did my twists a little bit closer to the wire wrapping so just a little bit of a different look so now what we need to do is these are all little separate segments we need to go ahead and make our trunk so go ahead and gather your wires together and we are going to twist them yes they are unruly at this point I am just twisting them together this is going to be our trunk and I can already see that this is going to be a little bit of a narrower truck trunk than here and that's because I had a few more wrapping so I did this section between the wraps was a little bit shorter so I was able to fit more roots in so I have a few less branches and a little bit of a skinnier trunk here okay so there is our trunk and now what I like to do is I like to break it off even more where I can now go ahead and make some other little branches here so I just took a few wires randomly I'm twisting them together so if you think about what an actual tree looks like it's got course the roots it's got the trunk and then it has some nice thick branches before it gets into the thinner branches and that's just what we're doing right here is we're going to create just a couple a little bit thicker branches it also makes it a little easier to deal with these wires okay so there is the start of our tree and I have really for me I've divided them kind of into three segments and what you can do too is you can go in here and this tree is your tree do whatever you want I don't want those so straight up and down the roots I'm going to take my pliers twist and just bend it give a little bit of kink in here so it's not quite as straight you can do that as much or as little as you like you could separate them out a little bit more create more of a gap but to me that feels a little bit better alright let's go ahead and add some gemstones there we go just going to separate these guys do the same here and what I'm doing is yes they're twisted together but I want them to go in different directions because we need to fill up this gap here so start wherever you like I do want a couple to just be loose okay so let's just begin with one let's say right here take your gemstones and let's just string you can either do it on the table if you've got a beading mat or you can put them on one by one with your fingers I'm not sure which is actually going to be easiest and you really can use whatever type of bead or gemstone you like I like the chips because they're not uniform okay so slide it down and what you're looking to do is you want to put enough on that it meets the edge of your loop and I'm doing some small ones and some larger ones this might just be easier to put them on one by one just check to see where we're at okay so we're about at the edge so now you're going to take your wire and you're going to go ahead and just loop it around your wraps that are already there you'll want to do at least three and then go ahead pull it around the back snip it and remember to tuck it in and just press it into your wrappings because you don't want to rough jagged edge of wire there on your clothing or on your skin so we have a branch with leaves I'm going to do another one and I actually think I want this one to even dip down lower I mean you'll start with like a nice big gemstone I have seen these done with scene beads which is actually an interesting look to I've also seen them done with perfectly round gemstone beads which is fun and you can also try to capture little small like metal beads in here - I've seen some that put like a little moon bead or a little star beads if it's supposed to look like a night so here I could try to stretch it right across and take off a few of these or I could dip it down and make like a little curve I think you like the curve on this one you need a little help use your pliers let's do one more we're starting to fill that guy up and I can already tell when I do these guys here I'm going to want to start those gemstones a little bit lower because I want some gemstones to really cover this part here I'm going to do another one and I'm going to show you how to end it in a little decorative spin versus ending it by wrapping it around keep going back and forth if I want to actually pick these up or just put them on like this I don't know why I can't decide on this one all right so I'm going to end this one a little decorative spin so there's a short branch to do that cut your wire maybe like half an inch from the end and take your round nose pliers and twist and make a little loop and then put your plier nose back in that little loop and keep making more little loops and around and around and there we've got a little spin and then you can manipulate that if you want you can squish it together and twist it however you like and then this branch can go and sit wherever you want it to sit you see I did that quite a few times here I just really like the little curlicues you could do this whole design without ever doing that and just make sure they all wrap towards the edge that is up to you but I thought the spins were kind of pretty alright one more on this little segment and then I'm just going to keep doing it so I'll show you one more on camera and then it's just a matter of continuing on and wherever you feel like you want to you know bulk up a blank space an open area just put a branch there with leaves let me do one more you will end up having some overlap each other so you have a nice full tree and if you ever end up with too many branches just cut them off down towards the trunk of the tree and create a little spin just so that their end is secure but that's fine to do as well okay so let's do this one and if you notice you can stretch it very tight and is flatter or you can kind of puff it out a little bit and arch it so the tree really is more three-dimensional okay I'm just going to wrap it up here and this is where I can kind of tell I'm not going to need that much wire when it cuts them off to make life easier and I am going to just go ahead and use my chain nose pliers because I can get a little tight in there you okay so there is the start of our tree and our branches and just continue all the way along and definitely feel free to like take this one here and pull it over here trees go in all different directions continue adding your leaves and then I'm going to show you how to go ahead and turn this into a quick and easy necklace alright I'm still doing my wrappings I kind of want to show you a midway through look so you can see what's happening so it's getting fuller I want to show you to kind of quick little tips so I was not totally thrilled with my wrap job right here kind of was a little bit messy so what I want to do is I want to make sure I've got this branch here with some gemstones on it I'm going to pull this up here and just kind of start to cover that so it's going to look just like the nice full tree but it's going to cover an area that I wasn't too thrilled with and then the other tip I want to show you is I was feeling I just pull this out that it was a little bit blank right here for me it's just a style choice so I just created a short little branch with a little spiral on the end and just went ahead and I just had it stop right there and pointed downwards versus taking that whole branch and dragging it all the way over I was able just to make like a little branch and have it to stick out but it covered that gap for me so those are just two quick little tips and now I'm just going to continue on with my wrapping and I'll show you what it looks like once done and we'll go ahead and turn it into that finished necklace we finished our tree pendant so you see all the leaves and the trunk and the roots and now at this point if it became at all bent out of shape just go ahead and tug it a little bit remember it's wire so you can really manipulate it however you want you can position the branches a certain way so it's really up to you now I'm going to finish this very simply I have a two millimeter Rolo chain and I have three feet of it and I have three feet because I don't want to put a clasp on it I want to slip over the head if you want it shorter you can easily attach a lobster clasp or a spring ring something like that we're going to go ahead and we are going to open a jump ring and slip it on to our loop and slip it over our chain there's a lot of silver happening for me to see not up close here and just go ahead and twist that jump ring shut again and you can see this can move along our chain now so now what we want to do to finish it without having to use a clasp slide this down towards the middle I'm using a four millimeter jump ring so it does slide but it's not slippery if that makes sense it's not going to be going all over the place and now I'm just going to connect the two ends with another jump ring make sure it's not tangled so I'll just go to the end chain link put my jump ring through it go the end chain link over here and again put my jump ring through it close it on up and we have a finished necklace and you see what that looks like for the finishing technique it's nice and secure so there is our Tree of Life in silver with the pretty tanzanite gemstone chips and then here is what a gold version looks like with an emerald color gemstone chip and you'll see they do look different every tree you are going to do is going to look different and that's part of the fun of it do not try to fight it don't try to make them all exactly the same they're supposed to be different um one little different finishing technique over here is I used a nun design little edge jump ring I thought that was kind of a fun little decorative element you can do that too there's a lot of different fancy jump jump rings on the market so that's the fun way of adding just a little extra touch as well if you want to I hope you enjoyed this tutorial you can find gems chips the wire the chain everything you need to make a project like this at beadaholique.com you

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