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Wire-wrapped leaf links

Bring variety to your jewelry designs with this beginner wire jewelry project
Wire wrapped leaf links

Instead of making round links in your next piece, why not try a leaf shape? A single wire-wrapped leaf link can add an accent, provide color, lighten the weight of a piece, or provide balance to a design. This wire-wrapping technique will get you started on making two basic leaf shapes. One leaf has a center vein, which gives it additional strength so it can support heavier materials. The other leaf is without a center vein and should not be overstressed, or it might pull out of shape. The featured project uses 20-gauge (0.8mm) wire and will result in one link that’s about 2 1⁄4 in. (57mm) long. Eight to ten links are enough for a necklace. So, you could start making a necklace right now and wear it tonight!

Read instructions on making the basic leaf link below. For information on making serrated leaf links, shaping the leaf links, creating a ginkgo leaf link or fashioning continuous links, click here for the free project PDF.

Materials

  • Sterling silver or craft wire (coated or plain): 20-gauge (0.8mm), round, half-hard
    - Basic link: 8 1⁄2 in. (21.6cm)
  • Split rings or jump rings (optional)

Tools & supplies

  • Wire cutters
  • Permanent marker
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Pliers: chainnose, flatnose, roundnose
  • Tube wringer (optional)
  • Wooden dowel
Instructions
Wire wrapped leaf links 1
Step 1
[1] Cut and mark the wire. Cut an 8 1⁄2-in. (21.6cm) piece of 20-gauge (0.8mm) wire. If desired, cut extra wire to accommodate variances in wire wrapping. Extra wire can be trimmed in the final step. Lay the wire along the Basic Leaf Link Ruler (click here for the PDF template) and use a permanent marker to mark the points indicated by the arrows. Test your marker on a scrap piece of wire to ensure that the marks can be removed from the finished link. The ink of many permanent markers will come off with rubbing alcohol.
Wire wrapped leaf links 2
Step 2
Wire wrapped leaf links 3
Step 3

[2] Make the first loop. Measure 1 in. (25.5mm) from the wire end, which is indicated on the leaf ruler by the letter a. Use roundnose pliers to bend the 1⁄2-in. (13mm) section of wire between marks b and c to make a teardrop-shaped loop so that marks b and c align. The short end of the wire should cross over the long wire.

[3] Curve the leaf edge. Use your thumb to curve the 2-in. (51mm) section between marks c and d.

Wire wrapped leaf links 4
Step 4
Wire wrapped leaf links 5
Step 5

[4] Make the top loop. Use roundnose pliers to bend the 1⁄2-in. (13mm) section between marks d and e to make a teardrop loop so marks d and e align. Cross the longer end of the wire over the curved wire. This is the first leaf edge.

Curve the second leaf edge. Use your thumb to curve the 2-in. (51mm) section between marks e and f outward.

[5] Close the leaf link. Use roundnose pliers to make a tight U bend in the wire at mark f. Thread the U bend onto the wire tail left over from the first loop. Move the U bend to the intersection of the first loop. Use flatnose pliers to compress and hold the U bend while wrapping the wire tail (a–b) two or three times around the intersection.

Wire wrapped leaf links 6
Step 6
Wire wrapped leaf links 7
Step 7

[6-7] Make the center vein. Use roundnose pliers to make a 90° bend in the wire at mark g [6]. Use flatnose pliers to hold the top loop while wrapping the remaining 1 in. (25.5mm) of wire between marks g and h two or three times around the intersection [7]. Shape the link as desired. Clean off any marks.

FIND MORE: wirework , wire , necklaces

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