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Curly cue copper wire necklace and earrings

Bring out the best in your favorite chunky beads when you pair them with coiled wire. The coiled components make for elegant earrings, too!
Curly Cue_hero
Full 2
Coiled components add texture to a strung necklace.
Bonus earrings
DESIGNER’S note: If the end coils are not parallel, use pliers to tighten the coil until the ends are aligned. Take care not to change the shape of the coiled piece.

Using beads in graduated sizes adds to the flow of this necklace, while copper wire accentuates the turquoise beads!

SUPPLIES

both projects

  • 5 mm mandrel
  • metal file or wire rounder
  • pencil
  • ruler
  • chainnose pliers
  • wire cutters

necklace 19 in. (48 cm)

  • 13 10 mm gemstone beads or pearls
  • 24 8 mm beads to match the 10 mms
  • 14 6 mm large-hole copper beads, gemstones, or pearls
  • 22 3 mm beads to match the 6 mms 
  • clasp
  • 7 ft. (2.1 m) 16-gauge round copper or silver wire, half-hard
  • 4 crimp beads
  • 4 crimp covers
  • flexible beading wire, .019
  • crimping pliers

pair of earrings

  • 2 10 mm gemstone beads or pearls
  • 2 6 mm large-hole copper beads, gemstones, or pearls
  • 2 3 mm beads to match the 6 mms
  • 24 in. (61 cm) 16-gauge round
  • copper or silver wire, half-hard
  • 8 in. (20 cm) 20-gauge round copper or silver wire, half-hard
  • pair of earring findings
  • roundnose pliers

INSTRUCTIONS

Necklace

Curly Cue_step 1
Photo a
Curly Cue_step 2
Photo b

1. Cut a 12-in. (30 cm) piece of 16-gauge wire, and file the ends or use a wire rounder to smooth them. Coil the wire around the 5 mm mandrel, keeping the coils straight and snugging them tight against each other, but not too tight around the mandrel. Using chainnose pliers, flatten the ends against the mandrel. Slide the coil off the mandrel.

2. Using chainnose pliers, gently bend an end coil perpendicular to the remaining coils. Repeat on the other end, making sure the end coils are parallel (PHOTO A).

3. Gently stretch the coils apart so the coil unit measures 1 3⁄4 in. (4.4 cm) from end to end (PHOTO B). If needed, use chainnose pliers to neaten the coils.

Curly Cue_step 3
Photo c
Curly Cue_step 4
Photo d

4. Wrap the coil unit around the pencil to form a U shape (PHOTO C).

5. Repeat steps 1–4 to make a total of seven coil units.

6. Cut a 24-in. (61 cm) piece of beading wire. Center a coil unit with a 10 mm gemstone bead or pearl sandwiched between the ends (PHOTO D)

7. On each end, string a 6 mm large-hole copper bead or gemstone or pearl, a 10 mm, a 6 mm, and a coil unit with a 10 mm sandwiched between the ends. Repeat twice, and string a 6 mm.

8. On each end, string an alternating pattern of an 8 mm gemstone bead or pearl and a 3 mm large-hole copper bead or gemstone or pearl to the desired length.

9. Test the fit, and add or remove beads as needed.

10. On each end, string two crimp beads and half of the clasp. Go back through the crimp beads, crimp the crimp beads, and trim the tails. Close a crimp cover over each crimp.

Earrings

Curly Cue_step 5
Photo e

1. Cut a 12-in. (30 cm) piece of 16-gauge wire, and make a coil unit as in steps 1–4 of “Necklace.”

2. Cut a 4-in. (10 cm) piece of 20-gauge wire. Center a coil unit with a 10 mm gemstone bead or pearl sandwiched between the ends.

3. Bend both ends of the 20-gauge wire up, and cross the wire ends over the top of the 10 mm. Bend one end straight up, wrap the other end around it twice, and trim the tail (PHOTO E).

4. String a 6 mm large-hole copper bead or gemstone or pearl and a 3 mm large-hole copper bead or gemstone or pearl. Make a wrapped loop.

5. Open the loop of an earring finding, attach the wrapped loop, and close the loop.

6. Make a second earring.

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