If you’ve been around the blog lately, maybe you’ve seen my last two jewelry tutorials: Wire-Wrapped Jewelry Basics, and Using Headpins to Make a Fringe Bib Necklace. These are two basic jewelry making techniques that you can practice and apply to your own designs. I’m adding just one more basic technique for now: How to Wire-Wrap a Teardrop Bead. Teardrop pendants and earrings were also very popular among my bridal customers, so I’ve wire-wrapped many a teardrop bead!
Teardrop beads are usually “top-drilled”, i.e. the hole is drilled horizontally through the top point of the bead so that the rest of it dangles to make a pendant or earrings, for example. You can see this in the picture below with the wire going through the top of the bead. This is in contrast to your regular bead that is drilled through the middle. Top-drilled beads aren’t always teardrop-shaped…they can be marquis (rounded diamond), oval, or lots of other surprising shapes. But teardrops are the most common, and they come in all kinds of materials, including gemstones, crystals, pearls, and metals. I’m going to use these gold teardrop beads and gold wire so you can really see them in the pictures. Step 1. Take your top-drilled bead and insert a length of 26-gauge wire through the hole. The length of wire depends on how many regular beads you want to thread on top. I have two 4mm beads, so I think 2-2.5 inches of wire should allow me to work comfortably. Insert the wire so it’s sticking out about 1/3 or 1/4-ish on one side. Grasp the bead with one hand. Step 2. Using your other hand, fold the two ends of the wire up, so they are both pointing upward. Step 3. Pinch the wires together so they form a triangle right above the tip top of the teardrop bead. The ends of the wire should still be pointing upward. You can first pinch them together with your fingers, then use pliers to make the angles of the wires nice and neat. But don’t pinch too hard or you might weaken the wire. Step 4. Using your fingers, take the short end of the wire, and bend it so it crosses over the front of the long wire. You’ll be bending it “against” the angle at which you bent it to form the triangle. Bend it so it is a 90 degree angle from the long wire, which should still be pointing upward. Step 5. Grasp the triangle part with your pliers as shown (either flat nose pliers or round-nose pliers are fine). Hold it in your non-working hand i.e. if you’re right-handed, hold it in your left hand. Don’t squish the triangle or pinch it closed. You just want it to rest flat in between the pliers. Step 6. Take your flat-nose pliers in your working hand and grasp the short end of the wire. Step 7. Wrap the short end around the long end about 3 times. You want the coil of ware to be right above the top tip of the triangle. This is just like making a loop in regular wire-wrapping. You just have the top-drilled bead threaded in the loop, and instead of a round loop, it’s a triangle. Step 8. All done wrapping the first coil. Snip off the excess wire with wire cutters. Step 9. Thread on your beads. Note: You can skip the beads and just proceed to step 10, making a second coil right above the first one (but the coil would wind from top to bottom, meeting the 1st coil in the middle. So you would leave yourself a coil’s worth of room when you make the 2nd coil). Step 10. Make a second loop but stop here, to keep it “open”. You could thread on a jump ring into the loop if you are making a pendant. Or, you could thread on earwires. Gold teardrop wire-wrapped earrings, all done. Here’s a bridal necklace I made with 5 crystal top-drilled beads in front, dangling at varying lengths. Again, I formed the second loop just to the “opened” point. I made the necklace part with some tiny jump rings spaced apart in the center by about 1.5 inches starting from the middle. Here’s another example…gemstone earrings. These were popular with bridal customers to give to their bridesmaids as gifts and as to wear on the day of. Plus, they’re nice for after the wedding. Now you can make them for your own bridesmaids. Another pair of earrings, which would go with my Fringe Bib Necklace. A teardrop pearl necklace framed by a flat gold pendant. Hope that these basic wire-wrapped jewelry techniques help you in designing your own creations! Let me know what you make!