Adjustable Neckwire for Pendants (Tutorial)

by Rena Klingenberg.

This adjustable neckwire is an artistic, alternative way to wear a pendant.

Adjustable Neckwire for Pendants (Tutorial)

Many years ago when I first started making neckwires, I made a hook at each end of the wire for a clasp – but those hooks can sometimes come unfastened during wearing.

So the design we’ll make today includes an adjustable closure with a secure clasp:

Adjustable Neckwire for Pendants - Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Another feature is the V-shaped dip, to keep the pendant in the center of the neckwire – which also helps prevent the back of the neckwire from “traveling” around to the front:

Adjustable Neckwire for Pendants - Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Neckwires look especially striking with pendants made from metal, wire, or dichroic glass (shown below with a metal pendant from my Easy Riveted Pendant Tutorial):

Adjustable Neckwire for Pendants - Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Another cool feature: This neckwire design isn’t just a flat circle. Instead, we’ll gently bend it so it will curve gracefully over your collarbone rather than sticking out like a flat neck-ring:

Adjustable Neckwire for Pendants - Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Two ways to put a pendant on your neckwire:

  • Attach a pendant to the V-shaped center of the neckwire with a jump ring.
  • Alternatively, you can thread the pendant bail or jump ring onto the chain end of the neckwire, and slide it around to the V-shaped center of the wire.

(This is why we’ll make the wire’s end loops and jump rings small.)

Also, I recommend always making pendant bails large enough to slide over a variety of necklace ends.

Supplies:

  • 12-gauge or 14-gauge soft round wire (I’m using 14 gauge copper wire).
    The wire length should be the measurement around of the base of your neck, plus 1″ (25.4mm).

    Example: For a neck base circumference that’s 16″ around, add 1″ for a total wire length of 17″.

  • 2 sturdy but smallish jump rings (I used 6mm size).
  • Clasp (I’m using a 7mm x 9mm lobster clasp).
  • A few inches of chain with links large enough to fasten your clasp into.
  • Wire cutter – make sure it’s made for working with the heavy gauge of wire you’ll be using.
  • Wire rounder / cup bur (or jewelry file or knife sharpening stone) for smoothing and rounding both ends of your wire.
  • Round nose pliers – make sure they’re pliers that are made for working with the heavy gauge wire you’ll be using.
  • Flat nose pliers / chain nose pliers – for twisting jump rings open and shut.
  • Sharpie marker – for marking your wire.
  • Cylindrical mandrel that’s a few inches smaller around than your neck measurement – for shaping your neckwire into a circle. A hard metal or wood object would be best. You might have a kitchen pot, metal bowl, large can of food, or other object to use for this. I used a very hard, unopened roll of packing tape, measuring 14″ (355mm) in circumference.
  • Cylindrical mandrel that’s about the same circumference as your neck measurement – for bending the finished neckwire to curve over the collarbone. I used a small kitchen pot.
  • Rubber, plastic, or nylon hammer – for shaping and hardening your neckwire.
  • Jeweler’s steel block (or other flat, smooth, sturdy surface) – to hammer-harden your neckwire.

How to Make an
Adjustable Neckwire for Pendants:

Start by cutting your wire to the length specified above in the “Supplies” section.

Next we’ll mark the wire using a Sharpie marker (you can remove the Sharpie ink from the wire later, using a few drops of rubbing alcohol on a scrap of paper towel).

Use your Sharpie marker to make 3 marks on your wire:

  • 1 mark on the centerpoint of your wire
  • 1 mark that’s 0.5″ (13mm) to the left of your centerpoint mark
  • 1 mark that’s 0.5″ (13mm) to the right of your centerpoint mark

Your marked wire should look like this:

Marking wire for Adjustable Neckwire for Pendants - Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Use your wire rounder / cup bur to smooth and round both wire ends:

Smoothing ends of copper wire - Rena Klingenberg

Now it’s time to wrap your wire tightly around the mandrel that’s a few inches smaller than the length of your wire.

Your wire ends will pass each other, as shown in the photo:

Shaping wire into a circle for Adjustable Neckwire for Pendants - Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Hold the wire tightly wrapped around the mandrel.

Now use your nylon, plastic, or rubber hammer to pound your wire around the mandrel.

Make sure you hammer every bit of the wire:

Hammering wire for Adjustable Neckwire for Pendants - Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Now you can let go of the wire.

It should spring back to a size that’s a bit larger than the mandrel:

Shaping the wire for Adjustable Neckwire for Pendants - Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Now your neckwire should look like this:

Marked, shaped wire for Adjustable Neckwire for Pendants - Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Next we’ll form the small V-shape in the center front of the neckwire.

Use the tips of your round nose pliers to grasp the centerpoint mark you made on your wire:

Making the V-shaped centerpoint of the wire for Adjustable Neckwire for Pendants - Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Holding the wire tightly with your pliers, use the fingers of your other hand to press the sides of your wire straight down:

Making the V-shaped centerpoint of the wire for Adjustable Neckwire for Pendants - Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Now your wire should look like this:

Making the V-shaped centerpoint of the wire for Adjustable Neckwire for Pendants - Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Use your round nose pliers to grasp the mark on your wire that’s to the right of the centerpoint mark:

Making the V-shaped centerpoint of the wire for Adjustable Neckwire for Pendants - Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Holding the wire tightly with your pliers, use the fingers of your other hand to bend the wire end over the pliers jaw until the wire has a wide-angled bend:

Making the V-shaped centerpoint of the wire for Adjustable Neckwire for Pendants - Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Now your wire should look like this – with the center point at the bottom of the V-shape, and a wide-angle bend on the Sharpie mark that’s to the right of centerpoint:

Making the V-shaped centerpoint of the wire for Adjustable Neckwire for Pendants - Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Use your round nose pliers to grasp the mark on your wire that’s to the left of the centerpoint mark:

Making the V-shaped centerpoint of the wire for Adjustable Neckwire for Pendants - Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Holding the wire tightly with your pliers, use the fingers of your other hand to bend the wire end over the pliers jaw until the wire has a wide-angled bend (just like the bend you previously made in the other side of the wire):

Making the V-shaped centerpoint of the wire for Adjustable Neckwire for Pendants - Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Now the V-shape is done, and your wire should look like this:

Making the V-shaped centerpoint of the wire for Adjustable Neckwire for Pendants - Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

It’s time to hammer your neckwire to harden the metal, making the neckwire sturdier.

Place the neckwire on your steel block.

Use your nylon, rubber, or plastic hammer to hammer every bit of your neckwire.

Then turn the neckwire over and thoroughly hammer the other side:

Hammer hardening the wire for Adjustable Neckwire for Pendants - Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Now we’ll make the curve for the collarbone.

I’m using a small kitchen pot as a mandrel for this.

Place one side of your neckwire against the mandrel as shown below, and wrap that side of the neckwire around the pot, so that the V-shaped centerpoint and the wire end are wrapped toward the back of the mandrel:

Bending the wire for the collarbone curve - Adjustable Neckwire for Pendants - Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Then remove the neckwire from the mandrel.

Turn the neckwire over, and wrap the other side of the neckwire around the mandrel in the same way:

Bending the wire for the collarbone curve - Adjustable Neckwire for Pendants - Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Remove the neckwire from the mandrel.

Now if you lay the neckwire on a tabletop, the V-shaped centerpoint and the tips of the wire ends should touch the table – while the sides of the neckwire arch upward above the tabletop.

Next we’ll make a loop in each end of the wire.

Use your round nose pliers to grasp one end of your wire:

Making the end loops for Adjustable Neckwire for Pendants - Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Then roll that wire end into a small loop:

Making the end loops for Adjustable Neckwire for Pendants - Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Do the same thing at the other end of the neckwire, so that each end has a loop like this:

Making the end loops for Adjustable Neckwire for Pendants - Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Now we’ll attach your clasp and chain to the neckwire.

Use your flat nose / chain nose pliers to twist open both jump rings:

Open jump rings for Adjustable Neckwire for Pendants - Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Thread one jump ring through one loop end of your wire.

String the clasp onto the jump ring, and then twist the jump ring shut:

Attaching the clasp to Adjustable Neckwire for Pendants - Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Now move to the other end of your neckwire.

Thread the remaining jump ring through the remaining loop end of your wire.

String one end of the chain onto the jump ring, and then twist the jump ring shut:

Attaching the clasp to Adjustable Neckwire for Pendants - Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

When wearing the neckwire, you can fasten the clasp to one of the links of the chain.

You can adjust the fit and length of the neckwire by fastening the clasp into different links of the chain.

The finished neckwire is also flexible enough to be re-shaped a bit to customize the fit.

The fastened clasp should look something like this:

Adjustable clasp for Adjustable Neckwire for Pendants - Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

And your finished neckwire should look something like this (notice how the neckwire’s sides arch above the table, while the V-shape centerpoint and the clasp ends of the wire touch the tabletop:

Adjustable Neckwire for Pendants - Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Adjustable Neckwire for Pendants - Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Adjustable Neckwire for Pendants - Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Want to Learn the Basics of
Designing Your Own Wire Jewelry?

Design and Make Artistic Jewelry Components Class In my Design and Make Artistic Jewelry Components video class, you’ll learn how to get great ideas for wire jewelry designs – and then follow my easy system for turning those ideas into successful pieces of jewelry.

By the end of this online video class, youโ€™ll be designing and making your own artistic earwires, clasps, connectors, and pendant bails.

You’ll also learn my tips for making wire jewelry more easily, with more professional looking results.

 

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Comments

  1. OOOooo Rena I love the minimalist design, especially with the wooden pendant. Metal and wood are so complimentary to each other.

    I love clean designs that are so versatile like this neck wire.

    I totally have to try this tutorial! Thank you!

    Rebecca Brooks

  2. Thanks so much, Rebecca! I love clean, versatile things like this too, where a simple geometric pendant makes a statement.

  3. Kerrie Venner says:

    Yet again, you read my mind, Rena. Yesterday I was wondering how to make a neckwire like a sterling one I have had and loved for years, without an expensive neck mandrel. I slide my fave pendants on and off and work the shorter neckline….wow. I do wish you lived near me!! But your Newsletter is possibly the next best thing.
    Thank you Rena!

  4. Sheila Meador says:

    Thank you so much for giving me another way to use wire in my creations. This will work well with my glass tile images. One question – what kind of wire is nickel free?

  5. Thanks, Sheila! Brass, copper, aluminum, Argentium silver, 14k gf, and niobium are considered to be nickel-free. Avoid “german silver” (also known as “nickel silver”). If you’re not sure whether a jewelry wire or metal has nickel, always ask the supplier.

  6. Sheila Meador says:

    Wow, I didn’t know that about German silver wire. It would be nice if the packaging indicated if it is lead free, nickel free, etc. I’m saving the list. Thanks a bunch!

  7. I must try this….today! Another wonderful tute and I thank you.

  8. Genius. Thanks for sharing. You are a peach!

  9. Khurshid Khoree says:

    Thank you for sharing this easy, clean and neat tutorial for making neck
    wires. My only concern is the gauge of the wire mentioned. We don’t get 12ga or 14ga soft wire where I live. Is there any alternate gauge I can use?
    Thanks

  10. Thanks for asking, Khurshid! You should be OK with 14 gauge or 16 gauge half-hard wire.

  11. Cindy Arellanes says:

    Just wanted to thank you so much for all your free tutorials! I’m just starting out and there is such a great expense in buying tools and supplies. What a wonderful opportunity you have given all of us to share your knowledge. It always seems just when I have some question about how did they make that- you have a tutorial on it! Just wanted you to know that your generosity does not go unnoticed!
    Thank you so much!!

  12. Great tutorial, I love the clean look of a neckwire especially with a substantial pendant. The V shape is great for centering the focal and the curve is almost organic looking and comfortable. I like that you’ve added a clasp and adjustable chain too!!! I’ve made similar neck wires in copper, bronze, brass and sterling. They all look great.

  13. Thank you all for your lovely feedback on this tutorial! It’s wonderful to hear that you’re finding it (and my other tutes!) helpful. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Cindy, regarding all the tools and supplies needed to get started – you may want to see my post, Developing Systems and Supplies that Work for You. I was already well on my jewelry journey by the time I had that realization, but you may find it helpful to consider it now, at your beginning.

  14. Love this! Thanks for your very detailed tutorial. I have made neck wires for pendants before but love the idea of adding the chain to make them adjustable!

  15. sandra says:

    Thank you I love it

  16. hi, I just happened on your tutorial for the neck wire and all I can say is wow wow wow, its fantastic and so easy to make but looks phenomenal I love it. I will be defiantly featuring some forms of these on my website and take them with me to my craft events. thank you for this superb opportunity. I have one question that I hope can be answered can you use memory wire to make these necklaces

  17. Thanks so much, Beverly! About using Memory Wire to make these – it’s an interesting idea, but I haven’t tried that myself. So you might give it a try and see what happens. And of course if you’re using Memory Wire, you’ll need to use heavy-duty cutters and pliers that are made to handle that kind of wire (not your regular jewelry cutters and pliers). If you do try making one of these neckwires with Memory Wire, I’d love to hear how it turns out for you! ๐Ÿ™‚

  18. Love your tutorial! I’ve been making more pendants lately and would like to offer more choices for my customers, especially those who are not big fans of chains! I have a ton of 12 ga wire that has been staring at me in my work shop and now I finally know what to use it for!

  19. Cindy Arellanes says:

    Thanks Rena! I actually saw that post a while ago and set up my supplies that way. It works very well. This has been such a fun journey.

  20. Thanks that is a very clear tutorial and great photos.

  21. Jann Olson says:

    I have a necklace that I can interchange the adornment and love it. This is a wonderful idea!
    hugs,
    Jann

  22. As usual, the details involved in your tutorials are super helpful. And the design is brilliant. I’m going to try this soon, and play around with the many variations now spinning through my head. I love copper, but will try it in silver and gold also. I love the idea of interchangeable pendants that I can personalize for specific occasions.

  23. Thank you, Maureen! I too love my collection of interchangeable pendants, and a variety of neckwear to put them on!

  24. Love this wire necklace! Your tutorials are so easy to follow. Thank you.

  25. I love this tutorial , and thank you for sharing it. I am having trouble understanding the part about shaping it around the pot/mandrel to shape it correctly do you bend it over the rim of the pot a little?

  26. Maretha Hines says:

    Thank you for such beautiful jewelry and ideas. I am in the process of making birthdays gifts for my girls. One of them loves silver chokers. I think I may make her a choker like the one in your tutorial and several pendants she can wear with it.

  27. Thank you, Maretha! I’m thrilled to hear your idea of making these neckwires for your girls – and I love your thought of including a collection of pendants! ๐Ÿ™‚

  28. Joyce Lewis says:

    Rena you are an amazing teacher !!I am retired and love to putter around with jewellery-making . You are my go to for learning how to .Your tutorials are the best and you are so generous with your sharing . I always look forward to your newsletters with anticipation!! Thanks so much !!!!

  29. Joyce, thank you for your kind comment! It’s lovely to hear that you’re enjoying the tutorials and newsletter so much – I really appreciate that. ๐Ÿ™‚

  30. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!!!! Rena for the many great ideas and tutorials you share! You absolutely rock!!!!

  31. Rena, you’ve saved the day. I ordered some neckwires for the glass pendants I make and when they arrived their fit was unflattering and the heavy clasp slid to the bottom. I remembered this tute and followed your instructions. Now the neckwires are flattering and viewers focus on the glass not the wire. Thanks a million!

  32. You’re very welcome, Anne, and I’m so thrilled to hear that this tutorial saved your purchased neckwires. Thanks for letting me know! ๐Ÿ™‚

  33. This is fantastic. I purchased some unique pendants that would be PERFECT on this. Thank you so much for the great tutorial!

  34. Cris, you’re very welcome! That’s lovely to hear! ๐Ÿ™‚

  35. Flannery Kathleen DIEHL says:

    This is Exactly what I was looking for and just in the nick of time! Thank you, Rena. ~ Flannery

  36. Flannery Kathleen, thanks so much for letting me know how helpful this was for you! ๐Ÿ™‚

  37. tracy dupree says:

    hello I’m so impressed u r good at what u do and ur so sweet .

  38. Pompilio Muรฑoz says:

    Gracias por compartir tus conocimientos, tu forma didรกctica y sencilla de mostrar las cosas permiten nuestro aprendizaje.
    Gracias

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