How to Make a Pendant – a fast, easy tutorial

by Rena Klingenberg.

how to make a wire pendant

This “how to make a pendant” tutorial is one of my favorite projects. It’s fast and easy, uses only a small amount of wire, and offers loads of opportunities for creative variety.

Also, whenever I make these they sell like crazy!

It's fun to make different decorative wire designs for the front of this pendant style. Pendants by Rena Klingenberg.

It’s fun to make different decorative wire designs for the front
of this pendant style. Pendants by Rena Klingenberg.

Tutorial: How to Make a Pendant

Skill Level: Beginner.

Supplies and Tools:

* 1 pendant-size stone or other object, with a hole drilled front-to-back.

* 1 piece of 20-gauge round wire – about 6 inches (15 cm) long.

* Chain nose pliers.

* Round nose pliers.

* Flat nose pliers.

* Side cutters.

Procedure:

For this tutorial I’m using an olive jasper stone that measures about 45 mm x 35 mm.

I’m going to make a simple wire spiral for the front design on my pendant here, but please feel free to get as creative as you like with your pliers if you don’t want a spiral! :o)

Start making the wire design that will grace the front of your pendant stone. Here I’m beginning my spiral, using round nose pliers:

I’m growing my spiral by gripping it with my chain nose pliers, while the fingers of my other hand continue to curve more wire around the spiral:

When you’ve finished your design (whether it’s a spiral or something else) – hold your wire design so its top end points up. If necessary, bend your wire stem so that it points straight up also:

Now use your flat nose pliers to make a 90-degree bend in your stem wire:

. . . and thread your stem wire through the hole in your pendant stone.

Your spiral (or other wire design you’ve just made) is on the front side of your stone:

Now, while pressing your wire design tightly against the front of your stone, bend the stem wire straight upward:

Use your round nose pliers to start shaping your pendant’s bail:

Keep using your round nose pliers to make nice even bends as you create the rest of your bail.

 

I try to make my bails large enough to accommodate any size chain or cord, including the smaller end of whatever clasp that chain / cord may have. 
My jewelry customers often say they appreciate that my bails are such a useable size.

 

When you’ve finished shaping your bail, use the remaining stem wire to make several nice, neat wraps below the bail.

As always, the secret to easy, even wraps is to pull the winding wire so it’s very taut, and wind it firmly around the stem wire.

Grip your bail with your flat nose pliers while you wrap:

When you’re finished wrapping, use your side cutter to clip off any remaining wrap wire. Then use your chain nose pliers to clamp that cut wire end down tightly.

Important Tip: On the finished pendant, it’s best if this cut wire end is not on the back side of the pendant, where it might scratch the skin or snag the clothes of the person wearing it.

So (as you can see below) when I clip off the excess wrap wire, I leave just enough wire to bend around to the side of the main wire stem before clamping it down:

Here’s the pendant I just now made – in only a couple of minutes!

Now that you know how to make a pendant this easy way, have fun creating variations of this design!

And of course, you can add extra effects to your wire – hammering, oxidizing, etc.

If you use an interesting variety of pendant stones / found objects for this project, I think you’ll find it’s a popular and profitable jewelry line to add to your display.

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, you’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. Janet Donaway says:

    Thank you for printing this tutorial.. I have been looking everywhere on how to wrap wire a simple and easy way.. You have made my day… Thank you.. Janet

  2. Hi
    Can you tell us what types of wire are best to use, i.e. copper, silver, even art wire (which I believe is copper based)?
    And is it necessary or advisable to glue the spiral down on the stone?
    Thanks.
    Barbara

  3. You’re very welcome, Janet! :)

    Hi Barbara! Thanks for asking.

    There’s no glue anywhere in this project – just a stone and a piece of wire.

    On the finished pendant, the stone swings freely on the wire, and the motion is one of the charming things about this pendant project.

    On most other pendant designs, the stone and setting become kind of one rigid piece, but on this one the stone and wire dance with each other.

    Regarding wire – I usually use 20-gauge round hard or half-hard brass, copper, sterling silver, 14k gold fill (although not lately!), etc.

    I think art wire might a bit soft and flimsy for larger, heavier stones, but it might work nicely with smaller, lighter stones.

    You’d have to experiment and see if it turns out to be sturdy enough for a bit of wear and tear.

    I hope this helps – and hope you enjoy this project! :)

  4. how do you get the holes in your stones.?

  5. Hi Barbara! I purchased pendant stones that were front-drilled. I don’t do any stone cutting or drilling myself. Most bead suppliers have a selection of front-drilled pendant components.

  6. I have jars of beautiful stones that i purchased for making necklaces. But feel really intimidated to try and do the holes myself. Any suggestions. ?

  7. Hi again Barbara! Are any of your stones big enough to wire-wrap? That’s usually a good solution for making undrilled stones (and other treasures) wearable. What dimensions are your stones?

    (edit): I was thinking you might have been intending to use your stones as focal pendants on necklaces.

    But I just realized you might have meant they are small stones and you’re intending to use them in the necklace strand instead?

  8. I’m not into wire-wrapping; I set cabs in bezel settings but regarding the type of wire, I wanted to be sure to use a gauge that wouldn’t get out of shape. Thanks.

  9. This is great!
    Do you have any suggestions for making pendant out of side drilled stones?

  10. Barbara Haines says:

    Rena, thanks for your generosity in sharing techniques and designs! On this one, do you hammer the wire at all?

  11. Thanks for your lovely comments! Barbara, you could hammer the spiral (or whatever design you make) before threading your wire into the pendant bead. And you could carefully hammer-harden the bail after the piece is finished, by turning the pendant sideways and placing only the bail on your steel block.

  12. Linda Silva says:

    Rita, I love this idea for creating a bail and I’ve followed along easily, but have run into a problem. My bail wobbles unless I glue the front spiral to the front of the pendant. What am I doing wrong? Or is this suppose to wobble? Thanks so much for all the wonderful information you so generously share on this site. You have helped me so very much.
    Linda

  13. Hi Linda! Thanks for asking.

    There’s no glue anywhere in this project – just a stone and a piece of wire.

    On the finished pendant, the stone swings freely on the wire, and the motion is one of the charming things about this pendant project.

    On most other pendant designs, the stone and setting become one rigid piece, but on this one the stone and wire dance with each other. :)

  14. Brenda says:

    So helpful! Thank you!

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