How to Wire Wrap an Arrowhead – an easy tutorial

by Rena Klingenberg.

How to Wire Wrap an Arrowhead – an easy tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Here’s how to wire wrap an arrowhead, step-by-step.

2,000 year old arrowhead from the Woodland Period, wire wrapped by Rena Klingenberg

Our mailman asked me to turn this beautiful arrowhead into a necklace:

He didn't mention until after I did the wire work that it's 2,000 years old!

 

He found it in North Carolina while on a rafting trip that included his grandson – and the necklace is for his grandson as a memento of that special day.

They had stopped for a picnic during their adventure and saw the arrowhead on the river bank.

I felt a unique creative energy with this project – the sacredness of combining my craftsmanship with the work of the long-ago person who hand-knapped the arrowhead.

But it wasn’t until I gave the finished necklace to our mailman that I found out that this arrowhead is from the Woodland Period – and that the person who made it probably lived about 20 centuries ago.

Here’s a step-by-step tutorial of how I wire-wrapped the arrowhead so it could be hung on a leather cord. My goal was to create a rustic yet artistic setting that held the arrowhead securely, but without covering it up with gobs of wire.

Tutorial:
How to Wire Wrap an Arrowhead

Skill Level: Beginner.

Supplies and Tools:

* 1 arrowhead (the one in this tutorial is 35 mm x 21 mm).

* 1 piece of 20-gauge half-hard round wire – about 14 inches (35 cm) long, for the size of arrowhead I used. If you’ll be wire-wrapping a larger or smaller one, you may want to use a few inches more or less of wire.

* Chain nose pliers.

* Round nose pliers.

* Flat nose pliers.

* Side cutters.

how to wire wrap an arrowhead

Procedure:

For this project, we’ll wrap the arrowhead starting down near its tip and ending up at its stem.

First, find the center of your piece of wire, and use your round nose pliers to bend the wire in half there:

Now decide on a spot somewhere near the tip of your arrowhead, where you’d like the bottom-most wrap of your wire to go.

Place the left edge of the arrowhead inside the wire bend you just made, and pull the wire securely around the arrowhead – one wire across the front of the arrowhead and the other wire across the back.

Where the two wires meet on the right side of the arrowhead, twist them together tightly, using about 3 or 4 twists:

Bend the twisted section of wire straight up, so that it runs along the right edge of the arrowhead.

Then run one wire diagonally across the front of the arrowhead and the other wire diagonally across the back of it.

The two wires should meet at the top of the arrowhead’s left “shoulder”.

Twist the wires tightly together here, using about 2 twists:

Now wrap one wire horizontally across the front of the arrowhead stem, then tightly around the right side of the arrowhead stem, and around to the back of the stem.

Take the other wire across the back of the arrowhead stem.

(View of the BACK of the arrowhead):

Right in the middle of back side of the arrowhead stem, twist the two wires together tightly, using about 2 twists.

End with one wire pointing straight up (this will become the bail wire), and the other wire pointing straight down (this will become the wire that wraps around the arrowhead’s stem):

Now use your round nose pliers on the wire that points straight up, to create a bail. The bottom of the bail should be above the arrowhead stem.

(I always create bails that are large enough to accommodate any size of chain or cord someone might want to use with the pendant):

Once you’ve formed the bail, use the remaining tail on the bail wire to make a few nice, even wraps around the bail wire’s shaft.

Then clip off the excess wire:

Now take your remaining wire and wrap it around the entire arrowhead stem, including the bail wire shaft, about 3 or 4 times (depending on how much wire you have to work with):

Secure this wire by wrapping it a few times around the remaining bit of the bail wire shaft.

Clip off the excess wire and use your chain nose pliers to squeeze the wire end down tightly.

(View of the BACK of the arrowhead):

Now you’ve made a wire wrapped arrowhead pendant, ready to hang on a cord or chain:

Finished wire wrapped arrowhead, 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, 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.

 

FREE - Get 7 Super Jewelry Making Hacks

Get Rena's 7 Super Jewelry Making Hacks, plus the Jewelry Making Journal Newsletter - all for FREE.

We Respect Your Email Privacy

  • Thank you, Zoraida! I was a little concerned the arrowhead might be too crumbly and fragile for wire, but it was actually much sturdier than it looked (and I’m thankful I didn’t know how very old it was until afterward!).

    Great idea – leather would have been a fantastic way to wrap this arrowhead – and would be a really authentic look for it. I can imagine it being leather-wrapped originally 2,000 years ago!

  • zoraida says:

    I love the simple, artistic way you wrapped this arrowhead. I so dislike overdone, fancy wraps for this kind of pendant. It’s wrapped just enough with an elegant simplicity worthy of the little artifact. I would have been too afraid to wrap it in wire – leather maybe. Thanks for the tutorial. I have a few arrowheads to try.

  • Cathy says:

    This post is so awesome – my grandfather was an Indian Relic Dealer and collector… He gave me a bird arrow on a leather bracelet for my 16th birthday – I still have it… It has become a real heirloom for me.. so fun to see this used in this way and brings back such memories….

  • Jill says:

    Wow! 2000 years old!! The necklace looks beautiful – you did a great job with it!

  • This is great info for me – I am pinning. I have several arrowheads that I received from my grandfather, and I never knew what to do with them! NOW I DO! Thank you! Julia

  • Wow this looks great 🙂

    Thanks for sharing …

  • QMM says:

    I am doing sunglass lens pendents and wrapping. I have one on my post today but not as detail as yours. This is beautiful and much more professional than mine. I did learn a few tips from you, so that is great. Thanks.

  • Mandy says:

    That looks great! So glad I found your post from the “Two Girls and a Party” link up. Our son just found a fossilized megaladon tooth while gem mining in the mountains a few weeks ago, and this is the perfect way for him to wear/display it. Will definitely Pin this!

  • Amy Perdew says:

    I love how it turned out. I can never find wire that big here in the local craft stores. I have my eye on a few crafts that call for it.Thanks for linking up with “Inspiration in Progress.”

  • Linda says:

    You did a great job and made the arrowhead into an awesome necklace.
    Linda

  • Pretty!

  • Mary Beth says:

    Wow ~ this is lovely ~~~ and 2000 years old….oh my!

  • BeColorful says:

    You make it all look so easy with amazing results. 😀 Thanks for sharing

  • Tammy says:

    What a creative idea…thank you for sharing.

  • Susan says:

    How lovely in its simplicity (I’m a less is more girl) and what a precious keepsake for the grandson.

  • Becca says:

    Jewelry making is such a fun art. Unfortunately I’m terrible at it. But your arrowhead looks beautiful!

  • Theresa says:

    I’ll have to try this. It looks doable!

  • James says:

    That point is called a morrow mountain point. It’s made from nc rhyolite. ( just in case you would like to know! )

  • James says:

    Also, nice job wrapping it. In regards to being afraid of breaking it, rhyolite is one of the hardest lithic (arrowhead making rocks) rocks out there. Unless you drop it on concrete its not going anywhere. I don’t mean to sound like a know it all at all, I just do a LOT of flintknapping lol.

  • Thanks, James, I appreciate your expertise! I don’t really know much about arrowheads, so it’s nice to hear about this one I wire wrapped!

  • Marlies says:

    I tried this on mine but there is not enough of the shaft to wrap but maybe twice and it looked awful. Will have to keep trying as the arrowhead is turquoise.

  • Pnthorse says:

    Thank you for this tutorial. A friend gave me an arrowhead to wrap….her’s
    is as old as yours…but from Ohio…and it was accidentally dropped by someone visiting. …super glue to the rescue…my wrapping will hide the damage and hold it together. …hopefully. ….

  • You’re very welcome, Pnthorse! I’m sorry to hear your arrowhead broke – but you’re right, wire can do a lot of covering-up and holding-together. Good luck with your wire wrapped arrowhead pendant!

  • janice sanders says:

    half hard or soft silver wire please

  • Thanks for asking, Janice! I used 20-gauge, half-hard, round sterling silver wire.

  • Viva says:

    In our locale, a native american reservation, it is considered a cultural taboo to wrap and wear an artifact. In my case, even a modern day arrowhead i wrapped created a huge dialog of being culturally insensitive, so i do not wrap them anymore, even though arrowheads are not exclusive to Native American ancestory. But out of respect, i choose not to wrap artifacts or modern arrowheads but seem to always be drawn to cabochons cut in that triangular shape and do not hesitate to wrap those!

  • Viva, thank you so much for mentioning that cultural taboo – and your use of triangle shapes instead. I will be mindful of this tip for future projects! 🙂

  • Jim DeLong says:

    I stumbled across your article. I am fairly sure that the projectile point you illustrate is of a type we call the Morrow Mountain II… named for a site in North Carolina. They were widespread in the southeast in the middle Archaic period… much earlier than the Woodland period you cited. It’s likely nearer to 4,000 years old than 2,000. To support that statement, I’m including 2 links… one to a site that describes the MMII for collectors:
    projectilepoints.net/Points/Morrow_Mountain.html (Scroll down for photos)
    and one that shows its place in the NC projectile point chronology:
    archaeology.ncdcr.gov/articles/projectile-points-of-the-north-carolina-piedmont
    Cheers

  • Jim, thank you so much for taking the time to share this info! Wow, I had no idea it might be that old. I’m glad I didn’t know its true age while I was wire-wrapping it – I would have been a nervous wreck that I might damage it.

  • >