Leaf & Vine Filigree Wire Bracelet (Tutorial)
by Rena Klingenberg. © 2003-Present Rena Klingenberg. All Rights Reserved
This adjustable filigree wire bracelet is made entirely from Artistic wire (a type of craft wire) – plus a leaf-shaped bead.
You could also use a bead that’s shaped like a flower or petal.
Here’s a view of the back of this bracelet:
This bracelet is super-cheap to make, and much easier than it looks!
- 18 gauge Artistic wire (or other craft wire) for the frame of the bracelet; I used “Gunmetal” color.
To figure how long your wire should be, use this formula:
Measure your wrist and add 3 inches. Multiply that number by 2. Then add another 2 inches.
So for a 7″ wrist: 7 + 3 = 10. Then 10 x 2 = 20. Finally, 20 + 2 = 22.
For a 7″ wrist you’ll need 22″ of wire for your bracelet frame.
This makes an adjustable bangle you can slide on over your hand, and will have a finished circumference of your wrist measurement + 2 inches.
- 20 gauge Artistic wire (or other craft wire) for the “filigree” layer; again, I used “Gunmetal” color.
I didn’t measure and cut this wire – I left it attached to the spool as I worked and only cut it off when I finished the filigree layer.
- 3.5″ of 20 gauge Artistic wire (or other craft wire) for the bead headpin; again, I used “Gunmetal” color.
You could also substitute a pre-made headpin for this.
- A leaf-shaped bead. You could also use a flower-shaped or petal-shaped bead.
Mine is Czech glass.
- Wire cutter.
- Round nose pliers.
- Flat nose pliers.
- Chain nose pliers.
- Cup bur or jewelry file for smoothing and rounding the ends of your wire.
- Sharpie marker.
- Bracelet mandrel (or baseball bat, PVC pipe, can of food, or any other object that’s about the size of your wrist + 2 inches).
How to Make the
Leaf & Vine Filigree Wire Bracelet
Cut your 18-gauge piece of wire for your bracelet frame.
Smooth and round your wire ends with a cup bur or jewelry file.
Use your Sharpie marker to make a mark that’s your wrist measurement + 3 inches from one end of the wire (so for a 7″ wrist, that would be 10″ from one end of your wire):
Using the tips of your round nose pliers, grasp your wire on the Sharpie mark you just made.
Fold the wire in half:
We’re not going to worry about making the wires super-straight and smooth.
We’re going for an organic vine look, so it’s OK if your wires stay wavy throughout this project.
Now your wire should look like this (it resembles a giant’s bobby-pin!) – with one end 2″ longer than the other:
Now use your Sharpie to make 2 marks:
One mark that’s 1″ from the end of the shorter end of your wire.
One mark that’s 3″ from the end of the longer end of your wire.
These two marks should wind up being right beside each other:
Now get out your 20 gauge wire.
We’ll work with it directly from the spool, without cutting the wire until we’re completely finished with it.
Lay the end of your 20 gauge wire across your folded 18 gauge wire, about 1″ from the folded end.
Leave a tail of 20 gauge wire that’s about 3 inches long.
Use your flat nose pliers to grip both wires and hold the 20 gauge wire in place:
Now wrap the tail of your 20 gauge wire around your folded 18 gauge wire about 3 times, wrapping toward the folded end:
Use your flat nose pliers to gently squeeze down on the wire-wraps you just made, so they’ll stay securely in place.
Now your wires should look something like this:
Use your round nose pliers to make a nice little loop in the leftover tail of your wire:
Now we’ll use our 20 gauge wire to make random wraps and loops around our 18-gauge folded wire frame.
Think of your 20 gauge wire as creating a filigree “vine” with tendrils, growing organically around your bracelet frame.
There’s no planned pattern – just Nature taking over.
Here’s the first few inches of my vine:
To make the tendril loops:
You can use your round nose pliers for these loops.
But I just used my fingers to form the loops. Here’s how to do that:
First, put one of your index fingertips on the bottom side of your 20 gauge wire.
Then place your other index fingertip on top of the wire – so you’re making a sandwich with the wire between your fingertips.
The rest of the fingers on your top hand are holding onto the long tail of your 20 gauge wire.
Now hold your bottom fingertip still, and pressing your fingertips together, rotate your top fingertip either clockwise or counter-clockwise – making a loop in the wire where it’s sandwiched between your fingertips.
Your finished loop should look something like this:
You can even make 2 or 3 “finger loops” in a row:
And of course, we’re emulating Nature here, so our loops don’t need to be perfectly round or perfectly even.
I made random groupings of 1, 2, or 3 loops as I moved along the bracelet frame, with occasional wraps around the frame to anchor this filigree vine layer securely to the frame:
Keep creating your 20 gauge vine around your 18 gauge bracelet base, ending with about 3 wraps around the bracelet base just before you reach your Sharpie marks on the wire:
Now use your round nose pliers to make a small open spiral on the shorter end of your 18 gauge bracelet frame wire.
(If you’re new to making open spirals, or had trouble making them in the past, see my quick video on how to make an open wire spiral):
Then make an open spiral on the longer end of your 18 gauge bracelet frame wire:
Now use your wire cutter to snip off the end of your 20-gauge wire, and then use your chain nose pliers to gently squeeze down on your last wire wraps to hold them firmly in place:
Now your bracelet frame should be covered with a filigree vine. This is how mine looks:
Wrap your bracelet frame around your mandrel to shape it into a bracelet:
On the front of your bracelet, the ends should line up approximately like this, with the folded end of your bracelet frame resting between the open spiral ends:
Now we’re going to attach the leaf bead.
Use a pre-made headpin, or make your own.
To make your own headpin: Cut a piece of your 20 gauge wire 3.5″ long:
Use the tips of your round nose pliers to make a tiny loop at one end of the wire:
Then, holding the loop with your chain nose or flat nose pliers, wind your long wire stem around the loop to make a small spiral tendril:
Now string your bead on this headpin:
Now use the long stem of your headpin to make a wrapped wire loop, attaching it to the loop in the folded end of your 18 gauge bracelet frame.
(If you’re new to wrapped loops, or had trouble with them previously, see my quick video that shows how to attach a wrapped wire loop to another component):
Now the front of your bracelet should look something like this:
. . . and the back of your bracelet should look something like this:
Here are some views of my finished Leaf & Vine filigree wire bracelet: