Swift Creek Pendant
A Tutorial by
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Skills Taught in this tutorial: I would place the skill level for this project at intermediate. Good skills with pliers for bending smooth curves are necessary. Attention to detail is necessary to accomplish the neat finished look. A beginner with a strong desire and good attention to detail can probably complete the project.
You will learn how to secure the ends of fine wrapping wires and how to make a simple pronged setting for any cab.
Tools and Supplies:
Round Nose Pliers, Chain Nose Pliers, Wire Cutters, Small Ruler, painters tape or masking tape
1 Swift Creek Stamp Ornament (http://amazingporcelain.com
18 gauge copper wire
20 gauge copper wire
28 gauge copper wire
These cabs are somewhat irregular in size and shape. I recommend drawing around them for a couple of reasons. First you can write down the measurements you will need on the drawing and it will give you a visual reference that will help you as you complete the project. It will help you plan and design your project. Also many of the adjustments and fitting can be done on the drawing, which eliminates constant handling of the cab making it less likely that you could drop it or damage it in some way.
Using a tape measure or a piece of cord measure around the cab. Write the measurement down on the paper where you drew around the cab so you can easily find it.
Draw a pleasing loop on the side of your drawing near the top where it begins to curve up to the very top. Draw it on either side which ever is more comfortable for you and which ever side you feel you can get the best looking shape. Measure up to the bottom of the loop from the bottom of the cab. Measure up the same distance on the opposite side then draw a line across. Do the same for the location where the top of the loop touches the cab outline.
Fold the paper in half matching up the horizontal lines. If you can’t see the lines through the paper easily put it up against a window where the light will shine through the paper. Trace the first loop that you drew onto what is the back of the paper on the other side of the cab. Then open the paper and trace the loop back onto the front side of the paper. This will enable you to place nearly identical loops at nearly identical locations on both sides of your cab.
Draw the rest of the prongs onto the drawing. The narrow prongs are for the back of the piece. The round prongs are for the front and designed to mimic the circles and curves in the stamp design.
This picture shows the cab overlaid onto the paper so you can see how the loops will look on the cab. If this is all pleasing to you we can continue on.
Next we will measure the size of the loops and prongs. Lets do the larger loops first. Bend a piece of cording around the shape of the loop. This is easier to do with both hands but if I had both hands in the photo you wouldn’t be able to see anything so hopefully you get the idea. You can see in the photo how I have my thumbnail on the cord where the loop attaches to the cab at the top. I had bent the bottom bit around the small curve before but it sprang out when I let go of it to take the photo.
Hold the cord at the top of the loop where it attaches to the cab and extend out the rest of the cord for the loop and measure it. Write the measurement down next to the loop on the paper. Since the loop on the other side is the same we don’t need to measure it. Just write down the measurement on the other side too.
Measure one of the larger loop prongs on the front in the same manner. The loops for the back are very narrow and ½ inch of wire is sufficient for them. Also measure the distance between the top of the two hanging loops. Here you can see all my loop measurements.
The first bit of wire we will form is the piece with the hanging loops. We will use 18-gauge wire. So referring to our diagram.
Distance around the cab 6 ¾”
2 loops @ 1 ¼” each 2 ½”
-distance across the top 1 ¼”
Total length of wire 8 inches
Starting at one end of the wire using round nose pliers make a small curl. Continue to shape the wire into the loop shape.
Compare it to the drawing and adjusting the shape to match the drawing as shown in the photo. Repeat for the other end/other side of the wire/cab.
Bend the wire around to the shape of the cab using the drawing for reference. Shape the wire as close to the drawing as possible.
Next we will form the wire for the front of the cab with the large round prongs. Refer back to our drawing for the measurements.
Distance around Cab 6 ¾”
3 prongs @ ½” 1 ½”
Total length 8 ¼”
Measure out your length in 20g wire. Measure across the bottom edge of your cab. Mine is 1”. Divide that in ½ . I’ll start ½” from the end of my wire and make a loop around the round nose pliers. Start by bending a right angle. |__ So that the bend is ½” from the end of the wire. Grip the wire just past the bend, and then bend the wire back around the pliers completing the circle back at the original bend. Bend the wire back so that you end up with the _0_ shape as seen in the photo. Adjust the wire to a nice neat circle that is very close to the size on your drawing.
Next loosely fold the wire in half and make a circle of the same size in the middle of the wire. Bend it completely around as in the photo crossing at the bottom. This will make a nice circle and give you a reference point to bend the wire back at the base of the circle. Grasp the wire right where it crosses and bend the wires back on each side to create the _0_ shape again.
In this photo you can see the shape the wire should be at this point.
Bend the wire to the shape of the cab using the drawing. The ends of the wire should come together at the bottom center of the cab. Bend the prongs in toward the cab at about a 45 degree angle. You can sort of see how they angle in toward the center in the photo. Also depending on how much of a curve ridge there is along the edge of your cab you might want to curl the ends of the prongs over a bit as well.
In this photo you can see how the prongs stick up at the ends even though they are tight against the edges of the cab. By curling the ends of the prongs over some you can get them to hug that rolled edge of the cab and not stick out. If your cab has a distinct rolled edge like this one that is a desirable thing to do so it won’t catch on sweaters or other things. Just use the round nose pliers to bend the prong in the center for a tighter fit.
Next we will do the wire with the prongs for the back of the cab. This side has 5 prongs but they are very narrow.
Distance around Cab 6 ¾”
5 prongs @ ½” 2 ½”
Add ½” for overlap ½”
Total length 9 ¾”
Starting about ½” from the end of the wire again bend a right angle in the wire |__ . Then about ¼” from the first bend, bend it again completely around to make a narrow loop as shown in the photo. Crimp the wires together tightly so they lay right next to each other. Then bend the long end of the wire at a right angle to the loop. (to the left in this photo) Repeat on the other end of the wire. You should now have a wire that looks something like this: __||________________________________||__
Measure to the middle of the wire. ( ½ way between the two loops. Fold the wire in half at this point and crimp it tightly together. It should now look like the photo below. Next bend the wire away from the center creating a ¼” long prong just as you did on the ends of the wire. It should now look like this:
Here you can see the way the wire should look after the folding in half.
Next measure to the center of the space between the center prong and each end and repeat the last steps to create prongs centered between the middle and end prongs on each side of the wire. Your wire should now look like this photo.
Again shape the wire to your drawing. This time the ends of the wire should be at the top of your cab. The prongs should stick straight down. Remember this is the back so you might want to turn the paper over so you can lay it with the prongs up for easier manipulation. Test fit it to your cab as shown in the photo. Notice the back of the cab is facing you, the prongs are standing straight up and the wires overlap at the top. This is where the extra ½” comes in it makes the edge more even and prevents a gap between the wires at the very top. Since the loop wire does not come across the top and the front prong is at the center if you did not overlap the wire it would be thin at the center and potentially the wraps could come off where the wires came together. The overlap will prevent this and give it a more even appearance as well.
Next we will stack the wires and tape them. As shown in the photo the loop wire is placed between the front and back prong wires. The front prong wire comes together at the center bottom. The back prong wire overlaps at the center top behind the top front prong.
Now we want to tape this assembly to hold it while we wrap. Cut small strips of painters tape or masking tape about ¼” wide and 1” long. I used duct tape because it was the only tape I had around that would show up in the photo. I don’t recommend it. It is very difficult to remove the adhesive from the wire when you are done. Carefully tape the three wires together so they are flat with the loop wire in the center. Don’t let them bunch up into a round. Tape them about half way between the bottom of the loop and the side back prong on each side and again about half way between the bottom front prong and the side back prong on each side. You can see in the photo how there is about ¼” on either side of the prongs before the taping. You want to leave room for the wrapping. You only need a very narrow strip of tape just enough to hold the wires while you wrap.
Measure off about 10” of 28-gauge wire. You can get the job done with 9” if you are using silver wire and want to conserve you could even go 8” and do a couple less times around on each side of the prongs. But with copper wire and especially if you are somewhat new to this I recommend using 10” this will give you a bit extra.
I have started with the wrap that will go around the back prong on the center of one side. Bend ¼” of the end of the wire at a right angle |___ Place the ¼” of wire in the groove between the loop wire and either the front or back prong wire on the inside of the bezel so that the remaining wire extends out right next to the tape as shown in the photo. I’m holding the ¼” end with my thumbnail. Begin wrapping around the outside of the bezel and then back across the inside. (in the photo you are going to the back then around to the right and back across in front of the wires. Wrap toward your thumb with each wrap neatly next to the previous wrap and covering up that ¼” of wire as you go. Be careful not to cross the previous wrap but to get them lying neatly next to each other with no gaps. Crossing the wire not only looks messy it increases the thickness you are adding to the bezel and will make it stand out from the cab more than necessary. Wrap about 12 times around very tightly.
This should bring you up to the edge of the back prong on the center of the side. If not push the wraps up tightly against that center back prong.
In this next photo you can see how tightly the wraps are to each other. You will need to put about 5-6 wraps around the loop and front wires going under the back prong to keep the neat appearance and keep the wires tightly wrapped. You can see how these 6 wraps bring you right to the upper edge of this prong. Next cut about a 2” piece of 28-gauge wire (or use a scrap piece) fold it in half and place it in the groove between the back prong wire and the loop wire on the inside of the bezel. In the photo I have used a green wire so you can see it more clearly. We will wrap over this wire creating a little tunnel so we can pull our tail wire back through. I do this for extra security of the wires. It prevents the ends from coming loose and poking out and makes for a very secure wrap. Continue wrapping for another 12 wraps to complete the wrap around this prong.
Next use your chain nose pliers to carefully pull out the folded wire and then feed the end of the wrapping wire down through the tunnel so it comes out just under the prong. You may need to use your fingernail or a needle or pin to bend the end up once it is through so you can grasp it with your pliers. Grasp it with the pliers and pull the wire through until the last wrap is tight and is down snug against the previous wraps, but don’t let it overlap.
Using your cutters cut the tail as close to the loop as possible. Press the tiny end down flush with the end of your pliers. In this photo you can see how the wraps are very tight and close and how neatly the ends are tucked in.
Use your chain nose pliers to gently flatten the wraps. Be careful not to squeeze too hard and mar the surface. If you have nylon jaw pliers you can use them to flatten your wraps. I just use plain chain nose pliers and do it gently.
Repeat this process for the center back prong on the other side and for both bottom front prongs, and the center bottom prong. On the center bottom prong you may need to trim the wire ends so they come together snugly but do not overlap. When wrapping the center bottom prong do not pull the wire too tightly on the last couple wraps on either side of where the wire joins so you don’t pull it down between the wire ends, spreading the wire out. In this photo you can see how you can start the wrap from a different angle. Always start the wrap on the inside of the bezel and put the same number of wraps on each side of the prong. I have put 12 wraps on each side of each prong. Put as many wraps under the prong as necessary to fill up the space. Don’t forget to put in the folded wire before you start wrapping the second side of the prong. Always place the folded wire in the groove between the loop wire and the prong you are working on. This gives you a little gap to grap hold of the wire to pull it through.
Start the wrap for the loops in the same manner on the inside below the loop. Once you have one or two wraps into the small circle on the bottom of the loop insert the folded wire. (It will help if you do the two loops into the small circle a bit loose then pull them tight once you get the folded wire inserted) This time on the outside of the bezel as this is where there is a gap to pull it through. Insert the folded wire under your last two wraps between the loop and the side of the bezel. This way the tiny end will be tucked under the bottom of the loop. Continue wrapping into the large loop area almost up to the top back prong. Pull out the folded wire and thread the end through as before. Repeat for the other large loop.
You can now remove the tape, clean up the wire and test fit it to the cab. You should have only the top prong left to wrap. This will allow you a bit of wiggle room to adjust the fit to the cab so you have a snug fit but you also have the ability to stretch it out a bit if it is a bit too snug. Be sure it fits well then proceed to wrap the top prong in the same manner as the other prongs. Be careful not to pull the wire too tight on the two or three wraps right at the ends of the wires so you get a smooth conversion over the ends.
In this photo you can see the overlap on the ends and how it gives you some adjustment room. By either spreading or crimping in the base of the top prong.
When you have completed the wrap on the top prong you have completed the pendant portion of this project. If you are not planning on putting a patina on the wire you can now set the pendant in the bezel. If you wish to patina the setting wait to set the pendant until you have completed the chain and patina it all at once. To set the pendant, check that the front prongs come down snugly against the cab then insert the cab and gently flatten the back prongs against the back of the cab.