April 30, 2010

How to Wire Wrap Jewelry Charms Together (even if you can’t decide on the arrangement)

Ever wonder how jewelry designers go about arranging jewelry charms into a necklace that works? This blog post will tell you how jewelry pros go from a selection of charms to a finished necklace that will sell.

Here’s what you do:

1 – Select jewelry charms that collectively tell a story.  This necklace clusters garden-themed charms together that offers an escape to an idyllic moment in a secret garden.

2 – When using multiple charms, use a dense arrangement without a lot of empty space.  Go for lush rather than sparse & puny.

3 – Be patient. It might take you several tries to achieve an arrangement you like, that is balanced and pleasing to the eye.

4 – As jewelry designers yourselves, I’m sure many of you are familiar with the regrettable realization that you need to remove a wire wrapped link from your necklace because you don’t like it.

Well, you’re not alone. We’ve all been there.  We just closed the wrap and we think, “Darn!  That doesn’t work!”  Now we need to cut it apart and re-do the arrangement.  (Keep reading so you’ll never make that mistake again)!

5 – Here’s a lifesaving wire wrapping trick that will save you lots of time:  Start by making all of your link sections, but keep the loops on both ends open until you’re happy with the arrangement.  By doing this you can re-arrange the order of the links without cutting apart a thing!  You can add and remove links as you please by simply connecting the open loops.  Once you’ve got an arrangement you like, simply go back and wire wrap your loops closed.

Keep your loops open so you can rearrange the links

  • What an easy way to save on frustration! I will definitely put this into practice.

  • I use solid liver of sulphur to darken my sterling silver handmade jewelry, and sometimes if I’m not in a hurry, I just put my silver pieces in the small container (which closes tightly) instead of mixing up the water/liver of sulphur solution. After 24-48 hours, the metal usually darkens just from being near the sulphur. No messy solution to clean up and dispose of!


  • You are so right, once the loops are wrapped, that’s it. This is a great tip to provide some flexibility before reaching the point of no return.

  • I’ve just started oxidizing silver, Peggy, so your tip is timely! Several us stayed late at work last week for a demonstration Emily gave of the oxidation process. I love the look and have used all the items I blackened. It’s time to buy my own liver of sulpher and try your tip!

  • Leah, I can’t wait to see what you make with your oxidized findings!

  • Another thing I do for my designs… I always put the clasp on the “right” so right-handed folks can put the clasp in their right hand to put on the necklace (and pendants will be facing the correct way), since most folks are right-handed.

  • Good point Peggy! I do the same, it makes putting on a necklace a cinch. Specially when one is in a hurry!:>

  • Ali Oesch

    One tip the Staff @ Nina has given me that I use ..maybe way to much (but I love the look) Is scuff a shinny silver piece with a green scratcher…it achieves a brushed look. I mean who would have thought! And as we all know silver scratches easily, so if I add a gem next to a shinny silver pendant the gem is over time, going to rub the silver and scratch it. This tip is great to remedy an already scratch piece too…Thank you who every shared this tip with me 😉