Do you like to layer your jewelry? If so, you’re going to love my versatile little Delicate Bar Pendant! It stands beautifully on its own, but it also makes a fantastic layering piece. Bar pendants have been trending for a while now, and I don’t see any signs of that trend fading. And this sweet little wire woven bar is my own interpretation of this jewelry trend.
I don’t know about you, but I have curves, and I like my jewelry to have curves as well. I appreciate the clean modern lines of the manufactured bar pendants that are flooding the jewelry market today, but I wanted something just a bit more romantic and feminine for myself. The Delicate Bar Pendant is what I came up with, and it seems I’m not the only romantic out there who appreciates a few curves because I’ve sold quite a few of these little darlings. And now you can make them, too!
As you’ll discover in the Variations section of this tutorial, the wire woven bar can also be used as a component in a more complex piece. You’re going to take two very important lessons away from this tutorial. First, we’ll learn to work with very small gauge wires to create a dainty wire woven component. Secondly, I’ll show you how to think of wire weaving in terms of modular elements that can be used in ways you never considered before.
Wire weaving doesn’t always have to be the main feature. Instead, it can add a wonderful pop of texture and interest to multimedia jewelry. I like to add wire woven components to bead embroidery, knotted cord, and micro macramé for truly one-of-a-kind jewelry that you’ll never find anywhere else.
Copyright & Disclosure
You’re welcome to make and sell products from this tutorial on the condition that you credit Wendi of Door 44 Studios for the design and link back to this page.
When it comes to my written tutorials, on the other hand, I reserve exclusive rights to all images and written content. You may not reproduce or redistribute any portion of this tutorial in any way, shape, or form. Furthermore, you may not teach the designs contained within this tutorial without my written permission.
This copyright applies to the printable PDF version of this tutorial as well, and it’s included therein. You may share the free version of this tutorial only by linking directly to this page.
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Alright. Are you ready to make something beautiful?
Getting Started on Your Delicate Bar Pendant
For best results, use half-hard solid copper or sterling silver wire for your core wires and dead soft copper or fine silver wire for weaving. If you choose to use a filled wire, be aware that the core wires are finished and hardened by hammering the wire. Even light hammering can expose the base metal core in filled wires, which can negatively affect your final finish. I don’t recommend plated or anodized craft wire for this necklace as those coatings will be ruined with this construction process.
Tools & Materials
- 20ga wire – 4 inches (10 cm) for the pendant plus 5 inches (13 cm) for a small Infinity Clasp (optional)
- 24ga wire – 10 inches (25 cm) for 4 closed-loop beaded connectors (optional)
- 30ga dead soft wire – 28 inches (71 cm)
- Round or roundel accent beads of your choice – 4+ each
- Delicate necklace chain in a finish that matches your wire – 15 inches (38 cm)
- Wire Cutters
- Chain Nose Pliers
- Stepped Bail-Making Pliers
- Nylon Jaw Pliers
- Needle File
- Chasing Hammer
- Bench Block
- Fine Point Permanent Marker
- WIDTH: about 1-3/4 inches (4.45 cm)
- LENGTH: about 1/4 inch (0.64 cm)
I added an 18-inch chain embellished with 2mm x 3mm gemstone roundels to the sample pendant I made while writing this tutorial. I’ve included instructions for making the same chain that’s pictured here, but of course, you may customize the chain however you’d like.
You can easily adjust the length of your necklace by adding additional beads to the wrapped-loop connectors or by changing the length of the two chain segments. Embellished chains are a great way to express your unique personality and style, so feel free to experiment.
These sweet little Delicate Bar Pendants also make fabulous birthstone necklaces. Just use gemstone or crystal accent beads in traditional birthstone colors for a wonderful gift. My birthday is in August, so I chose my own birthstone, Peridot, to accent the necklace that I created for this tutorial.
Skill Level: Intermediate
This is a more challenging project that involves wire weaving. It can be achieved by someone who has some basic wirework skills.
Other skills required to make the Delicate Bar Pendant are making wrapped loop connectors and working in closed spaces.
These instructions assume that you’re using the wire gauges specified in the materials list. However, this design can be easily adapted to any gauge wire. Just keep in mind, the larger the wire gauge, the longer your pendant will need to be in order to maintain the soft, fluid lines. Feel free to experiment with different sizes and wire gauges. You’ll find countless ways in which you can incorporate the wire woven bar component into your jewelry.
Time needed: 45 minutes
How to make the Delicate Bar Pendant
- Measure and cut the two core wires
Measure and cut one piece of half-hard 20ga wire 2 1/4 inches long (about 6 cm). This will be Wire 1. Cut Wire 2 at 1 3/4 inches long (about 4.5 cm).
File the ends of your wires smooth, if necessary, and mark the center point of each wire with your fine-point permanent marker.
- Paddle the ends of Wire 1
Use your bench block and chasing hammer to paddle both ends of Wire 1 (the longer wire). You want just a slight paddle on about 1/4 inch of each end of the wire.
Smooth and shape the paddle with your needle file, if necessary. You core wire should look similar to the one pictured below.
- Begin shaping Wire 1
Using the 2mm step (the smallest step) on your bail-making pliers, grasp the tip of one paddled end and gently curl it about 3/4 of the way around the mandrel.
Repeat on the other end making sure that the two curls face one another, as shown in the image below.
- Finish shaping Wire 1
Position one curled end of Wire 1 at the center of the 3mm step (the second step) of your bail-making pliers. Grasp the wire just under the tight curl you made in the previous step. The rounded face of the curl should be pointed toward you.
Use your fingers to push the long end of the wire away from you. Bring it all the way around the 3mm mandrel until the small curl touches the straight length of the wire, as shown below.
Repeat on the other end of the wire to complete your shape.
- Work harden Wire 1
Use your bench block and chasing hammer to flatten the large curves at the ends of Wire 1. Be careful to avoid hammering your small curls as you do so.
Hammering will lock those curves into place so the wire will maintain its shape for the life of the necklace.
- Begin shaping Wire 2
Use the 4mm step on your bail-making pliers to make a very soft curve on one end of Wire 2. You want just a hint of a curve, as shown in the image below. Don’t go too far or your two core wires won’t nest neatly together.
Repeat on the other end of Wire 2 making sure that the two curves are symmetrical and that they both face the same direction.
- Finish shaping Wire 2
Now place Wire 2 just below Wire 1 with the two curve you made in Step 6 facing down away from Wire 1. Line up the center marks that you made in Step 1.
Press the two wires down firmly on your work surface, and using your free hand, gently form the ends of Wire 2 up into the curved ends of Wire 1.
Again, you don’t want to go too far. Just nest Wire 1 into Wire 2 slightly until the cut ends of Wire 2 form a soft S-curve, as shown below.
- Work harden Wire 2
Use your bench block and chasing hammer to paddle the outer curves of Wire 2. Be careful to avoid flattening the inner curve or your two core wires won’t nest together.
When you’re happy with the paddles on the two outer curves, use your needle file to refine the shape of the ends to your liking.
- Check the fit of your core wires
Your core wires are now complete and ready to weave together. Test the fit and make sure the two wires nest together neatly. Everything should be lined up symmetrically, and the center marks should be aligned. If not, make any necessary adjustments now before proceeding with your weave.
- Prepare your weaving wire
Cut a 28-inch (71 cm) length of dead soft 30ga wire.
NOTE: If you’re making a silver pendant, you should have used half-hard sterling silver for your core wires. Use dead soft fine silver for weaving.
- Weave the first half of your bar pendant
Locate the center of your 28-inch piece of weaving wire and position it on the center marks of your core wires. Begin weaving the two core wires together using the Modified Soumak Weave.
Continue weaving in one direction until you reach the small curl on Wire 1. Make sure your center marks still line up before securing that curl. If not, slide your core wires back into alignment. Then lash the small curl of Wire 1 with a single pattern repeat.
Continue weaving in pattern until you reach the point where the two core wires begin to diverge. End your weave with three wraps around Wire 2 and break your weaving wire.
- Finish weaving the bar pendant
Flip your core wires over and repeat Step 11 on the other half of the pendant.
Again, make sure the center marks on your two core wires are aligned and be sure to continue the weave pattern seamlessly.
- Finish shaping the wire woven pendant
Now that the weaving is complete, we’re going to form the bar into a very soft curve that will add a bit more dimension to your pendant.
Use your fingers and a large mandrel, such as a juice glass, to gently coax your bar into a soft curve.
TIP: As you can see in the image below, I use a short piece of 1-1/2-inch copper pipe as a mandrel. This very basic piece of plumbing hardware has been invaluable to me as a forming tool. Look for items you have around your house, or cruise the plumbing aisle of your local hardware store to find useful mandrels for your wirework.
- Assemble the necklace chain
We’re now going to finish off our pendant with a bead embellished chain. Begin by cutting two 7-1/2-inch pieces of delicate necklace chain in a finish that matches the wire you chose for your pendant.
You’ll find a link to the chain that I used in the Resources section of this tutorial below.
- Cut wire for your wrapped loop connectors
Cut four pieces of 24ga half-hard wire 2-1/2 inches long. Mark each wire at 1 inch from one end. This is where you’ll begin your first wrapped loop.
- Attach wrapped loop connectors to your pendant
Begin a wrapped loop and thread it through one of the large loops on top of your pendant. Finish wrapping the loop.
Repeat on the other side of the bar. We’re now going to work on one half of the chain at a time.
- Connect the chain
Thread one or more accent beads onto one of the wrapped loops you just connected to the pendant. I used two 2mm x 3mm Peridot roundels on my loops. You’ll find a link to the exact beads that I used in the Resources section of this tutorial below.
Begin a second wrapped loop just above the bead(s) and thread one end of a section of chain onto the loop. Close the loop with the same number of wraps that you used on the other side of the connector.
- Attach wrapped loop connector to the end of your chain
Begin another wrapped loop and thread it onto the last link of the chain you just attached to the pendant. Finish wrapping that loop.
Thread your accent bead(s) onto the wrapped loop and begin a second wrapped loop just above the beads. That end will connect to one half of your clasp.
- Finish your necklace chain
Repeat Steps 17 and 18 on the other side of your pendant. All that remains now is to attach a clasp.
- Attach the necklace clasp
Using 5 inches of 20ga half-hard wire, make a small Infinity Clasp. Connect one half of the clasp to each of your remaining open loops.
That’s it! You’ve just completed your Delicate Bar Pendant. Put it on and admire your handiwork. It’s always a good idea to wear new pieces for a few hours to make sure they’re comfortable and that there are no sharp bits that might irritate skin or snag clothing. Make any final adjustments that are necessary before giving your new Delicate Bar Pendant its final finish and polish.
Finishing Your Delicate Bar Pendant
I patina all of my copper and silver jewelry with Liver of Sulfur (LOS), and then I burnish the patinated pieces with super fine steel wool (Grade #0000) in a warm bath of water and original Blue Dawn dish soap. The steel wool brings back the bright copper highlights on the high spots.
Once that’s done, I rinse the jewelry thoroughly to remove any particles of steel wool, and then I put the jewelry in a tumbler barrel filled with warm water and a generous squirt of Blue Dawn. I tumble all of my finished jewelry for a minimum of two hours.
If you’re new to wire weaving, this detailed tutorial walks you through my 7-step patina process. If you’re wondering why I recommend tumble polishing specifically, check out this post. And if you already own a tumbler, make sure you clean your stainless steel shot regularly so you’ll always get the best finish on your tumble-polished jewelry.
One last bit of tumbler advice before you go. Always make sure that any beads or stones that you use for your jewelry are safe to tumble. I don’t recommend tumbling natural pearls, soft gemstones, or glass beads with polymer coatings, such as glass pearls and certain frosted-look glass. If you’re not sure if your beads can handle the tumbler, run a test tumble with a bead that you’re willing to sacrifice.
Variations of the Delicate Bar Pendant
The Delicate Bar Pendant can be used in countless ways. It stands all on its own, as demonstrated in the design we just completed. But as you can see in the image above, it also works beautifully as a component in more complex jewelry pieces. I use these bars all the time in my work, and they never fail to add just the right amount of texture and interest wherever I include them.
In order to modify this wire woven bar, first, consider the size of the core wires that you have in mind. You want the length of your bar to be in balance with the thickness of your wire.
You can adapt this bar design to frame larger focal pieces, as I did in the two bead embroidery pieces pictured above. Or you can stack multiple bars to create a striking pendant with a bold texture. Try connecting multiple bars together horizontally to form an interesting chain.
Experiment with this design. Play with different sizes and shapes to create pieces that are uniquely your own. Think of ways that you can mix wire woven bars with other wire woven components, such as bead frames. And be sure to watch for new tutorials because I’ll be pairing this bar with a large bead frame in a piece that I have planned for this coming Autumn!
Discover More Behind Door 44
Thanks so much for joining me today. I hope you enjoyed creating my sweet little Delicate Bar Pendant. If you’d like a printable PDF version of this tutorial, you can find it here.
Want more free wire jewelry goodness?
I like to share useful wire weaving tips and tricks on my social media channels, and we have some great conversations about wire jewelry in my private Facebook Group. Also, be sure to connect with me @door44studios on Instagram, and Facebook to keep up with everything that’s happening behind Door 44. And if you haven’t already done so, be sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel where you’ll find new wire jewelry videos weekly.
Until next time, go make something beautiful!