The dark and moody New Moon Pendant, with its clean, simple lines, has a distinctly Egyptian feel. This design, more than any of my other designs, is perhaps the truest expression of my personal style. For most wire weavers, the wirework itself is the main feature of their work. For me, it’s all about the stones. I want my wirework to enhance the beads that I choose. So I always strive to frame my stones in such a way that the eye is drawn immediately to the stone itself. And this design, which almost seems to defy gravity, does precisely that.
I chose a 30mm top-drilled stone for this tutorial. I bought these pretty gemstone beads at a bead shop in Pueblo, Colorado, which (sadly) went out of business in 2018. The stones weren’t identified at the time that I purchased them, but I suspect they’re some sort of Jasper or Agate. I also know for certain that they originated from Cherry Tree Beads.
Cherry Tree Beads is the only wholesale bead supplier that I know of that regularly carries top-drilled gemstone coin beads. That fact alone makes this store one of my favorite sources for gemstone beads. And don’t worry. Cherry Tree Beads sells retail, too, so you’ll be sure to find a great selection of top-drilled gemstone coin beads to choose from for your own New Moon Pendant.
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, however, I reserve exclusive rights to all images and written content. You may not reproduce or redistribute any portion of the New Moon Pendant 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 the dark and moody New Moon Pendant 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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You may use half-hard or dead soft solid jewelry wire for the core wires for the dark and moody New Moon Pendant. Because we’re using heavier gauges, and there’s no heat involved, this design works just as well using brass or bronze wire as it does with copper or sterling silver. As usual, you’ll need dead soft wire in the same (or a compatible) alloy for weaving. If you choose sterling silver for your core wires, I recommend using dead soft fine silver for weaving.
If you choose to use a filled wire, be aware that the bead frames are finished and hardened by hammering the wire. Because even light hammering can expose the base metal core in filled wires, which can negatively affect your final finish. As always, I don’t recommend plated or anodized craft wire for this necklace as those coatings will be ruined with this construction process.
How to Choose the Right Jewelry Wire
Jewelry wire is a constant source of confusion for beginners. I remember those days well, and there are far more wires on the market today than there were when I first began making wire jewelry. If you’d like to have a clearer understanding of how to choose the right jewelry wire for wire weaving, be sure to read this post. In it, I share everything you need to know about jewelry wire as you set out on your wire weaving journey.
Tools & Materials
- Dead Soft Wire for the Bead Frame
- 14ga – 3.5 inches (9 cm)
- 16ga – 8.75 inches (22 cm)
- 28g – 10 feet (3 m)
- 30mm Top side-drilled coin bead – 1 each
- 3mm to 6mm accent beads of your choice – 4+ each (optional)
- 18ga wire – 6 inches (15 cm) for a medium Easy Infinity Clasp (optional)
- 22ga wire – 10 inches (25 cm) for four wrapped loop connectors (optional)
- 24ga wire – 6 inches (15 cm) for the alternate bead suspension method (optional)
- Mediumweight necklace chain to match your wire (optional) – 16 inches (41 cm). Here’s a link to the copper chain that I used while writing this tutorial.
- Wire Cutters
- Chain Nose Pliers
- Stepped Bail-Making Pliers
- Nylon Jaw Pliers
- Needle File
- Nylon Mallet or Rawhide Mallet
- Chasing Hammer
- Bench Block
- 1-inch, and 1-1/4-inch mandrel. I use copper pipe fittings that I picked up at my local Lowe’s store. I’ve linked directly to those items here for your convenience. These tools are optional but helpful for this tutorial as well as many other Door 44 Studios tutorials coming soon.
- Fine Point Permanent Marker
- Sunshine® polishing cloths (optional). These are the polishing cloths that I use for dry polishing jewelry.
- WIDTH: about 1-1/2 inch (3.81 cm)
- LENGTH: about 1-1/2 inches (3.81 cm)
I added a medium-weight 18-inch chain embellished with 8mm Czech Glass beads to the dark and moody New Moon pendant that I made while writing this tutorial. I’ve included instructions for making the same chain that’s pictured here for your convenience. But as always, you’re welcome to customize the chain however you’d like.
You can easily change the length of your necklace 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.
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.
This tutorial uses the Modified Soumak weave, and it requires using a chasing hammer. If you’re unfamiliar with either of these techniques, be sure to review those skill-based tutorials. They will help you work through this project.
This is a super simple and beginner-friendly bead frame to make. The trickiest part of the whole process is suspending your focal bead in such a way that the weave is seamless, and the bead appears to float within the frame.
Don’t worry. I’ll walk you through my process for suspending the focal stone but be prepared to break a wire or two as you work through this tutorial for the first time. Suspending your bead properly within the frame can be a challenge, but the results are so worth the effort when you get it just right!
How to Make the Dark and Moody New Moon Pendant
The following instructions assume that you’re using a 30mm top side-drilled coin bead, as specified in the materials list. However, this design can be easily adapted to any top side-drilled bead by simply changing the shape of the bead frame. Center-drilled beads may also be substituted if you can’t locate a top-drilled bead.
I’ve listed my recommendations for resizing the bead frame to fit smaller or larger coin beads in the Variations section of this tutorial. Refer to that section now if you’ve chosen to use a focal bead that is substantially larger or smaller than the 30mm gemstone bead that I used while writing this tutorial. Otherwise, proceed with the instructions for the bead frame, as written.
- Measure and cut one piece of 14g wire at 3.5 inches.
File the ends smooth, if necessary, and mark the center of your wire with your permanent marker.
This 14g wire is the core wire that lies closest to your focal bead. It provides the foundation for your bead frame and forms the bezel around your focal stone, so you want it to be very sturdy. When modifying this design, always choose the heaviest gauge wire that is suitable for your chosen focal bead for this foundational core wire.
- Measure and cut three pieces of 16g wire to the following lengths:
1) 3.25 inches
2) 3.0 inches
3) 2.5 inches
File the ends smooth, if necessary, and mark the center of your wires with your permanent marker.
- Use the 1-inch mandrel to shape the 3.5-inch 14g wire into a smooth continuous curve.
Use your soft mallet to form the ends of the wire around the mandrel. We’ll call this Wire 1.
Now test the fit of that core wire around your bead. You may need to either stretch or tighten the curve just a bit so that the 14g wire fits comfortably around your bead.
You want a close fit, but not too snug or you’ll have trouble suspending your bead from the frame later in this tutorial.
- Use the 1-inch mandrel again to shape the 3.25-inch 16g wire into a smooth continuous curve.
Again, use your soft mallet to coax the ends of the wire around the mandrel.
That core wire, which we’ll call Wire 2, will nest just above Wire 1 (the 14g bezel wire). Check the fit and adjust as necessary until your two core wires nest closely together.
- Use the 1-1/4-inch mandrel to form the 3-inch 16g wire into a soft continuous curve, just as you did in Steps 3 and 4.
This is Wire 3.
Again, test the fit and adjust the curve of that wire until it nests closely against Wire 2.
- Use your bench block and chasing hammer to paddle the ends of the three curved wires as well as the ends of the remaining 2.5-inch 16g wire (Wire 4).
You want just a slight paddle on about 1/4 inch of each end of the wire.
Smooth and shape the paddles with your needle file, if necessary, until your four core wires look like those shown.
- We’re now going to form the loops on Wire 4 that will attach to your chain.
Using the 2mm step (the smallest step) on your bail-making pliers, grasp the tip of one paddled end and gently curl it all the way around the mandrel.
Repeat on the other end making sure that the two curls face one another, as shown.
- Take the same wire you just shaped in Step 7 (Wire 4) and position one curled end of the wire 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 Step 3. The rounded face of the curl should be pointing toward you.
Use your fingers to push the long end of the wire away from you and bring it all the way around the 3mm mandrel until the small curl made in Step 3 touches the straight length of the wire, as shown.
Repeat on the other end to complete your shape.
- Use your 1-1/4-inch mandrel to form a soft curve on Wire 4, as shown.
Wire 4 should nest closely above Wire 3. Test the fit and make any necessary adjustments. You may need to tighten the curve on Wire 4 just a bit toward the ends.
- Now that all your core wires are fully formed, we need to harden the ends of Wire 4 so it’ll retain its shape.
Using your bench block and chasing hammer, carefully flatten the curved ends of the wire. Be careful to avoid hitting the small curls with your hammer.
If hammering the curved ends opens a gap between the small curls and the core wire, gently squeeze that gap closed with the 2 mm step of your bail-making pliers. We’re going to lash those ends to the core wire in the next section of this tutorial, so don’t worry if you can’t close that gap completely.
- Your frame wires are now complete and ready to weave together.
Before proceeding, nest all your core wires together and line up the center marks.
The wires should nest neatly together, and everything should be lined up symmetrically. If not, make any necessary adjustments now and mark new centerlines on your core wires.
- Prepare to weave the core wires together
You’ll need about 10 feet of dead soft 28g wire for weaving.
I like to work off a bobbin when dealing with this much wire. Wind your bobbin with more than enough wire to complete the weaving for this project. I usually wind my bobbins with between 50 and 100 feet of wire, and then I use that bobbin for several projects.
- We’re going to suspend the bead with the weaving wire while seamlessly continuing the weave.
Before you begin weaving, you’ll need to determine the points on Wire 1 that align with the holes in your focal bead.
Slip a straight piece of scrap wire through the hole on your bead so the wire comes out on either side of the bead.
Then center Wire 1 around the bead, as shown. Mark the points on each side of the hole in the bead on Wire 1 with your fine-point permanent marker. Make sure the center mark on Wire 1 is centered between those two marks.
- Pull about 5 feet of weaving wire off your bobbin and position your core wires near the bobbin.
Begin weaving the four core wires together using the Modified Soumak Weave.
Start at the center marks and weave 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 the wires back into alignment. Then lash the small curl of Wire 4 with a single pattern repeat.
Continue weaving in pattern until you reach one of the marks you made in Step 2 indicating the hole position on your focal bead.
- Flip your bead frame over and repeat Step 14 on the other side of the frame.
Again, make sure your core wires are all aligned on the center marks. You won’t really be able to move Wire 4 at this point. Once you lash the small curls on that wire, it’s pretty much locked in place. But you can still slide Wires 1, 2, and 3, if necessary.
- The weave should be centered on your bead frame between the two marks on Wire 1 that indicate the bead’s hole position.
There should be one wire laying on top of Wire 1 and one wire behind, as shown.
Hold your focal bead in place and double-check that the hole position is correct. You don’t want your weaving wire to form sharp angles against the top edge of the hole. This will cause your weaving wire to eventually break. Instead, you want the wire to pass through the bead in as straight a line as possible. If necessary, complete another pattern repeat or two until the weaving wires are in the best position to pass through the bead, as shown.
- Again, one end of your weaving wire should be in front of Wire 1 while the other is behind Wire 1.
Pay attention to this pattern because you’re going to continue the weave exactly where you left off after passing each end of the weaving wire through the hole on the bead.
Place your bead flat on the table with the side that you want to be the front facing you. Take the weaving wire on the left side of the bead frame and pass it from left to right through the hole on the bead.
Repeat on the right side of the bead frame, passing the wire through the bead from right to left.
You should now have two wires passing through the bead, as shown.
- Gently pull both ends of the wire until your bead slides up into position within the bead frame.
Work the bead into position slowly and carefully to avoid creating kinks in your wire. Once the bead is in place, pull both ends of the wire until the bead sits snugly in the frame with no slack in the wire.
- Continue the weave where you left off on both sides of the bead frame.
Complete one full pattern repeat.
Then, before continuing the weave, pass each end of your weaving wire through the bead again, just as you did in Step 17.
Again, go slowly to keep your wire from forming kinks. Once both ends of the wire have been successfully threaded through the bead, continue your weave seamlessly where you left off.
- Keep weaving in pattern until you reach the top of the hammered part of each core wire, and then reduce the weave.
Continue until you reach the top of the hammered paddle on Wire 2. Then wrap the wire around Wire 1 until you reach the top of the hammered paddle on that 14g wire.
Break your weaving wire on the
back sideof the pendant and repeat on the other side of the bead frame.
- Sculpt the bead frame.
The core wires of your bead frame may naturally slip into a convex curve as you’re weaving the frame, but once the weaving is complete, we need to lock in that shape, which creates a bezel effect around the focal bead.
Use your fingers to gently push Wire 1 forward and the remaining wires back. Once you’re satisfied with the shape of your bead frame, use your fingers or nylon jaw pliers to gently pull the curved ends of Wire 4 forward just a bit. This does two things. First, it allows the pendant to hang from the chain more evenly. Secondly, it eliminates potential pressure points that might make the pendant uncomfortable to wear.
Your pendant is now complete. You can finish it with a chain of your choice or proceed to the next step where I’ll walk you through the process of assembling the 18-inch chain I added to the sample necklace I created while writing this tutorial.
- Cut two pieces of chain 7.25 inches long.
If you’re using a chain that’s prefinished, I recommend holding off on attaching the chain until after your pendant, clasp, and wrapped loops are patinaed and polished. In that case, leave the four loops that attach to the chain open until after you’ve finished and polished those wire components. Then attach the chain and close the loops.
- Cut four pieces of 22g half-hard wire 2.5 inches long.
Mark each wire at 1 inch from one end. This is where you’ll begin your wrapped loops.
- Begin a wrapped loop and thread it through one of the large loops at the top of your pendant.
Finish wrapping the loop. Repeat on the other side of the frame.
- Thread one or more accent beads onto one of the wrapped loops you just added to the top of your pendant.
I used one 8mm fire-polished Czech glass bead on my loops.
Begin a second wrapped loop just above the bead(s) and thread one end of your chain onto the loop. Close the loop with the same number of wraps that you used on the other side of the connector.
Repeat on the other side of the pendant.
- Begin another wrapped loop and thread it onto the other end of the chain you just connected to your pendant.
Finish wrapping that loop.
Thread your accent beads onto the wrapped loop and begin a second wrapped loop just above the beads. That end will connect to one side of your clasp.
Repeat on the second half of the chain.
- Using 6 inches of 18ga half-hard wire, make a Medium Infinity Clasp.
Connect one half of the clasp to each of your remaining open loops.
That’s it. You’ve just completed your dark and moody New Moon Pendant! Put it on and admire your work. Because 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 points that might irritate skin or snag clothing. Make any final adjustments that are necessary before giving your new necklace its final finish and polish.
Variations of the Dark and Moody New Moon Pendant
Beads that work well for this pendant aren’t always easy to locate. However, this design can be adapted to virtually any size top or center side-drilled coin bead. Or even a front-to-back-drilled bead.
In order to modify this frame to fit other bead sizes, first, consider the size of your focal bead. I’ve made this design using stones as small as 17mm (see the dainty Lapis pendant pictured above (center) and as large as 45mm. You want the size of your bead frame to be in balance with the size of your bead.
You can accommodate smaller or larger focal beads in two different ways. Firstly, you can use lighter or heavier gauge core and weaving wires to make a frame suitable for each bead. I used 18g and 20g core wires with 30g weaving wire for the dainty Blue Lapis Moon necklace shown above (center).
Determining the Lengths for Your Core Wires
To determine the lengths for your core wires, use a fabric measuring tape to measure the circumference of your focal bead. Then subtract 1/4 to 1/2 inch to get the length of your first core wire. Then subtract about 1/4 inch for each subsequent core wire. I prefer odd numbers of curved core wires, so I tend to make 3, 5, or 7 core wires.
The length of your bail wire will vary depending on the size of your stone. The 20g bail wire that I used on the 17mm Blue Lapis Moon is 2-1/4 inches long, while the 16g bail wire that I used on the 35mm Picture Jasper Moon necklace (above left) is 2-1/2 inches long, which is the same length that I specified for a 30mm stone in this tutorial. You want the loops on your bail wire to sit high enough that the chain hangs straight while worn.
Experiment With This Design
Choose three different sizes of beads to play with. Then see what happens if you change the core wire gauge or the number of core wires. You can also try combining this design with other wire woven components. For example, notice that the dainty Blue Moon pendant (above center) is suspended from my Delicate Bar Pendant.
The principles for forming and weaving the core wires will always remain the same. You can expand or reduce your bead frame by simply changing the cut lengths of your core and weaving wires. And also by changing the size of the mandrel(s) that you use to shape those wires.
As always, be sure to keep good notes on the ideal lengths for your core wires if you would like to be able to repeat your customized dark and moody New Moon 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, read this detailed tutorial that walks you through my 7-step patina process. And if you’re wondering why I recommend tumble polishing specifically, check out this post. Also, be sure to clean your stainless steel shot regularly.
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, ceramic beads, 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.
Discover More Behind Door 44
Thanks so much for joining me today. I hope you enjoyed creating my dark and moody New Moon Pendant. If you’d like a printable PDF version of this tutorial, you can find it here.
Want more 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!