This piece is a little complex and should be no problem for the intermediate wire artisan. If you are a beginner, I would suggest you purchase less expensive wire to practice with before you attempt this project. You will want to make sure you get each technique down pretty good before moving forward on the silver plated artistic wire. Still a little concerned....well don't be because we are also going to feature this project in one of our wire wrapping video episodes and will be done so that anyone can complete this project by following along.
- Take your 16 gauge artistic wire out and straighten the wire using your nylon pliers. Once you have it mostly straight, take the wire and wrap it around your head in the manner in which you would like to wear it. It this is for someone else you will need their head so that you can fit it to them perfectly.
- Once you have the correct length, add 4 inches.
- Measure the wire you had around your head plus the 4 inches and then divide by 2. This will give you the measurement for the center.
- Take a sharpie and mark the center of your wire.
- Then measure 3 inches from the center on both sides, marking with a sharpie left of the center mark and 3 inches right of the center mark.
- From each of these marks, measure 3/4 inch, mark and repeat until you are 2 inches from the end of your wire. You will want to do this for both sides starting from the 3 inch mark from the center. These marks will help you keep your project lined up until you get your pattern established.
- Now take your wire in both hands and bend the wire on the center mark in the shape of a "V". The point of the V should be the center of your wire. Depending on where you want the V to end, I did 3 inches, you will want to curve the wire gently with your thumbs applying pressure so that as the V ends it curves over the top of your head.
- Place the V portion of your wire on your medal anvil and hammer the entire V area flat with your chasing hammer. Be sure to keep your strokes even and let the hammer do the work. Short small strokes work best. You will want to hammer both sides of the wire.
- You will be done hammering once the wire is visibly flattened and is shinny. This is going to work harden your design so that this maintains it shape as you continue to embellish your tiara. (If you don't work harden the wire you will end up with a tiara that is all over the place. You can over harden your wire and if that happens the wire will become brittle and break and/or you will see the copper wire that is covered by the silver plate...requiring that you start your project over from the beginning.)
- Now go ahead and place the wire back on your head and make sure the V is where you want it.
- Now is the time to make any necessary adjustments because in a little bit it will be too late. So once you are happy with the placement and size, and have work hardened any areas you made adjustments to, you will then bend the rest of the wire so that it has the curves and shape you want for the rest of the tiara.
- Remember small dips and curves make big changes since the area we are decorating is fairly small so go slow and using your hands bend the wire in the same way on both sides.
- Now put your chasing hammer away. Using your rubber mallet, you will hammer the rest of the wire to properly work harden the rest.
- This will take about 20 minutes if you are using 16 gauge wire. Once finished you will be able to tell a significant difference between the wire before you started and now. Now it should be very hard, fit your head the way you want it to and have the structure look of the design you want. If it doesn't, you can make small adjustments at this point, any big changes will require that you put this wire away for something else later and start over from the beginning.
- Once happy with your design and fit, you will want to take approximately 4 feet of 20 gauge wire and beginning in the front at the point of the "V",using your hands you will begin wrapping the 20 gauge wire onto the 16 gauge wire, making 6 wraps next to each other nice and tight.
- At this point the only tools you can use will be your hands and nylon pliers since anything else may cause you to mar your masterpiece.
- Go slow and make sure as you coil the 20 gauge onto the 16 gauge that everything is neat and the coils are snug up against each other. If you have a coil that is not snug...stop right then, unwind and recoil that spot until it is snug. If you wait you will not be able to get the coils next to each other without marring the wire with your tools. This will make spots on your tiara that will not be pretty and you will need to start over.
- Once you have 6 wraps, make sure your 20 gauge is nice and straight by running your nylon plier from the end of the wire on your tiara all the way to the end. It make take several swipes to get it straight and you may need to do this from time to time if you have trouble getting the 4 MM bicones or 4 MM pearls to string onto the wire. (If you try to force the beads without taking care to straighten the wire you make end up breaking your beads.)
- Once your wire is ready, load a 4 MM bicone, wrap 3 coils, load 4 MM bicone, wrap 3 coils, load 4 MM bicone, wrap 3 coils and a 4 MM bicone and wrap 12 coils. (Note: when wrapping the bicones onto the wire you will load the bicone from the wire coming up from the back of the tiara and attach to the front, making sure you do the same for each one ensuring consistency.)
- You want the bicone to actually be on the top of the wire so you will need to bring the wire up at a 90 degree angle to the bicone hole, through the bicone and 90 degree angle back to the tiara. (Too much wire and the bicone will be riding in the sky above the wire. Too little wire and the bicone will be riding on the sides, back or bottom of the wire. In either case you will need to redo it so that each stone is on the top of the tiara.)
- Now will be a double loop, 3 coils, pearl, 3 coils, double loop, 2 coils and now the repeated pattern begins - bicone, 2 coils, pearl, 2 coils, bicone, double loop - repeat pattern until you are 2 inches from the end of of the wire.
- Cut any left over wire and snug it against the backside of the 16 gauge wire.
- Repeat steps 18-22 for the other side of the tiara.
- Now you will load 14 head pins with a pearl and a bicone to attach to each one to each of the 7 loops on each side of the tiara.
- Once you have your pearl and bicone on the headpins you will then make a loop, but don't close the loop until you have slipped it through the loop on tiara.
- Now go ahead and close the loop and twist the extra wire coiling it until it reaches your bicone. Trim with your flush cutter and snug gently the end to the coil with your chain nose pliers.
- You may have more or less depending on the size of your tiara so make these dangles accordingly.
- Make a loop on one end of your tiara and a hook on the other end so that they will clasp to each other.
- Add the center bead by coiling to the front of the V and coil the 2 10 MM pearls to the front two loops of the tiara, one on each side. (See photo of tiara for example.)
- Take a soft brush; a gentle hand soap; water and clean your tiara really well. Dry with soft cotton cloth and you are done!
Tools and Materials Needed:
Artistic Wire, 20Gauge, Non-tarnish Silver Plate 25 Feet- 8"
Artistic Wire, 16 Gauge, Silver, 10 Feet- Measure to fit
Swarovski Crystal Xilion Bicone 4mm, Crystal AB 20 pc- 46pc
Swarovski Crystal Pearls, 6mm, Cream, 10pc- 27pc
Swarovski Crystal Round, 8mm, Crystal AB- 1pc
Grade "AA" 10 mm Freshwater Pearl Bead Strand, Cream- 2pc
Silver Plate 3 inch headpins, 21 Gauge, 25 pc- 14 headpins
Sterling Silver Crimp Beads, 2 x 2mm, 50pc- 2pc
Chain Nose Pliers