"I believe in everything until it is disproved.
So I believe in fairies, the myths, the dragons.
It all exists, even if it is in your mind.
Who's to say that dreams and nightmares aren't as real as the here and now?"
- John Lennon
When after another year of university I find myself getting back to making jewellery, I can't help but to get to that one thing I love - fantasy. In this case, a pair of dragon-inspired wirework wings. I love the strange simplicity of it, and find myself wearing it day after day.
Step 1: Materials
I personally always use a combination of the four different pliers pictured, but the ones you can't go without here are flat-nose pliers and cutting pliers
There's two different wire gauges in this pendant - the frame uses gauge 18/ 1 mm (like this one) and the wings are filled up with gauge 24/ 0.6 mm (like this one). Both are the same type of wire - silver plated copper wire with an anti-tarnishing coating. This gives you a nice end result, while being much nicer for your budget than full silver wire.
- reference sketch
Most of the frame is bent based on a reference sketch. You can draw your own, or find mine in the next step - print it out on the right size to use.
You can use different types of necklaces, but I'd recommend having a chain - this will make it possible to put the pendant
Step 2: Getting Started
Added to this step you'll find the reference picture. If you decide to use this one rather than sketching out your own, please do keep in mind that it was just a quick sketch - there's a slight asymmetrical part to it. One of the wings is a bit longer than the other. This same asymmetrical aspect is visible in the final result as well. I don't mind it, since I sketched out the wings in a way I was happy with them. You could also decide to print it and add a variation of lines on top, creating your own sketch, but with a bit more ease than just starting from sketch.
Using the reference image, put a first slight bend in the wire. Keep a few centimeters of wire free at the beginning - you'll need this to wrap around the frame later. Try to make sure the curve follows the line of the reference image, this will make it much easier to match the two sides.
Step 3: The First Few Corners
The one thing to be careful with when making this frame is the sharpness of your corners. Depending on the corner you're working on, a slightly rounded turn can look much better than a sharp one. Once you've made a sharp bend in your wire, however, it can be tricky to get that curve into it. To prevent this from happening, I'd recommend using either chain-nose pliers or the tip of round nose pliers instead of flat-nose pliers.
Bend the wire to let it follow the reference image. Once the angle of the corner is correct, bend the next part to match the outline, until you get to the next corner. Here you can see the importance of making a soft corner, rather than a sharp bend.
Step 4: Zig-zags
Repeat the techniques explained in the previous step to bend the bottom part of the frame. Be sure to make the short parts going down as straight as possible - these are the parts that'll support the inner wires in a bit.
Step 5: Switching Sides
Once the bottom line of the first half is done, it's time to move on to the second half. Curve the wire along past the middle before bending it down right there.
Step 6: The Other Side
For the second half, the process is much the same as for the first - just in the opposite direction. Try to match your curves to the reference as good as possible, but also keep the other side in mind. If there's a slight difference in curve between the actual frame and the reference, match the second side to the frame instead of to the reference.
Once the last curve matches up, cut off the wire. Be sure to leave a few centimeters to work with, just like you did in the beginning.
Step 7: Finishing the Frame
To lock the frame in its shape, hold the wires as shown to make sure the wings are in the right shape. Carefully wrap the wires around the frame three or four times, directly next to the middle. This is why you can't use all sizes of wire for the frame - the bigger the diameter of the wire, the further away from the middle it will find itself.
Step 8: Inner Wire
For the inner wire, you'll need another piece of the ... wire. Bend the first part to match up with the outer of the two straight lines down in the zigzag of the frame. Let it curve up to the corner as shown in the second picture. At the point where the wire meets this corner, bend it back down.
The curve going down to the second part of the zigzag is a bit trickier. The curve of the wire is going in the opposite direction. As you can see in the third picture, the wire curves up after the corner you just made. Carefully curve it down instead, until the angle lets it match up with the outer wire frame.
Step 9: Filling It Up
Cut off a piece of the thinner wire. Wrap it around both the inner wire and the wire frame to join the two. Coil the top half around the part of the frame that's going up as well, until you get next to the inner wire. By then, the inner wire will be somewhat more stable, making it possible to start the wire-wrapping pattern. Let the wire switch between the inner wire and the outer frame, coiling around the wire a few times in between every time.
I ran out of wire here, so decided to work on the other side first. The process is quite comparable, but instead of coiling around the outer frame until you get next to the inner wire, just make a few coils around it to give yourself enough space between the wires to start the wirework pattern.
Step 10: Back to the First Side
Once you reach the bottom part of the first wire worked part, coil the wire around the part where the inner and outer frames sit next to each other a few times. Keep following the outer wire until you reach the coils already made when closing the outer frame.
Step 11: And to Side Number Two Again
Again, keep up the wireworking pattern until you reach the part where the inner and outer frame meet. Since the wing extends further to the side, join the two parts with one extra coil before continuing the pattern between the two sides of the outer frame.
Step 12: Wing Number Two
Repeat the previous steps for the other wing. Try to keep a bit of consistency in the amount of coils and spacing between the pieces of wire.
Step 13: Making It Wearable
Take your chain and find the middle. Split it up there and add a ring to each side. I was initially going to use jump rings, but those turned out to be too wide for my chain, so I ended up bending the little 8- shapes shown in the last picture. Simply put the rings through the top parts of each wing and your necklace is ready to wear!