Sunday, September 2, 2012

Step by Step Assembly of Urban Urchin Beads

This is a slightly different way of wiring beads and assembling them into a pair of earrings. It goes along with my views on "the mark of the artist", i.e. not being perfect.

These beads are hollow and there is no "top" to them, so they can slide around a bit on the wire. I have pattern around the entire surface of some of them, but others are fairly plain in back and I would like them to sit relatively deliberately positioned. A little ingenuity is required to wire them. Follow me:

I'm using 20 gauge blackened steel and brass wires.

Shape the blackened steel wire as per the upper image and the following close-ups, making sure to put the curve into the shorter end as shown,

 Loosely wrap the brass wire around the neck of the blackened steel as shown below:

Carefully tuck the end into the wrapping:

Insert the wire assembly into the bead and slowly push it in. The curved piece should be fairly tight as it creates tension and holds the bead in place. If it is too big a curve, snip a bit off the end until it goes in without distorting the bead yet holding it in place. The loosely woven brass wire will sit slightly into the hollow top.

Add the brass spacer bead and coil up the wire from the bottom, as shown. Consider how the beads will hang at the end. If from a necklace, I place the coil at right angles to the bail end so the coil faces to the side. If from earrings, with no jump ring between, I place the coil on the same plane as the bail. Make sure the image you want facing forward is in the right position when you are pushing the tension wire down into the bead.

If you are concerned about the blackened steel rusting at all down the road you can put some Renaissance wax on the exposed wire.


  1. What a beautiful process, Vickie. Congrats on your PCD appearance! I enjoyed your earlier posts, too, especially "Mark of the Artist"; great food for thought.

  2. Congratulations on being featured on Polymer Clay Daily. A wonderful tutorial as well-thank you.

  3. Thank you for your generous comments, ladies. I really appreciate them.

    1. (Vickie, it was kind of you to visit my blog. I am humbled by your thoughtful comments! Sorry to respond here, I generally acknowledge by email when it is available.)

    2. Your blog is fascinating and I'm delighted to have found it and your responses are always welcome here.