Wednesday, September 29, 2010


Through the years I've been asked to explain how to wrap one of my large lampwork focal beads.  I've also been asked if I knew a way to wrap a bead with a standard headpin when the hole was unusually large so the headpin wouldn't wobble.  Following is a tutorial with some tips on how I personally wrap my large beads.  I use a 3/32" mandrel for my large beads so you don't have the problem of an overly large hole to deal with, but if you come across a bead you love and want to stabilize the headpin this is how I do it.

What you need: round nose pliers, chain nose pliers, cutters, a 20 or 22 ga. and 3-4" headpin depending on size of focal bead, 2 saucer beads (got mine at ) or bicone Swarovski's which fit snugly in the hole, a bail of your choice and a focal bead.  If the hole is unusually large you can use seed beads that fit in hole to make the hole smaller and stabilize your headpin, as shown below.

Add a saucer or crystal to your headpin and string the seed beads on the headpin the length of your focal bead.  Remember you only need to add the seed beads if you feel the hole is unusually large and you'd like to stabilize the headpin so it doesn't wobble.

Add the next saucer or crystal to the top of your focal bead.

Place the round nose pliers in you right hand.  Grab the wire as shown in the picture, and with your left hand bend the wire down and away from you.  The pliers are horizontal in this step.  *Please note my hands are in an awkward position in the following pictures because I want you to see what the wire looks like up close as you're working.

Change the direction of the pliers in this step to vertical.  Now you can commence to do the loop.  Take the end of the wire and come over the top of the pliers to create the beginning of your loop, see below.

After you've created the beginning of your loop change the direction of the pliers again to horizontal and wrap the wire around the pliers until it looks like the following picture.

Your doing great, almost done.

At this point add your bail to the wire.

With your left hand, hold the loop you've created with a chain nose pliers.  With a round nose pliers grab the tip of the wire and wrap the wire until it is snug with the saucer bead.  Cut any remaining wire.

Do some practice runs with inexpensive wire like copper, brass or colored wire.  You'll soon be doing this without even thinking.


Note:  This is my personal choice/preference for wrapping my beads.  There are other ways of wrapping wire that can be used.



  1. Nice tutorial! I'm sure that it'll be very helpful for those who struggle with this.

    By the way, you won one of my birthday giveaways. Email me your address and I'll send you your prize!

  2. I'm glad to see you show the seed bead trick -- I've been doing that and it's SUCH a great way to keep those lovelies from wobbling! Your photos are great!