Daily Wire Tip Sept. 15: Wire Wrapping Beads as Cabochons

By on September 14, 2010
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Daily Wire Jewelry Making Tip for
September 15, 2010


I have two very large (30 x 40mm) turquoise beads, drilled through the long side, that I would like to wire wrap as a gift for my mother (it’s her birthstone). My problem, the beads are not cabbed, but actual beads, and not flat on the one side so as to have a front and back.

I’m having a heck of a time deciding how to handle the hole through the middle. Do I ignore it and wrap around it? Or do I integrate one wire from the bundle up and through it, and then incorporate it into the bail?! Help!

-Dannon in Columbia, South Carolina


Well Dannon, you have already about answered your own question. I have worked with large focal beads in both manners you mention; however, I find that just ignoring the hole and treating the bead like a cab to be the easiest for me.

Now, our WS Faculty member Albina Manning would probably answer this one differently as she works mainly with round wire. I am sure she would coil a frame, set the bead inside and secure the bead to the frame by inserting a wire through the hole and then incorporating that wire into the coiled frame.

Whatever you do, I am sure your mom will love it!

Answer contributed by Dale “Cougar” Armstrong

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  1. avatar


    September 15, 2010 at 7:49 am

    I have wrapped several large beads as pendents and they have come out beautifully. I use 18 or 20 ga (depending on the size of the stone and the hole) hard wire and secure it to the other wires. You can either hide it in with the bail wires or cover it with a rosette, a swirl, your favorite embellishment or any other fanciful detail you want to add.

  2. avatar


    September 15, 2010 at 8:33 am

    Like Dale stated, ignore the hole completely. Hardest thing she had to do was get it thru my head that the bead didn’t make a difference when it came to wrapping it with square wire. And like Albina, coiling is another option as well. I have been playing with the coiling and am liking the effects I am getting immensely as well.
    Have fun with your “bead” and just don’t think of it as being drilled but a whole stone. Would love to see the end product.

  3. avatar


    September 15, 2010 at 11:59 am

    Hi Dannon,

    I wrap large beads all of the time. Sometimes I ignore the hole, other times I use it to enhance the design. I will find smaller beads that go well with the large bead. Then I insert the small beads into the design by putting them on a wire that goes through the hole of the large bead and is attached to the wire wrapping in some suitable way.

  4. avatar


    September 21, 2010 at 1:21 pm

    Hey guys-
    I find that I actually enjoy wrapping beads a touch better than cabochons. Maybe I’m biased though- my first few wire wrapped pieces were beads and worry stones! I love the shape of the beads, they seem more like wrapped jewels or amulets to me. I actually have wrapped only 2 or 3 cabs, and the flower design I like to use does not translate well the the flat back of the cabochon. I just ignore the hole in the bead, too, but I try to cover it up.

    BTW– Dale, I am checking your book out today! I sure hope you have some things to teach me, I am very new to this art form and I want to learn everything I can! Thanks for all your great tips.

    • avatar


      September 21, 2010 at 5:15 pm

      You are very welcome Brandi – I hope you really enjoy my book and the variety of formulas included.