Judy Larson's WIre Basics - Spiral Charms, Findings & Components, Toggles & Clasps, Earwire & Headpin. Coiling, Coiling Wire, Wire Coiling. Spirals can be found in ancient rock carvings on all the continents.
WIre Basics - Spiral Charms
by Judy Larson
  • Category: Findings
  • Technique(s): Coiling
  • Skill Level: Beginner
Spirals can be found in ancient rock carvings on all the continents. It is said to be the symbol of the journey of life because life never follows a straight path. The spiral is evident everywhere in nature as well: nautilus shells, unfurling fern fronds, and even hurricanes. Spiral coils have been used by jewelry designers in many civilizations throughout history, so add your touch to history starting with a basic spiral charm.

Materials

20 Gauge Round Half Hard .925 Sterling Silver Wire
H8-20H
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 1FT
  • Price: $3.23
  • Gold Club Price: $2.43
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18 Gauge Round Half Hard .925 Sterling Silver Wire
H8-18H
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 1FT
  • Price: $4.70
  • Gold Club Price: $3.53
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Tools

Flat Nose Wire Pliers
G2-506
  • G2-506
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $32.95
  • Gold Club Price: $24.71
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Chain Nose Wire Pliers
G2-508
  • G2-508
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $32.95
  • Gold Club Price: $24.71
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Round Nose Wire Pliers
G2-507
  • G2-507
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $32.95
  • Gold Club Price: $24.71
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Xuron 2175F Maxi-Shear Flush Cutter with Retainer
PLR-467.52
  • PLR-467.52
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $19.85
  • Gold Club Price: $14.89
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Premium Nylon Jaw Pliers
G2-35
  • G2-35
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $14.95
  • Gold Club Price: $11.21
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Instructions
Step 1
Read through the tutorial before starting the project. Follow all safety precautions pertaining to the tools and supplies being used and the space you are working in. Hint: It is a good idea to make spirals from different wires so you know how each wire behaves. These charms can be used as dangles on many jewelry pieces. Attach several to each link of a chain bracelet for a unique effect.

20 gauge round or twisted square wire was used here but other sizes of wire will work just as well. Change the length of wire to obtain different sizes of spirals.
Use either a chain nose or a round nose pliers to start the center of a spiral. There are pros and cons for the use of each. Try both to see which works best for you. Each piece of wire used for the charms is straightened and cut 2" long (flush cut on both ends).

Chain nose pliers: Make sure that the tip of your pliers is very fine to obtain the smallest center loop possible. Tightly grasp the very tip of a 2" piece of wire with the tips of the pliers. Twist the tips of the pliers while pushing the wire with your thumb, creating a partial loop shaped like a "P."
Round nose pliers: The jaws of some inexpensive pliers, and even some expensive ones, have tips that are not the same size. If you have a pair like this, use the same tip throughout your project. Round nose pliers will not grip the wire very well, but the darker satin finish pliers seem to have more grip to them with less hand grip needed than shiny ones. Tightly grasp the very tip of a 2" piece of wire with the tips of the pliers. Twist the tips of the pliers while pushing the wire with your thumb, creating a loop. Shift the pliers and continue pushing the wire around the loop, creating a drooping "P."
You will find that chain nose pliers give you a better grip on the wire tip, making it easier to curl. Round nose pliers make it easier to make a more than full loop but do not grasp wire tips well.
Judy Larson's WIre Basics - Spiral Charms - , Findings & Components, Toggles & Clasps, Earwire & Headpin, Coiling, Coiling Wire, Wire Coiling, spiraling wire
Judy Larson's WIre Basics - Spiral Charms - , Findings & Components, Toggles & Clasps, Earwire & Headpin, Coiling, Coiling Wire, Wire Coiling, spiraling wire
Judy Larson's WIre Basics - Spiral Charms - , Findings & Components, Toggles & Clasps, Earwire & Headpin, Coiling, Coiling Wire, Wire Coiling, spiraling wire
Judy Larson's WIre Basics - Spiral Charms - , Findings & Components, Toggles & Clasps, Earwire & Headpin, Coiling, Coiling Wire, Wire Coiling, spiraling wire
Judy Larson's WIre Basics - Spiral Charms - , Findings & Components, Toggles & Clasps, Earwire & Headpin, Coiling, Coiling Wire, Wire Coiling, spiraling wire
Judy Larson's WIre Basics - Spiral Charms - , Findings & Components, Toggles & Clasps, Earwire & Headpin, Coiling, Coiling Wire, Wire Coiling, spiraling wire
Judy Larson's WIre Basics - Spiral Charms - , Findings & Components, Toggles & Clasps, Earwire & Headpin, Coiling, Coiling Wire, Wire Coiling, spiraling wire
Step 2:
Using heavier gauge wire
Heavier gauge wires are more difficult to spiral nicely. Many times the center becomes teardrop shaped. There is a way to avoid that. However, this technique should be done only on solid or filled wires, not plated ones. Only a round nose pliers is used for this technique.
The wire on the left is cut normally with a flush cutter making a flat cut. The wire on the right is cut at a sharp angle.
Grasp the very tip of the wire with a round nose pliers. Make a curl in the end of the wire around the very tip of the pliers. Do not remove the pliers but shift them around so you can lap the tip of the wire with the wire tail. Notice how the tip of the wire on the right seems to blend in to the curve while the one on the left does not. Also, the one on the left took more pressure on the pliers to continue the spiral over the flat end, therefore denting the wire. This will get covered up as the spiral progresses, but still can show a bit. In the next step, you have to continue the spiral. This is more difficult to do with the small curl created with the chain nose pliers.

In the next step, you have to continue the spiral. This is more difficult to do with the small curl created with the chain nose pliers.
Judy Larson's WIre Basics - Spiral Charms - Using heavier gauge wire, Findings & Components, Toggles & Clasps, Earwire & Headpin, Coiling, Coiling Wire, Wire Coiling, spiraling wire
Judy Larson's WIre Basics - Spiral Charms - Using heavier gauge wire, Findings & Components, Toggles & Clasps, Earwire & Headpin, Coiling, Coiling Wire, Wire Coiling, spiraling wire
Step 3
Grasp the wire loop between the jaws of soft jaw pliers as shown in the first photo. Push the wire tail around the outside of the loop. Loosen the grip on the loop, shift the loop, grasp again, and continue to push the wire tail around the outside of the loop. Continue in this manner until there is ½" of wire left. Note: When soft jaw pliers are new, the surface can be more slippery than when they have been used a while. You may have trouble with the coil slipping if you hold it close to the tip of the pliers. It may be easier for you to make the coil closer to the plier hinge. An added benefit is that you do not have to exert as much pressure to hold the wire there.

In the next step, you have to continue the spiral. This is more difficult to do with the small curl created with the chain nose pliers.
Judy Larson's WIre Basics - Spiral Charms - , Findings & Components, Toggles & Clasps, Earwire & Headpin, Coiling, Coiling Wire, Wire Coiling, spiraling wire
Judy Larson's WIre Basics - Spiral Charms - , Findings & Components, Toggles & Clasps, Earwire & Headpin, Coiling, Coiling Wire, Wire Coiling, spiraling wire
Judy Larson's WIre Basics - Spiral Charms - , Findings & Components, Toggles & Clasps, Earwire & Headpin, Coiling, Coiling Wire, Wire Coiling, spiraling wire
Judy Larson's WIre Basics - Spiral Charms - , Findings & Components, Toggles & Clasps, Earwire & Headpin, Coiling, Coiling Wire, Wire Coiling, spiraling wire
Step 4
Grasp the tip of the wire tail with round nose pliers. Rotate the pliers back toward the spiral, creating a loop.
Judy Larson's WIre Basics - Spiral Charms - , Findings & Components, Toggles & Clasps, Earwire & Headpin, Coiling, Coiling Wire, Wire Coiling, wire spiral
Judy Larson's WIre Basics - Spiral Charms - , Findings & Components, Toggles & Clasps, Earwire & Headpin, Coiling, Coiling Wire, Wire Coiling, wire spiral
Judy Larson's WIre Basics - Spiral Charms - , Findings & Components, Toggles & Clasps, Earwire & Headpin, Coiling, Coiling Wire, Wire Coiling, spiraling wire