Wire Wrapped Bail Finishing Options
by Judy Larson
When playing with new ideas where I am sometimes not sure where the design is going or even if it would work, I like to use silver plated copper core craft wire. It is much easier to scrap the wire from a project when there is significantly less invested monetarily than if precious metal wire was used.
Instructions
The drawback to using craft wire when making bails is its softness. I was never completely comfortable with the method that most wire wrap/weaving jewelry makers use to finish bail wire ends-trimming the bail wires off below and flush with the last half round wire wrap-when I was using craft wire.
Judy Larson's Wire Wrapped Bail Finishing Options - , General Education, Wire Wrapping, Wrapping, Wire Wrapping Jewelry, wire wrapping a bail
I was concerned that bail wires could be pulled loose if the half round wire bail wrap was not tight enough so I came up with a few different finishing options. In other pendants shown here, I trimmed wire longer-first photo-and made little loops on each end. They were then pressed flat against the cabochon-second photo-or curled upward toward and a bit over the back of the wrapped bail-third and fourth photos.

Judy Larson's Wire Wrapped Bail Finishing Options - , General Education, Wire Wrapping, Wrapping, Wire Wrapping Jewelry, wire wrapped bail options
Judy Larson's Wire Wrapped Bail Finishing Options - , General Education, Wire Wrapping, Wrapping, Wire Wrapping Jewelry, wire wrapped bail options
Judy Larson's Wire Wrapped Bail Finishing Options - , General Education, Wire Wrapping, Wrapping, Wire Wrapping Jewelry, wire wrapped bail options
Judy Larson's Wire Wrapped Bail Finishing Options - , General Education, Wire Wrapping, Wrapping, Wire Wrapping Jewelry, wire wrapped bail options
Another thing I was never comfortable with was how bail wire wraps were usually ended, most of the time on the outside of the bail. At least most of the time they were covered with other wires bent over them. Since only one layer of half round wire was usually used to secure bail wires, there were always going to be two loose ends. Because half round wire is so soft, in many cases those ends could easily be snagged and pulled away from the pendant. Another issue with the softer wire was that one layer of half round wire did not really provide a strong wrap.

Before shaping the bail wires: Leaving at least a 1" tail of half round wire and starting on the back base of the bail wires, wrap the bail wires together, generally 4 to 5 wraps and ending on the back. Try not to overlap the wraps but have them nestle tightly side by side. DO NOT CUT THE WRAP WIRES OFF!
Judy Larson's Wire Wrapped Bail Finishing Options - , General Education, Wire Wrapping, Wrapping, Wire Wrapping Jewelry, wire wrapped bail options
Shape the bail wires and bring them down over the back side of the wrapped bail wires. Make sure that the half round wrap wires are underneath the bent bail wires on the back of the assembly-first photo. Hold the bail wire tails tightly against the cabochon. Working down toward the base of the bail, wrap the long wire tail around the bent bail wires and previously wrapped section, securing the bail wires tightly to the assembly. Tighten down the half round wire after each wrap. Try not to overlap the wraps but to have them nestle tightly side by side.
Judy Larson's Wire Wrapped Bail Finishing Options - , General Education, Wire Wrapping, Wrapping, Wire Wrapping Jewelry, wire wrapped bail options
Judy Larson's Wire Wrapped Bail Finishing Options - , General Education, Wire Wrapping, Wrapping, Wire Wrapping Jewelry, wire wrapped bail options
Trim the half-round wrap wire to about 1" in length. Slip the wrap wire tail between the cabochon and bezel just under the last wrap. Pull the wire tightly to the front. Trim the wire even with or a little short or the bezel wires. After the tape holding the cabochon in place is removed, push the wrap wire end up into the assembly. Repeat the process with the other half-round wire tail.
Judy Larson's Wire Wrapped Bail Finishing Options - , General Education, Wire Wrapping, Wrapping, Wire Wrapping Jewelry, wire wrapped bail options
Judy Larson's Wire Wrapped Bail Finishing Options - , General Education, Wire Wrapping, Wrapping, Wire Wrapping Jewelry, wire wrapped bail options
Judy Larson's Wire Wrapped Bail Finishing Options - , General Education, Wire Wrapping, Wrapping, Wire Wrapping Jewelry, wire wrapped bail options

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Round Nose Wire Pliers
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  • Category: General Education
  • Technique(s): Wrapping