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Basic Wire Skills - Wrapped Eye Pins
"The ancient rites of Africa have affected us profoundly. In three decades of exploring the continent widely and communicating with indigenous peoples, we have experienced many alternate ways of thinking, acting, and believing. Most importantly, we have learned how to embrace other points of view and ways of living, without fear of losing our own identities but, instead, expanding and enriching our lives and vision". Angela Fisher and Carol Beckwith, African Ceremonies
   Wrapped eye pins are particularly useful when you are using small gauge wire (20-24 gauge). Why? Because unwrapped eyes are too flimsy to hold their shape and they will create a weak link in your jewelry. You can also wrap 14, 16, and 18 gauge wire eye pins successfully. For your convenience, please click on the images below to see an enlarged view.

What You Need:

  • 12" to 24" of 16 gauge copper wire
  • Wire cutters
  • Round nose pliers
  • Chain nose pliers
  • Sharpie pen
  • Bead
Click on thumbnails below to see an enlargement.
Step 1.
      Mark your round nose pliers with a Sharpie to create a guideline. Grasp the wire with your round nose pliers leaving a tail about 2.5" to 3" long.
Step 2.
      Wrap your wire around the lower prong of your round nose pliers forming a loop - the tail will extend from the bottom of the loop. The two ends of the wire should form a straight line as shown in the photo.
Step 3.
      Remove your round nose pliers and hold the loop at the joint with the tip of your chain nose pliers.
Step 4.
      Rotate your pliers towards your body, pressing the neck of the wire against the index finger of your other hand.
Step 5.
      Grasp the eye with your chain nose pliers so that the pliers are perpendicular with your body. With your free hand grasp the tail and wrap it around the neck of your eye pin. Start the wrapping process very close to the eye and wrap each level next to the previous wrap. Your free hand should be wrapping away from your body. Wrap as many times as your heart desires. Three is nice.
Step 6.
      Trim off the tail with your wire cutters close to the neck of the eye pin. Remember to make a blunt cut with your pliers positioned like you see in the photo. With your chain nose pliers press the end so it lays flat against the neck.
Step 7.
      Place your bead through the neck of the eye pin. Allow at least 2.5" to 3" beyond the end of your bead to make your eye and to do the wrapping. Using your guideline, grasp the wire with your round nose pliers leaving enough space to make your wraps. Rotate your pliers away from your body until you make a half loop. With your free hand grasp the tail and wrap under your newly forming eye. Continue until the tail is in a straight line extending from the bead.
Step 8.
      Grasp the joint with the tip of your chain nose pliers, bend the loop towards your body. Grasp the eye with your chain nose pliers (you may need to move the tail towards the bead in order to get a hold of the eye) and with your free hand wrap the tail around the neck; the wrapping direction should be away from your body. Snip close to the neck, and with the chain nose pliers press the end down.

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