Sunday, January 4, 2009

Wrapped Headpins And Eyepins

Creating the wrapped loops on headpins was one of the hardest things to for me to master in jewelry making. The headpins can be costly, so your best bet is to buy some cheap 21 or 22 gauge beading wire without coating to practice on. Once you master the technique, it will add a touch of elegance and professionalism to your jewelry piece, plus increasing the security of your beads in the design.

You can create one wire wrap or as many as you like, but keep the number consistent throughout the piece. I like to use three wraps and 20 or 21 gauge headpins or eyepins.

Figure 1: Leaving a 1 inch (2.5 cm) tail, place the tip of your chain nose pliers where the bead will be. Bend the tail to form a right angle. I like using 2 inch headpins since they give you working room with the wire, but precious metals can be costly, so use the shortest headpin you can work comfortably with.

Figure 2: With round nose pliers, grasp the tail just past the bend and pull it over the jaw to point the other way.

Figure 3: Rotate the pliers so the empty jaw is above the partial loop and continue pulling the tail around the bottom jaw until it is perpendicular to the bead or the wire.

Figure 4: Pull a split ring, chain, closed jump ring, etc. from the tail into the loop.

Figure 5: To keep the loop round, grasp it with round nose pliers in your opposite hand just above the cross. Do not press pliers tightly on loop as it will dent the wire.

Figure 6: Grasp the tail with chain nose pliers and pull it around the wire until it meets the bead. Make the first wrap against the pliers and keep wraps close. Clip and press wire end flat with pliers.

A couple of extra tips:
1) If you order your supplies online, you will not save money by ordering 24 gauge pins. They work fine in delicate pieces where you are using nothing but wrapped loops and tiny beads, but are too thin to make secure eye loops. Also, 24 gauge headpins will pass through most beads.

2) If you choose to use plated headpins, buy them from a dealer like Fire Mountain Gems. The headpins and eyepins you purchase at local craft dealers like Michael’s or JoAnn’s are of a poor quality and you will waste a lot of pins. The plating is not secure and will flake off when pin is bent.

Enjoy! Claudia


  1. What a great blog!! I'm adding it to my favorites!!

  2. this totally helped me in a strange way :)