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Sunday, May 5, 2013

Wrapping a Marble Pendant - Free Tutorial

Postnote or is it prenote? For those of you who have just found my blog. I am now posting my designs, info and pictures on my Facebook page.  I hope that you will follow me there. www.Facebook.com/LindaSinishJewelryArtisan

Here's a tutorial I wrote for myself, because I was having a hard time wrapping some marbles, I had bought. I thought I'd post it here so others might find it helpful.

This all began with a lovely road trip with my friend Tammy.  It started off as a girls day out.  Of course we got hungry and started to look for the most perfect place to sit down for lunch.  After we parked in Buckhannon, WV, we started to walk to the restaurant and a giant magnet drew us toward an antique store.  Well my friends, that was the beginning, for there on the floor were bins full of hand blown marbles.  Bright, happy marbles.  I was hooked.  I had no idea what I was going to do with them.  I just knew that I 'must' have them.

Then came the task of turning them into pendants.  At first I went with my standby of the round cage, but without a drilled center I was stumped for the bail.  Plus, the wire just wasn't working, not enough, too much and finally I realized it was to heavy of a gauge.  I was frustrated.  But, after I changed gears, i.e. the design, my frustration eased.  I will warn you that the slick marble does like to slip around and takes on a life of  it's own and has a tendency to fly out of your hands until it is trapped in the wire.  After I made a few, it became a breeze.  It just takes some experience with understanding what to expect with the slick marble.  By the time I was making my third pendant it became second nature.

Don't worry too much about the spacing of the side wires.  As you create your pendant, there will be many opportunities to move the side wires to where you want them to be.  Even at the very end of the tutorial.

Tools:  ruler, flush cutters, round nose, chain nose, wire straightener, flat nose, medium stepper plier

Wire:  20 gauge and 22 gauge.  I used silver plated and later bronze wire
1 24mm marble

Cut 4 pieces of 20 GA at 8" each
Mark with a Sharpie at 4"
Cut 2 pieces of 22 GA at 6" each
Mark with a Sharpie at 1"

Hold all 4 pieces of the 20 GA wire
Wrap (bind) at the 4" Sharpie mark with the 22 GA wire
I usually wrap about 5 or 6 times

Here's a close up of the completed wrap (binding) 
Now use the flush cutters to trim the wire ends off
The cut ends should be on the same side of the binding
Use the flat nose or chain nose to push the end down flat

Bend the 8 wires at the wrap (binding) to form what looks like a spider web
This will keep the wire from sliding out of the wrap (binding)

The 24 mm marble will go on top of the wrap (binding)

Hold the marble in place
Center on top of the wrap (binding)

Hold the marble securely to keep a good hold to keep the marble from moving

Hold firmly so the marble doesn't escape
Use you other hand to press the 8 wires snugly next to the marble
Be aware to keep the marble centered on the bottom wrap (binding)

Check the bottom to make sure the wrap binding is still centered

Here's a side view to show that the bottom wrap (binding) is in alignment with the top wires

Use your fingers to press the top 8 wires into and next to the marble
Be aware that the marble remains in the center of the top wires and to bottom wrap (binding)

I use my finger or thumb nail to press the wire onto the marble and to gather the 8 wires in a bunch on the top of the marble
This is another opportunity to check that the bottom wrap (binding) is in alignment with the top gathered wires

Place the 1" section of the 22 GA wire in your holding hand
Use your other hand to wrap the remaining 5' of 22 GA wire around the 8 top 20 GA wires

Wrap around 4 or 5 times, then wrap over top of this wrap to make a chunky wrap

This wrap will be loose
Don't worry, it will be tighten down soon
Trim off the loose ends with your flush cutters
Use your chain nose pliers to push down the ends

Push the wrap down to the marble and hold it in place
From the top of the wrap, measure and trim 6 of the top wire to 1 3/4" each
Leave the remaining 2 top wires at their original length

Push the wrap as close to the marble as you can and hold it in place
Bend the 6 wires that are 1 3/4" long to the side
The bend should be as close to the top of the wrap as possible

Use the tip of the round nose pliers to make a very small u shape, almost a closed loop on all of the 6 wires that have been bent to the side
The loops should all be facing the same direction
You now have something that looks like a satellite

Use your chain nose pliers to make an open spiral on one of the 6 looped wires
Make sure the open spiral comes all the way and touches the group of wires

The open spiral is sticking out like a wing and not touching the marble

Now you can press the open spiral down to touch the marble

At the wire that is next to the open spiral that you just made
Use the chain nose pliers to make the second open spiral
It needs to touch the group of center wires
It needs to be out in the air like a wing
Now adjust this second open spiral so that 1 or 2 of it's outer wires are over lapping 1 or 2 of the outer wires of the previous open spiral

Now push this second open spiral down
It will be partially over lapping the previous open spiral
It will be touching the marble

Continue these step with the remaining wires
This picture shows 5 of the 6 open spirals made and 1 more wire ready to be formed

Use you chain nose pliers to make your last open spiral
Here in this picture it is almost completed
It is touching the 2 remaining wires
It is out in the air like a wing
You can now press this final open spiral down to partially over lap the previous open spiral and to touch the marble

This is a top view of the marble with all 6 open spirals complete
The 2 remaining wires will now be formed into a bail for the cord or chain

Here's another picture of the marble with the 6 open spirals

We are now going to make the bail
Place the chain nose pliers about 1/8" above the open spirals
This placing should be enough for 4 pieces of wire thick

Bend the 2 remaining wires back over the chain nose pliers

Place the bail making pliers as near to the bend as possible

Bring the 2 wires up and over the bail making pliers and toward you

Continue moving the wires around the bail making pliers to form a loop

Center the loop over the core wires
Your loop will now be on top of the core wires and centered

Wrap the 2 wire ends around the core wires

Wrap around the core wires a second time

Your wrap should like this

Flush cut the remaining wire ends off as near to the wrap as you can

Use the chain nose pliers to push the ends of the wires as close to the wrap as you can

Open the double wire bail, using your flat nose pliers
Adjust any wire that needs to be centered or to move the side wires to give them equal distance from each other

Here's the final pendant

Group Hug!!!

I hope that you have enjoyed this tutorial and you will make many pendants for yourself, for gifts or to sell.  Happy creating!!!

By the way.  For those of you who have been following my blog.  I'm still waiting on the bank to schedule the sale of my home so I can move.  I'm hopeful that I'll be moving in the next 2 or 3 weeks.

Have a joy filled and creative day,


My Web-site  www.lindasinish.com
My On-line shop  www.lindasinish.etsy.com

Getty Up!


  1. I love this. And a well written tutorial is very treasured. I hate when I read a tutorial and get all confused! Could you do a quick tutorial on how to do an open spiral? I don't know why I can just not seem to do them!! Closed ones, no problem, but the open ones have me stumped! Thanks for this tutorial. I love marbles and there is a store downtown that sells some beautiful ones, I will have to visit it soon!

    1. Hi Diane,

      I'm happy that you have enjoyed the tutorial.

      As far as an open spiral...hmmm. I hope that I can help you. Since it is late in the day and I've completely ignored my housework, I won't be able to write a proper tutorial. However, since you already know how to make a closed spiral I believe I can walk you through making an open spiral.

      Practice, practice,, practice.

      Cut yourself a few pieces of 20 GA wire about 4" long each
      Make a small u shape on the end, using the very tip of your round nose pliers
      Place this u in the back of your chain nose pliers in your dominate hand
      The balance of the wire is sticking out of the plier at 9 o'clock
      Use your non-dominate hand and gentle move the wire from 9 o'clock to 11 o'clock - but don't allow the wire to touch the u
      You can achieve this by going slow and gentle - repeat - slow and gentle
      Reposition your wire in the pliers so that the working wire is back to 9 o'clock
      Slowly and gently move the wire from 9 o'clock to 11 o'clock. You are using your non-dominate hand and the wire. The pliers are not moving, with the exception of opening to reposition the coil.
      NOTE: do not push the working wire toward the plier because it will make it go up and against the spiral. Take your fingers and hold the working wire an inch or 2 inches away from the coil. This will allow the coil to form loosely. You can also, push the wire toward the plier, but do so gently and stop before you get to the formed spiral.
      Watch the working wire and the pressure you apply to play it into position. Watch the spacing between the existing wire and the working wire. I usually allow the distance of the width of the wire, in between as the space. As soon as I have reached this space I release my pressure to form the curve. The space between the wires in the open spiral can be whatever you want or need. From a wee bit of space to a wide space.
      Take and make tiny steps. Don't rush. Tiny and slow movements.

      I hope this has helped. I wish I were there to show you.

      I can only share my personal experience for learning to make a spiral. I sat down with some 20 GA wire and made dozens and dozens of spirals until I was satisfied. I know that might sound insane, but I have a perstant nature. These practice spirals can be added in clusters for earrings or a charm bracelet.

      Also, they don't need to be perfect. So when there is a bigger gap in one area or the wire touches in another, think of it as deliberate and art. Eventually you will be making them perfect. In the meantime have fun! Experiment!

      And, thank you! Because of your request, I now see the need for an open spiral tutorial. I willl put it on my to do list. I can't promise when I will get this done, because I am in the middle of moving. But, hopefully in the next few weeks. When it is published I will let the world know on the site on Facebook and my blog.

  2. Thanks so much for sharing this!

    1. Hi Lulu,

      You are welcome. Please let me know if you have any questions I'll do my best to answer.

      Happy creating.

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  4. Linda, what a great tutorial and I love the story leading up to your creating this tutorial. Just think of all of the marbles you could find and use! Just this past weekend we went antiquing in PA and a vendor gave my 4-year-old son a bag of old marbles! This really is a fantastic tutorial. I can appreciate the time it took to write such clear directions and step-by-step pictures.

    1. Hi Cindy,

      It's always a joy to hear from you. I really value your insights and appreciation of the time involved with writting a tutorial, especially coming from you - the Queen of Creative Designs and future book jammed pack full of tutorials. (I can't wait!)

      This tutorial began with notes to myself for future creations and it evolved into a tutorial and blog post.

      I hadn't had the chance to do much antiquing here, mostly because the terrain limits my travels (not for long, tho!) I have my eye on a few shops in Loudoun County. Perhaps I'll be as lucky as your son and find some more marbles.

      Thank you again for your kind and thoughtful words.

  5. thank you for sharing, this is a well explained tut

  6. Great tutorial! I will be sharing it for others to enjoy.

    Zoraida - http://artzjewelry.wordpress.com

    1. Thank you Zoraida. I really appreciate your kind words and help with the sharing.

  7. What a fantastic way to wrap a sphere of any kind. So beautiful. And your directions and photos are great and look like they would be easy to follow.

    1. Hi Cynthia, I'm glad that you like it. I've been thinking the same as you and wondering what other sphere I could incorporate. How about a cluster of objects? Of course holding them together while wrapping could prove cumbersome. You have inspired me to experiment.

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  9. What a great tutorial! Now I need to go find some marbles so I can start playing. Thank you for sharing :) Christie

    1. Hi Charis, Thank you for your kind words. BTW Your blog is terrific. I see that you are a fan off Cindy's book, too. Have a great day.

  10. Wow this was a great tutorial! Thanks for the inspiration. I went out and got everything today. Went very well! THANKS ^.^

    1. Hello NiftyHippy, What a fun blog name you have. I'm glad that you have enjoyed this tutorial and hope that you make a lot of happy pendents.

  11. This was so clear and concise! I made one of these pendants just after reading it thru and following your directions. It came out great and I know i'll be making more of them! Even the "spaced" spiral directions were awesome. Three tries and I pretty much got it ! So I just wanted to thank you for putting this out there

  12. I just saw your tutorial and it is great! I've been frustrated by round stones and now see it as an easy process thanks to you. Really appreciate your sharing.

    1. Hello Rikki, I'm happy that the tutorial has been helpful to you. I bet you master this technique in no time flat and make lots of terrific pendants, perhaps for yourself or friends or to sell. Enjoy the quest of find the prettiest round stones and then turning them into your works of art.

  13. These are beautiful! I can't wait to try this, although wire wrapping is touch for me and my stiff little fingers. Thank you for such a thorough tutorial!

  14. Hello from France! Wow what a great tutorial, many thanks for sharing ! I can't wait no longer to make a marble pendant and, why not, to use all those sea glass I have collected and kept without knowing how I could turn them into jewels.

  15. This is very beautiful I'd love to see more, thanks so much for taking the time to do what it takes to share this so others may learn from you!

  16. Thank you so much for sharing. ; )

  17. OMG, THANK YOU!!!! I've had a couple of round stones I've wanted to cage like forever, and I couldn't seem to get the trick of it. Then I saw your post on Pinterest. I have finally, successfully wrapped my first stone and I'm fairly certain I can do it again too.

  18. I just found your tutorial! It is so well written, not confusing at all. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Thank you. Its good to hear that its of value and can be understood.

  19. Love this tutorial!! Just one question... What is the rubber tubing looking thing on your bail making pliers??

    1. It came with the tool. Over the years it wore out and now I use the stepper without the rubber cover and it works fine.

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Thank you for your kind words. I'll answer any of your questions very soon. Linda