DON'T Use a Wire Guardian Until You Watch This
What is a Wire Guardian? When should you use one? This week’s tutorial is all about wire guardians (or thread protectors).
Now if you’ve seen any of my tutorials before, you’ll know that I love big, chunky jewellery but today, I’m stringing some pearls. I saw these cultured freshwater pearls which are a beautiful black/blue colour and decided that I needed to make them up into something. I wanted to let the pearls shine so I chose a really simple design, just accenting them with some 3mm platinum beads.
But that’s not why you’re here – today is all about wire guardians.
What is a Wire Guardian
A wire guardian is a U-shaped piece of metal with a tube on either end, and a channel around the U-shape. You thread the stringing material up through one of the tubes, around the arch and back through the other tube.
Why Should I Use a Wire Guardian
Wire guardians are used to help protect your stringing material from whatever it comes into contact with. For example, a silk thread rubbing on a metal jump ring can wear, so use a wire guardian to protect the thread.
A wire guardian also gives your work a more professional looking finish. Rather than having just your wire going through the crimp bead and up through the jump ring (or whatever you’re using), it hides the wire and makes it look nice.
To make this pearl necklace you will need:
- Natural Cultured Freshwater Pearls - Oval 4mm x 4-4.5mm x 1 strand (you’ll need 65 beads)
- 1.5mm Silver Crimps x 2
- 3mm Silver Crimp Covers x 2
- 3mm Platinum Smooth Round Seamed Spacer Bead x 64
- 4.5mm Platinum Plated Brass Wire Guardian x 2
- 12mm Platinum Lobster Clasp x 1
- Silver Plated 0.36mm 925 Sterling Silver Soft Flex Extreme 19 Strand Fine Beading Wire x 60cm
- Chain Nose Pliers x2
- Flush Cutters
- Crimping Pliers (optional)
- Bead Board (optional)
- Bead Stopper (optional)
Please watch the video or read the instructions below.
String the Beads
Place a bead stopper on one end of your tiger tail. Thread the beads on to the tiger tail starting and finishing with a pearl, alternating with the platinum beads.
If you’ve never strung a necklace before, watch this video about how to restring a vintage necklace.
If necessary, adjust the length of the necklace by adding more or less beads. Remember that the clasp will take up approximately 2.5cm (1 inch) so your beads should measure 2.5cm less than the desired completed length.
Using the Wire Guardian
One on side you will add the jump ring and on the other the clasp, both are attached using the wire guardian and this technique. My instructions are for adding the clasp but you will repeat this for the jump ring on the other end of the necklace.
Thread on a crimp bead, then thread the tiger tail up through one of the tubes of the wire guardian. Thread the tiger tail through the other tube – it should sit nicely in the channel. This almost hides the wire.
Thread the tiger tail through the loop of the clasp then push it up so that it’s sitting inside the U-shape of the wire guardian.
Thread the tiger tail back through the crimp bead.
Squeeze the Crimp Bead
Pull everything tight so that there are no gaps in the necklace and the crimp bead is sitting close to the wire guardian. If you need to, squeeze the tubes of the wire guardian together a bit. This makes the finished project look more professional.
Squash the crimp bead with your crimping pliers (if using) or your pliers. If you’re using crimping pliers, you will squash the bead using the back of the pliers and then turn the work and squash again using the front of the pliers. If using chain nose pliers, just squash the crimp bead once.
Trim the wire with the flush cutters as close as you can to the crimp bead.
Add the Crimp Cover
The purpose of using a crimp cover here is to make it look like just another bead and hide the crimp. When your necklace is finished, you won’t be able to see the crimp, you’ll just see what looks like another bead next to your pearls.
The best way I’ve found is to drop the crimp cover over the crimp. With your chain nose pliers, squeeze the crimp cover gently, turning your work and squeezing again until the crimp cover looks like a round bead. It make take several squeezes to get this effect.
Add the Jump Ring
Repeat the process above, but this time instead of adding the clasp, you will add a jump ring.
The wire guardian makes the piece looks really well finished, with the addition of the crimp cover, it makes it extra special. These two techniques used together will take your work to the next level.
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