Generally speaking, wire wrapping is the art of wrapping one long length of thin wire around one or more pieces of thicker wire to create different forms. Wires can be bent, beads or cabochons added and the weaving technique varied to create limitless design possibilities.
It’s a wonderful hobby to learn and one that you can start out doing with very little expenditure. All you need to get going is a couple of jewellery pliers and some wire. Add the odd bead into the mix and you can make something quite special. That’s all very well you might say, but where do I start learning this wonderful hobby? Well, hopefully I have some answers for you in this post.
To begin with, I’d highly recommend buying a physical book on the subject at beginner level. Having a book by your side will be invaluable for getting you used to the terminology like wire gauges and the different types of wire you can buy. It’s also a great thing to flick through for inspiration or to get quick answers at the start of your wire wrapping journey. The book I’d recommend here is The Encyclopedia of Wire Jewellery Techniques by Sara Withers. It covers all aspects of wire jewellery, not just wire wrapping, but it has an amazing introduction to the tools, materials and terminology that I haven’t seen bettered in any other book. It might also open your eyes to other wire techniques that you otherwise wouldn’t have thought of. It calls itself an encyclopedia but don’t let the boring title put you off. The book is very readable and contains projects that increase in difficulty so you can basically work your way through from beginning to end.
After that, the internet is your best friend. There are a load of people on Etsy that sell individual tutorials for specific projects (I even sell a few myself 😉 ) but if you don’t want to spend money, there are numerous free tutorials out there. Just do searches for “free wire wrap tutorials” or similar. I’ve found Pinterest to be very useful too. Again, just search to see all the amazing craftsmanship that’s out there. YouTube also has plenty of free wirework and wire wrapping channels. The added benefit here is that you can actually see the jewellery being made so there will be less of the head scratching as you try to figure out how a piece got from stage x to stage y. I recommend the Free Jewelry Tutorials Facebook Group which has a supportive community and is dedicated to finding the best free jewellery tutorials on the web today.
When you are comfortable with the basics, individual tutorials on Etsy can be great for learning to make those really cool projects that you like the look of and getting to grips with new techniques along the way. There are some really advanced ones out there such as this and this.
If books are more your thing, there are a handful of great books that are suited to the more advanced level wire wrapper.
Fine Art Wire Weaving by Sarah Thompson
If you like delicate, almost elven-looking jewellery then this is the book for you! Sarah is a master of her art favours delicate designs with slightly thinner wire than you might otherwise be used to using in your projects. This is my personal favourite out of all the wire wrapping books I’ve come across.
Timeless Wire Weaving by Lisa Berth
Another great book to add to your collection, this one is particularly strong on the techniques used to make wire woven bracelets and many of the projects feature focal beads or cabochons in their designs.
Mastering Wirework Jewelry: 15 Intricate Designs to Create by Rachel Norris
A wirework book for the animal lover! In this book, Rachel takes the reader through the step-by-step creation of 15 nature-inspired designs. The designs are indeed intricate but the instructions are incredibly clear so even a beginner should be able to master these designs with enough patience.
Freeform Wire Weaving
If you feel your designs are a little too tight and rigid, this is a wonderful book for allowing your inner anarchy to come out with some of the more bold and asymmetric designs.
I hope this brief lowdown on wire wrapping learning resources has been useful to you. Note that some of the links in the post above are affiliate links which mean I get a small commission on any purchases you make after following those links at no extra cost to you. This helps me to keep the site running and I really do appreciate it.