Free Jewellery Making Tutorial. Cute Wire Work Rabbit Pendant
If you have always thought that making animal pendants out of wire is difficult, think again. I am going to show you how to make this rabbit pendant using just one gauge of wire and a few basic jewellery making tools. This actual pendant took me about ten minutes to make, as it is incredibly easy, so it is a great introductory piece for anyone thinking about taking up wire work, or adding wire to their jewellery making repertoire. The technique can also be easily adapted to create pendants of other animals or motifs.
You will need:
1mm gauge wire
Round nose pliers
Flat nose pliers
Optional: Chasing hammer and steel block
UK to US Wire Gauge Conversion Table
How to make the rabbit pendant
1. To begin with I hand drew a basic rabbit outline, a little bit smaller than the desired finished size, as somehow when I use this technique the finished product always ends up a little bit bigger. (This won't necessarily happen to you, and you might be able to keep to the same size as your guide)
Feel free to trace over this picture, or save it, resize it in an editing program such as paint and print a copy. Alternatively you might want to come up with your own design.
2. Cut a length of 1mm gauge wire (approx 15 inches depending on the final size you require). Using the round nose pliers curl the end to make a small loop, then use the flat nose pliers to make an open spiral. This will make the rabbit's tail. To make sure you get the right size spiral, measure your work against your guide.
I have used a thick gauge of wire as it provides greater structure and will hold the design. When working with wire, remember that thicker wire adds substance and structure while the thinner wires add detail.
If you haven't made an open spiral before, take a look at the video below
How to make an open spiral with wire
3. Now keep holding your work against your guide and shape your wire using your fingers for larger curves (such as the head), round nose pliers for smaller, tight curves such as the feet, and the flat nose pliers to achieve corners (for e.g. where the legs meet the belly).
This can be tricky, but keep measuring up against your guide to see where you need to make a curve or corner. If it doesn't quite go right you can straighten out a section with your flat nose pliers and try again. Wire is quite malleable, and can be straightened and reshaped a few times, just be careful not to scratch the coating with your tools if you need to do this.
4. Once you get to this point of your rabbit, trim any excess wire, leaving just a small amount as shown. You can roll this down with your round nose pliers into another smaller open spiral to make the second ear.
5. An optional extra is to hammer the rabbit shape with a chasing hammer, on a steel block. This hardens the wire, and helps it to retain it's shape. I recommend doing this if you have access to the tools, as I was halfway through creating a different wire pendant yesterday and my toddler came over and yanked it out of my hand, pulling it completely out of shape leaving a twisty, bendy piece of wire... Which meant starting all over again.
Hardening the wire with a chasing hammer gives extra strength, so if your pendant gets tugged by a toddler, or gets caught on a button when you are taking off your coat, it will withstand it and hold its shape - to an extent. There is only so much wire can take before it will bend or snap. So do take care.
Also, hammering the wire can achieve nice flattened sections, so you could enhance certain sections with this technique
Making a bail out of wire for your pendant
1. Take a small length (approx 3 or 4 inches) of 1mm gauge wire. Bend it in half, and squeeze the two halves together gently with the flat nose pliers to make them lie neatly next to each other.
Curl the end where the two ends join with the round nose pliers, do not curl it all the way around - leave a small gap
2. Now place the round nose pliers directly below the curl you have just made and curl the ends up in the opposite direction, again do not complete the loop, leave a small gap.
You should now have two open loops in an S shape
3. Curl the two excess ends down and to the side, using the round nose pliers, to make a decorative flourish.
Now your bail is ready to add to the pendant. Thread one loop over the rabbit's ear, the other loop is for your chain or ribbon. Once the bail is in place you can close the loops by giving them a final twist with the round nose pliers - making two closed circles, like a figure 8
Other pendant ideas for you to try
If you have enjoyed this tutorial, then you might want to have a go at making some of these other ideas using the same technique of working around a sketched plan. These pendants are a little more complex, but are still easy enough for beginners to wire work.
Wire Work Squirrel Pendant
For this squirrel, follow the drawing below. This pendant is made out of two pieces that you join together. The first part is the head, arm and back, the second part is the bushy tail.
1. Use 1mm gauge wire and begin at either the small curl on the arm, or at the bottom of the back. Leave a little excess at the bottom of the back as you will use this to connect the back to the tail.
2. Now following the drawing, create the tail making a small curl on each end.
3. Now position the tail at the bottom of the squirrels body, when you are happy with the position, wrap the excess (from the bottom of the back) around the tail where they connect. Trim and smooth with your flat nose pliers
4. With a much thinner gauge wire (0.25mm recommended) bind the arm to the tail.
5. Now, still using the thin wire, thread a small bead onto a small length of wire, position the bead into place, as though the squirrel is holding a nut, then wrap the ends of the thin wire around the 1mm wire that makes the top of the squirrels arm. Trim and smooth.
6. Optional extra - you can bind the two curls of the tail together using the thin wire, or leave them as they are.
Reindeer Pendant or Tree Ornament
This reindeer pendant would look equally good hanging on the Christmas tree, just thread on to some ribbon!
This pendant is also made out of two pieces joined together, the main reindeer frame plus a second piece that forms the inner antlers.
1. Using 1mm gauge wire follow the drawn plan below. You might want to leave creating the spirals on the antlers until the very end, that way you can balance them all and position them how you want them.
2. Now get a small length of 1mm wire, bend it into a V shape.
3. Position the V between the antlers of the main frame
4. Using a thin wire (0.25 or 0.45mm) bind the inner antlers to the outer antlers using a basket weave or similar technique. See video link below if you are unsure of how to do this. Make sure you trim and smooth the ends of the thin wire with your flat nose pliers to prevent sharp edges.
5. Now curl the ends of the antlers into nice open spirals - the direction of the spiral, and the length is completely up to your personal preference.
6. Either create a small bail to turn this lovely prancing reindeer into a pendant, or add some colourful ribbon to make a Christmas tree ornament.
How to weave wire
This fox pendant took me a while to get right, it is a little bit more complex then the previous pendants, which is why I have saved it until last. I have drawn out the plan in stages, to make it easy to follow.
1. Using 1mm wire (about an arms length) begin with the inner spiral of the fox's ear, work your war around, forming the outer ear and head. Then take the wire up to meet the base of the ear, curl it around to make the tail.
2. When the wire meet the fox's jaw, wrap the wire around the jaw line once then continue to make a zig zag line across the tail, using the flat nose pliers to get the sharp angles.
3. When you have created the zig zag all the way across the tail, wrap the wire once or twice around the outline of the tail, where the wire naturally lies. Snip and smooth.
4. Position a small bead where the nose should be, with some thin wire threaded through it (0.25mm). To secure the nose in place, wrap the ends of the thin wire around the main frame, where the arrows indicate, either side of the bead. Then take the lower end of the wire across the face, and wrap it around the tail a little bit below the ear (see main photo of the fox). This line will suggest the white fur on the lower half of a fox's muzzle. Trim and smooth the wire ends.
5. The eye is done in two stages. First take a small length of some 0.6mm wire, place it in position across the face, and wrap the ends around the frame to hold it in place: one end above the nose, in line with the eye and the other end to where the tail and ear join, binding the two together. Trim and smooth ends.
6. Now thread a small bead onto a small length of 0.25 or 0.45mm wire, position the bead where the eye should be. Wrap one end of the wire just above the nose, and curl the other end up to wrap around the wire attached in stage 5, as per the drawing. Trim and smooth the ends.
If you enjoyed this tutorial you may also enjoy:
- How to Make a Holly Ring Out of Wire and Beads. Free Wire Work Tutorial
A free illustrated tutorial showing you how to make a contemporary seasonal piece of jewellery: A ring featuring a sprig of holly made from wire and beads
- How to Make a Simple Beaded Wire Bangle. Free Wire Work Tutorial for Beginners
A step by step illustrated guide to creating your own beaded bangle with a shepherd hook clasp
- How to Make a Wire and Gemstone Wishbone Ring. Free Wire Work Tutorial
A free jewellery making tutorial with a step by step illustrated guide to making your own wire and gemstone ring, suitable for beginner jewellery makers with minimal tools.