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How to Make a Tree of Life Pendant

Updated on March 13, 2013

Step-by-Step Tree of Life Pendant Tutorial

Learning how to make a tree of life pendant using only wire and beads is a lot of fun - there's so much room for experimentation once you get the hang of the basics!

For example, you can modify the way that you make the pendant bale, change the size of the circle, give your tree more or less foliage and play around with different bead combinations. Personally, I like using Baltic amber chips for my fall trees, moonstone chips for my winter trees and peridot chips for my spring trees.

In terms of difficulty, this pendant is relatively easy. You should have a solid grasp of basic wire wrapping techniques, like coiling, twisting wire and making loops. We aren't going to be soldering the frame for this tree of life.

So, let's get starting with making a tree of life pendant, shall we?

Materials Needed for a Tree of Life Pendant - You don't have to use the exact same materials as I do; this is just a starting point.

Materials Needed for a Tree of Life Pendant
Materials Needed for a Tree of Life Pendant

1. One ~6.5" piece of 18g wire

2. Four ~6" pieces of 26g wire

3. 3mm-5mm stone chips of your choice (2mm-3mm round beads also work well)

4. Flush cutters

5. Round nose pliers

6. Chain nose pliers

7. Cup burr or file

8. Round object

For this tutorial, I'm using silver-plated Artistic Wire. You can also use plain copper wire or sterling silver wire; I recommend sticking with the cheap stuff while you're still learning!

Step 1: Creating the Circle - Tip: Smaller circles are easier to form than larger ones.

Creating the circle
Creating the circle

Start by wrapping your 18g wire around the round object that you picked out. Make sure that it is tightly wrapped so that it retains its shape after you slide it off. To make this tree of life pendant, I've decided to use a cardboard roll that some hemp cord was packaged on because I like the smaller diameter - the finished pendant will be slightly larger than a quarter. Wooden dowels, metal mandrels and other scavenged household objects also work well; just make sure you choose a round object with a smooth finish.

Quick Tip: I recommend learning how to make this smaller tree of life pendant first before you move onto a larger pendant. Smaller circles don't get bent out of shape nearly as easily when you are working with them, which makes them ideal for beginner hands. :)

This is what your circle should look like at this point. Don't worry about getting it perfect at this stage!

Step 2: Starting the Bale - I'm only showing you a single loop bale, but double loops look very nice, as well.

For this step, you will need to choose the longest wire. I usually try to make the longest wire end up in the front because it's easier for me to work with it in that position; however, you can choose the back wire, as well. To create the stem of the bale, take your chain nose pliers and bend the longest wire up at a 90 degree angle. It's important to make sure the bend is as centered as possible.

After bending the wire, this is what you end up with.

Need to learn how to create a loop or other basic techniques? - Here are some of my favorite wire wrapping books to get you started.

Step 3: Making the Loop

At this point, I like to rotate the pendant so that the bend I just created is facing me. Doing so makes it easier for me to work with my round nose pliers to create the loop. If this position is awkward for you, try making the bend face a different direction until you find one that works well.

Using your round nose pliers, create a loop with the piece of wire that you bent in the previous step. You will need to leave about a 1/4" of a stem underneath the loop to accommodate the wire wrapping we'll be doing next.

Step 4: Finishing the Loop

Quick Tip: Before you start wrapping the bottom wire around the stem that you just created, I recommend placing your circle over your round object again. Working with it around the object will help prevent the circle from getting bent out of shape as you work on finishing the loop for the bale.

Using your chain nose pliers, firmly grasp the bottom wire and wrap it fully around the stem of the bale once. Now, take the top wire that you formed the loop with and wrap it around twice. Make sure your coils are tight and close together. When you're done making sure everything looks good, cut off the excess wire with your flush cutters; both cut ends should meet at the back of the bale, not the front or the side.

This is what the back of your pendant should look like at this point.

Before pushing the cut ends down, make sure you take the time to file them or use a cup burr to round them off. Doing this not only gives your work a professional touch, but it also eliminates any sharp ends that could poke the wearer. Once you're finished, use your chain nose pliers to firmly press both of the filed ends down against the stem.

Step 5: Starting the Tree Roots

Pick up one of your pieces of 26g wire and make a bend in the middle. Position the bend at the bottom of your circle, and start wrapping the 26g wire around the frame. I usually wrap it around 3-4 times; alternating this number will give you more natural looking roots when you're finished. Make sure the wraps that you are making are tightly coiled - if they aren't, gently press them together with your fingernail. Repeat this for the three remaining pieces of 26g wire.

Step 6: Finishing the Roots - We'll also be making the trunk now, too.

Gather all of your 26g wires together at the bottom of the circle, making sure that they are centered directly underneath the pendant bale. Decide on the size that you want to make the roots, and then start twisting all of the bundled wires together; use firm, slow movements to do this.

Keep twisting the wires until the tree trunk is at the desired length - the shorter you make the trunk, the fuller your tree will end up being. You can easily alter the look of your future pendants by just adjusting the size of the trunk.

Step 7: Start Making the Branches

Separate the 26g wires in pairs from the trunk to make the branches of your pendant. Once you have finished separating them, you should end up with four pairs of wire.

Step 8: Twist the Branches

Once you have separated each pair, start twisting them together to form the branches. I usually make 5-8 twists; the amount you make will again determine how full your tree looks. The less twists you make, the more foliage you can add. When you are done twisting each pair together, you will end up with eight branches.

Want to learn another way to create a tree of life pendant? - Check out my comprehensive tree of life pendant tutorial!

In my tree of life pendant tutorial, I demonstrate two ways to create the tree - the method that you just learned, and a completely different approach. The end pieces that are produced look similar, but the style nuances are very apparent; one looks more natural, while the other method creates a very uniform-looking tree.

Additionally, I've also included a bonus section dedicated to a step-by-step walk through of the basic wire wrapping techniques that you will need to complete this pendant: coiling and forming a loop. The entire tutorial is 63 pages long in PDF format.

Sample Pictures from the Tutorial

Click thumbnail to view full-size

Step 9: Add Leaves to Your Branches

Quick Tip: I like using earthy colors for my tree of life pendants, but that doesn't mean that you have to! Using different types of beads will give you interesting variations of this tree pendant. Try using stone chips, faceted beads and round beads - or even combine different types.

Start adding stone chips or beads of your choice to the first branch of the tree. Once you've finished adding the beads, tightly wrap the end of the 26g wire around the frame; keep wrapping until you've completed at least 3-4 coils. Just leave the excess wire at the end - don't cut it off yet. Repeat this for each branch until you have finished adding leaves to all eight.

Step 10: Cut Off the Excess Wires - Make sure you use flush cutters!

Before you start cutting, make sure that each branch is positioned the way that you want it. If there are any that need additional leaves or other adjustments, now is the time to do it. When you're done, use your flush cutters to cut off the excess 26g wire. Don't forget to push down the cut ends so that they aren't poking up anymore!

Step 11: Add the Finishing Touch to the Tree Roots (Optional)

Once I'm finished with the branches, I like to go back and bend the roots to give them a more natural look - feel free to leave them neat and straight if you like how that looks. Add your tree of life pendant to a cord of your choice and it's ready to wear!

Here's what your pendant should look like from the side:

And, here's a quick size comparison:

Congratulations! You just learned how to make a tree of life pendant. - Now go make another one...or five!

Hopefully this tutorial gave you a good idea of how to make a tree of life pendant. If you have any questions, or think a step might be missing, feel free to let me know with a comment.

Quick Tip: If you're using copper wire or sterling silver wire to make your tree pendant, consider hammering the frame to give it a textured look.

You can find more tutorials and tips like this on my website. If you would like to purchase one of my tree of life pendants, I sell them in my Etsy shop and at Caterpillar Arts - Nature Inspired Handmade Gifts.

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    • profile image

      Leslie 21 months ago

      Can't wait to try it

    • profile image

      Linda Green 21 months ago

      Thank you for the step by step instructions Lens, awesome job i read it today and actually made one, i posted it on my face book page, thank you so much for the help cant wait to make a big one ( i make dream catchers) and i want to add the tree of life some how your awesome thanks again

    • profile image

      Joy Reinhardt 2 years ago

      Hi Fran I cannot say thank You enough not only did this tutorial help make a tree of life for my daughter but it inspired my to add it to the collection of jewelry I am making for sale in the near future. I have a long sad story and I need to get some money together. I have to sell something I cannot beg on go fund me not my nature. Thank You again and Bless You!

    • profile image

      DebiV 2 years ago

      just followed your tutorial and made my own. I love it, thank you!!!

    • Natashalh profile image

      Natasha 3 years ago from Hawaii

      Very cool! I've thought about making a Tree of Life pennant before, but hand't seen a very clear tutorial. Thank you for this!

    • FunMoneyBusiness profile image

      Sharyn Read 4 years ago from ... either in the kitchen or at my laptop...

      I've come back to pin it in my Pinterest account and also to get the url for the tutorial to share with a friend!

    • Girlwiththorns profile image

      Girlwiththorns 4 years ago

      Great photos and really well organised information. I think I can do this!

    • GeekGirl1 profile image

      GeekGirl1 4 years ago

      excellent tutorial.

    • CaterpillarArts1 profile image

      CaterpillarArts1 4 years ago

      @anonymous: I love using amber for the trees - dark amber chips look really nice with garnet, too.

    • profile image

      DecoratingMom411 4 years ago

      Cool lens! Made it easy for me to follow the instructions because of the pictures. :) I like what you did here. Keep it up!

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      I tried it with blue-ish leaves and it turned out beautifully! By the way, did you make the ring on your thumb? It is absolutely gorgeous! Is there a tutorial for it?

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      That's brilliant. My boyfriend gave me an amber bracelet and it broke. I've kept the bits of amber and now I know what to do with them. Thank you!

    • lewisgirl profile image

      lewisgirl 4 years ago

      Very nice lens!

    • Adventuretravels profile image

      Giovanna Sanguinetti 4 years ago from Perth UK

      What a fantastic lens. So clearly told. I feel that I could make one of these now. My wife is very interested. Thanks

    • Spiderlily321 profile image

      Spiderlily321 4 years ago

      What an awesome tutorial. Beautiful pendant idea. Thanks for sharing!

    • CaterpillarArts1 profile image

      CaterpillarArts1 4 years ago

      @octopen: Thank you! I'm sure they'll turn out wonderfully :)

    • octopen profile image

      octopen 4 years ago

      These are so beautiful! I am going to make some for my friends for Easter. FANTASTIC LENS, well done!

    • PinkstonePictures profile image

      PinkstonePictures 4 years ago from Miami Beach, FL

      How clever and simple too. Thanks for the lesson

    • Alessandro Zambon profile image

      Alessandro Zamboni 4 years ago from Italy

      Great tutorial, I appreciated it and I will pass the link to my mother, who likes to create jewels on her own.

      Two thumbs up!

    • CaterpillarArts1 profile image

      CaterpillarArts1 4 years ago

      @iMANDY: Thank you, I'm rather fond of the rings myself :) Glad you liked the tutorial!

    • iMANDY profile image

      iMANDY 4 years ago from Melbourne, Australia

      This is an excellent tutorial and a wonderful lens!

      Your tree of life is amazing, I also love your rings that you are wearing in the pics, obviously handmade by you :)

    • KimGiancaterino profile image

      KimGiancaterino 4 years ago

      Excellent tutorial ... these would make wonderful favors and gifts. Congratulations on LOTD!

    • profile image

      lhaz2013 4 years ago

      That is so cool! Tree of life is awesome I've always loved it now you make it look so easy to make which i nos its not. Your just amazingly talented.

    • profile image

      DebMartin 4 years ago

      You are one talented woman!

    • JodiFromFlorida profile image

      JodiFromFlorida 4 years ago

      Absolutely fantastic lens, I love the step by step instructions. Congrats on LOTD!

    • profile image

      TopChristmasToysGifts 4 years ago

      Congratulations on Lens of the Day! Very creative Tree of Life pendants.

    • CaterpillarArts1 profile image

      CaterpillarArts1 4 years ago

      @anonymous: Thank you!

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Wow! You did a great job! Love your rings too!

    • profile image

      soaringsis 4 years ago

      Your art work is just beautiful. Thank you for sharing. blessed:)

    • pshinde2109 lm profile image

      pshinde2109 lm 4 years ago

      Ohh...totally amazed by this Art.Great lense.

    • DaveP2307 profile image

      DaveP2307 4 years ago

      That is a really helpful Lens. After seeing the photos I think even I could make a Tree Of Life Pendant!


    • simoza01 lm profile image

      simoza01 lm 4 years ago

      wonderful .. like this hands-on . thanks ...

    • malenk lm profile image

      malenk lm 4 years ago

      that's amazing, love it...i want to try it, im thinking of jewelry making as my next hobby.

    • profile image

      grannysage 4 years ago

      Very clearly presented with stunning results. My mother made handmade jewelry and I'm sure she would have tried this. Adding to the related lens section of my Tree Huggers Jewelry lens.

    • Bonfire Designs profile image

      Bonfire Designs 4 years ago

      Wow gorgeous, creative and talented - thank you for sharing your tree of life!

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Wow! Love this!

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      This is so neat! *blessed by a squid angel*

    • CaterpillarArts1 profile image

      CaterpillarArts1 4 years ago

      @mermaidsbite: I bet that tree is very pretty :) Thank you for your order - I'll be starting in the morning!

    • profile image

      Auriel 4 years ago

      wonderful ideas.

    • Ardyn25 profile image

      Ardyn25 4 years ago

      You make it look so easy! And such detailed directions that it makes me want to try. These are beautiful by the way!

    • LynetteBell profile image

      LynetteBell 4 years ago from Christchurch, New Zealand

      Thanks for the great step by step instruction. Very nice:) Well done on LOTD and purple star!

    • Franksterk profile image

      Frankie Kangas 4 years ago from California

      LOVE IT. Great job making an "How to" lens with almost step-by[-step photos and videos. Blessed. Bear hugs, Frankie

    • squidoopets profile image

      Darcie French 4 years ago from Abbotsford, BC

      What a lovely idea - very pretty pendants and I enjoyed the pictorial tutorial :D

    • mermaidsbite profile image

      mermaidsbite 4 years ago

      Wow, thanks for the tutorial! I bought my mom a tree of life necklaces a couple of years ago, and the artist used our family birthstones in the tree. I've posted this on Pinterest, and I'm purchasing your monarch chrysalis necklace. :)

    • makorip lm profile image

      makorip lm 4 years ago

      Interesting. Congratulations LOTD!

    • JoyfulMom LM profile image

      JoyfulMom LM 4 years ago

      These are very nice! Thanks for the great tutorial.

    • Mellithorpe profile image

      Mellithorpe 4 years ago

      This is beautiful. Yet another craft I just may have to try. Thank you for the detailed instructions.

    • CaterpillarArts1 profile image

      CaterpillarArts1 4 years ago

      @FunMoneyBusiness: I hope you give it a try - they make wonderful gifts!

    • CaterpillarArts1 profile image

      CaterpillarArts1 4 years ago

      @newdaypro: You can also use 16g instead of 18g, and 24-30g instead of 26g :)

    • youndyd lm profile image

      youndyd lm 4 years ago

      Thanks for the amazing lens and wonderful tutorial, congrats on being selected as LOTD.

    • Celticep profile image

      Celticep 4 years ago

      Great tutorial, clear instructions with useful pictures! Thanks

    • street2linen profile image

      street2linen 4 years ago

      Great for couples!

    • newdaypro profile image

      newdaypro 4 years ago

      I love wire wrapped jewelry. This is a great project. I read this and ran to see if I had the right sized wire and I don't, so now have to run to the supply store. Thanks. Keep up the good work.

    • deyanis profile image

      deyanis 4 years ago from Oz

      Congratulations on LotD. Thank you for sharing this great step-by-step tutorial.

    • FunMoneyBusiness profile image

      Sharyn Read 4 years ago from ... either in the kitchen or at my laptop...

      I love all things to do with Tree of Life, so you lens jumped out at me - I had to read it - and now that I have, even though I don't have the tools, I am really inspired to try to follow your beautifully done tutorial! I know my sister-in-law would just LOVE one of these! Congratulations for the Lens of the Day award!

    • dead sheep profile image

      dead sheep 4 years ago

      Very cool! Thanks for sharing!

    • NightMagic profile image

      NightMagic 4 years ago

      This is so unique. Thanks for the tutorial. I'm going to try it.

    • Ninche profile image

      Ninche 4 years ago

      Oh, crafty you :) this is simply great!

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      How nice are they? :) lovely lens.

    • TommysTips profile image

      TommysTips 4 years ago

      Great lens - congratulations on LOTD - the photographs made it very easy to see what you were doing - thanks!

    • TommysTips profile image

      TommysTips 4 years ago

      Great lens - congratulations on LOTD - the photographs made it very easy to see what you were doing - thanks!

    • MrAusAdventure profile image

      Bill 4 years ago from Gold Coast, Australia

      Congrats on LOTD. I will share this with my wife, she will love it!

    • nicenet profile image

      nicey 4 years ago

      Fantastic idea.I can make these myself and sell it.Thanks for the tutorial and a beautiful lens.

    • junecampbell profile image

      June Campbell 4 years ago from North Vancouver, BC, Canada

      Thanks for these great instructions. I hope to try this one day soon.

    • NibsyNell profile image

      NibsyNell 4 years ago

      This looks like a fun thing to try! :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      The pendants are gorgeous. Thank you for sharing how to make them.

    • jlshernandez profile image

      jlshernandez 4 years ago

      Creative and lovely. Thanks for the great tutorial.

    • Zodiacimmortal profile image

      Kim 4 years ago from Yonkers, NY

      Great lens .. but may I request a how to video (some are better watching videos that still pics) I've added this lens to my favorite lenses lens.

    • tvyps profile image

      Teri Villars 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Wow, a very detailed explanation. I could see my fingers getting all tangled up & getting poked in the eyeball. I think I will just buy mine from you! ha! Blessed by a Squid Angel.

    • MelanieKaren profile image

      Melanie Wilcox 4 years ago from Pennsylvania, USA

      I love this lens and your pendants! i just completed a tree of life lens, but my focus was on décor for one's home. The lens has been well received. So, now I am creating one specifically for just tree of life jewelry. I am so going to feature your lens. It's really great!

    • profile image

      ohcaroline 4 years ago

      You made it easy to reproduce. It's a lovely pendant. Congratulations on LOTD.

    • profile image

      Hannah Writes 4 years ago

      Thank you for a fantastic tutorial. Blessed.

    • Vera-S profile image

      Vera-S 4 years ago

      So beautiful! Clear and easy to understand instruction. Now Iâd like to try making tree of life pendant myself. Congratulations on LOTD!

    • profile image

      chiconsquidoo 4 years ago

      wow this is a great DIY!!It is now at the top of my todo list

    • Bobbala profile image

      Bobbala 4 years ago

      Congrates on LOTD

    • chi kung profile image

      chi kung 4 years ago

      I love the pendant you made and your instructions are really easy to follow!

      congrats on LOTD - you deserve it!

    • Art Inspired profile image

      Art Inspired 4 years ago

      Congrats on your lens of the day. Thanks for putting together a well done lens that teaches others how to learn a new craft. Make it a creative day!

    • choosehappy profile image

      Vikki 4 years ago from US

      The pendants are really pretty and your instructions are so detailed--great tutorial. Congrats on lotd ;)

    • profile image

      Insurance-Provider 4 years ago

      Nice way of jewelry making........congrates on LOTD.

    • profile image

      Apps-for-iPad 4 years ago

      You have all tools of a gold-smith.....just kidding.......congrates on LOTD.

    • travertine-tiles profile image

      travertine-tiles 4 years ago

      Really great job ......I love to make this one.

    • profile image

      mikezenero 4 years ago

      Thanks for sharing and congrates on LOTD

    • Magda2012 profile image

      Magda2012 4 years ago

      Really Beautiful! Congratulations on LOTD and Purple Star.

    • bathroom suites2 profile image

      bathroom suites2 4 years ago

      It's look so make this type of jewelry because of you and thanks and congrates on LOTD

    • profile image

      KyraB 4 years ago

      Congratulations on LOtD! And beautiful jewelry, I think I'll be trying these sometime your instructions are so nice and clear :) Thanks for sharing how to make them!

    • michelleroe profile image

      michelleroe 4 years ago

      Great explanation, it looks pretty simple as the images are clear and on a step by step basis. Thanks!

    • profile image

      webmavern 4 years ago

      These are beautiful pendants and look easy to make with your great instructions and photos. Thanks for sharing this with us and congratulations on LOTD!

    • shauna1934 profile image

      shauna1934 4 years ago

      Incredibly beautiful. Thank you for sharing!

    • hotsquid profile image

      hotsquid 4 years ago

      Very cool tree pendants. Congrats on Lens of the Day.

    • LiteraryMind profile image

      Ellen Gregory 4 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      I often look at jewelry and wonder how it was made. This was so interesting. Congratulations on LOTD

    • profile image

      Medical-Marijuana 4 years ago

      Congrates on LOTD

    • CaterpillarArts1 profile image

      CaterpillarArts1 4 years ago

      @Rock Artist: I'm sure it will come out lovely! :)

    • CaterpillarArts1 profile image

      CaterpillarArts1 4 years ago

      @Medical-Marijuana: It's difficult to work with thick gauges; 24-30g is very easy to work with.

    • profile image

      Medical-Marijuana 4 years ago

      Is it little tough to turn wire or not?

    • profile image

      metals-4u 4 years ago

      Congrates on LOTD

    • profile image

      Internet-marketing1 4 years ago

      Very pretty......I also want to make it myself.

    • Rock Artist profile image

      Rock Artist 4 years ago

      I am definitely going to try this, just beautiful! Thank you

    • CaterpillarArts1 profile image

      CaterpillarArts1 4 years ago

      @Gypzeerose: They make really good surprise gifts :)

    • CaterpillarArts1 profile image

      CaterpillarArts1 4 years ago

      @BGrimes: I did :) The ring on my index finger is my own design, and the thumb ring is my version of a tutorial on YouTube by YrDesign.