Furnace Birds and a Wire-Wrapping Tutorial

I know it's been a minute since my last post, but I have been a busy little bee. I've spent my summer thrifting, making things, and dealing with the odd anomaly. I had a case of furnace birds, for instance.

I came home from work a few weeks ago to find Stella and Grayson going to seizures on and around my dining room table. The source of all the excitement was a sparrow who had, somehow, made his way into my apartment and who was chilling out on my ceiling fan. I packed the cats away in a bedroom, turned all the lights off, turned the porch light on, opened the front door, and hit the deck. The bird was clearly stressed out and spent some time flying into walls and dive-bombing me before eventually flying out the front door (then flying back in, then leaving for good).

After giving the apartment a good scrub-down I went to bed, only to be awoken by scratching noises coming from my utility closet. 

Oh, no. 

In my half-awake haze I imagined it to be some sort of R.O.U.S. or similarly scary and fictional animal. It took a good amount of time to psych myself up enough to put my feet on the ground. As I got closer to the closet (in my snow boots) I heard a frenzied chirping. 
Way less scary, but still disconcerting.
Again, I packed the cats away, turned of the lights, opened the front door, and slowly opened the utility closet.

Nothing happened.
I waited.

Eventually the scratching resumed and a terrified and (probably) sweaty sparrow clawed its way out of my furnace vent. He eventually settled under my dining room table, where I let him collect himself before coaxing him out the front door. 
If you don't believe me, see for yourself:

I guess they were trying to make a nest in my furnace spout and fell in. 
Anyway, I haven't come home to any furnace birds in a while, and I promise to post more than once a month from now on.

On to the tutorial!!

More after the jump...

If you've ever been to a local art fair, you've seen booths filled with the sort of wire-wrapped jewelry that vaguely crunchy, sandal and linen-wearing women go for. It's nature-inspired, it's silver, and it usually has some sort of natural gemstone element. 

I am regularly impressed with the wide-range of things these artisans can do with stones and silver wire, and decided to try making something for my own mom last Mother's Day. A common image in wire-wrapped jewelry is the Tree of Life.

The elements:
- Aventurine stones (or any other sort of stone. They come on strands at Hobby Lobby- go bananas.)
- 10 and 24 gauge sterling silver wire
- pliers and wire cutters
- bottle to shape wire

I'm not including specific measurements because I winged it, myself. You can get an idea of size, though, from the photos. You can get all these supplies from your local craft store.

1 - Straighten the 10 gauge wire by hand and shape around the bottle. Create a loop for the chain on the top.

2 - Cut the finer-gauge wire into segments about twice as long as the width of the circle.

3 - Twist the wire segments together into a vague tree trunk and branch shape. I found it easiest to get going by pinching the wires together in the middle and splaying them out - it gives you a better grip to twist them. You want your trunk and branches to be about 1/2 the height of the pendant.

4 - First, wrap the roots of the tree around the bottom of the circle. Try not to overlap the wires when you wrap them. Your wires will probably be too long, so feel free to cut off any excess after a few wraps.

5 - You'll do pretty much the same thing at the top, only you'll string the stones on the wires to create the leaves of the tree before wrapping them around the circle.

6 - Once you've secured all the stray wires, you have yourself a Tree of Life pendant!

I had a little wire left over, so I made a mini-version using freshwater pearls.

Here they are, side-by-side.

Just a nice little addition to your summer jewelry collection, and a super-handy skill come the holiday season. If any of you try your hand at making one, I'd love to see the results.

Your Sister in Craft,


July 18, 2011

3 responses to Furnace Birds and a Wire-Wrapping Tutorial

  1. I love this! Thank you so much for posting! I am going to try these and I will send you pics, (if I can figure out how), as soon as I'm finished!!! Thanks again!

  2. Im from Viet Nam. I really love your tutorial and some of my friends want to try these but they dont know English, so they couldnt finisht this.Could you please allow me to translate it into Vietnamese and use your pics?

  3. i've been searching for a free tutorial for hours. thanks. i really like these stuff.
    p.s. I'm Shuhrat, from Bangladesh. I'll let u know once I make it.

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