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by Judy Larson Wire wrap a special coin to make a beautiful pendant that is sure to become a treasured keepsake. Hint: If you want to hang this on a keychain, cut the decorative swirl wires short and snug them down next to the bail wrap.
Materials: 21 gauge square wire 21 gauge half round wire One coin Hint: A large coin such as the Sakagawea or Presidential dollar works best for your first coin wrap. Note: Silver plated craft wire in a gold color has been used to make this pendant in this tutorial. This type of craft wire is considered dead soft. Directions:
Tools: Flat, chain, bent, and round nose pliers Flush cutter Ultra fine point Sharpie marker Painters tape Mandrel the same diameter as the coin ¼” and 3/8” dowels Optional: Pin vise
Step 1: Measure the circumference of your coin: Wrap the outer edge of your coin with a strip of painters tape. Remove the tape and place it on a piece of paper. Measure the tape length. Draw a line on the paper the length of the tape and divide this length into quarters. The length of wire you add to this measurement is determined by what you wish to do with the excess wires after the bail is made at the top of the pendant. The following are circumferences of US coins: Penny: 2 and 3/8” Nickel: 2 and 5/8” Dime: 2 and 3/16” Quarter: 3” Kennedy half dollar: 3 and 7/8” Susan B. Anthony dollar: Sakagawea and Presidential dollar: 3¼”+
Step 2: Straighten and cut the square wires needed for your coin. For this design on the Presidential dollar coin, you will need 4 wires, each 7½” long-4¼” longer than the circumference of the coin. For the Sakagawea dollar, you need 5 wires because it is just a bit thicker. Note: The number of wires used is determined by the thickness of the coin. Most coins use 4 or 5 wires. Stack the wires until they equal the thickness of the coin, then add two more. Step 3: Lay the wires side by side, ends even. Use painters tape to secure the ends together. This makes the wire bundle easier to work with. Step 4: Using a Sharpie, mark the center of the bundle. Line this mark up on the center mark of the line drawn in Step 1. Use the Sharpie to transfer the other lines to the wire bundle. There should now be 5 lines marked on the bundle.
Step 5: Using your half round wire, make four wraps to show on the three center marked lines. Place the bundle next to your line and check to make sure that the wraps are lined up with the marks. If the wraps need to be moved, use your fingernail, NOT a tool, to move the wraps. If you do not have fingernails, you can use the ¼” dowel. Once the wraps are where you want them, you can snug them down tighter with your flat nose pliers. Step 6: You will be making a 90° bend AWAY from the wrong side of the bundle, TOWARD the outside or right side of the bundle. Place your flat nose pliers on the outer line so you can barely see the line. You could even cover the line just a hair. With your fingers, bend the bundle of wires 90° over the top of the pliers. Step 7: The mandrel you use for bending your wire bundle does not have to be exactly the size of the coin but it should be very close. Center the mandrel between the wraps on the wrong side and bend the bundle around the mandrel. When you pull the top wires close together around the coin, they should meet and the coin should be tight in the wire bezel you just created.
Step 8: Remove the tape from the ends of the wire bundle. Close to the cut ends of the straight wires, tape all the wires together. Step 9: Using painters tape, temporarily secure the coin in the bezel.
Step 10: Make a hook about 1” from the end of the half round wire. The bend should be wide enough to accommodate two thicknesses of square wire. Position the hook at the base of the straight wires with the cut end toward the back and the bend on the front of the assembly. Wrap tightly around the square wires, tightening down the half round wire after each bend, until there are 3 wraps showing in the front and 2 in the back. Try not to overlap the wraps but to have them nestle tightly side by side. DO NOT CUT THE WRAP WIRE OFF!
Step 11: Remove the tape from the bail wires. Pull the front 4 wires slightly to the front. Pull the center wire on each side to the outside (if using 5 wires) and the back 4 wires slightly to the back. The whole thing looks like a porcupine! Separately twist the back center two wires. Hint: Count the number of twists to get the twists even on both wires. Do not overtwist or you could break a wire. Push the back 4 wires back together, with the two twisted wires between the two straight wires.
Step 12: Place the ¼” dowel on the back of the wires, 1/3 of the way up from the base of the bail wires, and bend the wires over it until they touch the back of the coin.
Step 13: Make a 30° bend in the bail wires about 1/8” up from the last wrap. Hold the cut ends of the bail wire tightly to the coin and make three more wraps with the half round wire, securing the bail wires tightly to the assembly.
Step 14: Below the wrap, bend the wires out, away from the wraps, at a 90° angle. Evenly trim the bail wire ends below the wrap to a scant ¼”. Step 15: Remove the painters tape from the coin. Use your round nose pliers to make bends in the top wire close to each wrap on the back of the coin. Notice that the tips of the pliers are spread a bit. Turn the assembly over and repeat the process on the front. Note: Be extremely careful to not scratch your coin. Once you make a bend, you really can’t go back and fix it, so go slowly and be patient.
Step 16: Use your chain or round nose pliers to make a small curl in each short cut wire toward the coin.
Step 17: The wrap wires should now be tightened and secured to either side of the wrap. They can be cut a bit long and spiraled or cut to fit. Pull the original wire from the hook under the bent up wires on the back of the bail and to the side, pulling tight. Tighten the wire ends down with flat nose pliers. Step 18: If using 5 wires: Bend the two center side wires out at a 90° angle. Trim each to about 1/8”. Bend each wire down close to wire wrap.
Step 19: Pull the front two wires forward and twist the remaining two wires in the same manner as the wires in Step 11.
Step 20: Trim the front 4 wires to the same length.
Step 21: Wrap each twisted wire outward around a 3/8” dowel. Use the tip of a round nose pliers to finish the curl, making a loose spiral. Not shown: Pull the spirals together and slightly down over the top edge of the coin (see bottom right photo).
Step 22: Wrap each untwisted wire outward around a 3/8” dowel. Use the tip of a round nose pliers to finish the curl, making a loose spiral, mirroring the spiral on the untwisted wire behind it.
Step 23: Make adjustments in the spirals so that they sit on top of each other and mirror each other. Your coin pendant is finished!