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Bead Wraps - Cages

Free instructions for making a "Cage" out of jewelry wire and beads.


A "Cage" is a wire pattern around a bead.  The pattern is based upon spiraled wire wrapped around a bead held on either a head pin as shown at right or around a wire similar to a wrapped bead link.   

Cage for a bead made out of jewelry wire    
Cage Over 6mm bead



These earrings are a quick jewelry making project and are rather unique.  The finished product emphasizes the cage and the wire and de-emphasizes the beads themselves.  



Jewelry Supplies:

Cages Earrings jewelry making project made with jewelry wire and beads  Cages Earrings jewelry making project made with jewelry wire and beads
Cage Earrings 2 views

Jewelry Tools Required:

  • 18 inches of 20G soft gold-filled wire
  • Two 2" gold-filled head pins
  • Two 6 mm crystal beads
  • Two 2 or 2.5 mm round gold-filled beads
  • Round Nose Pliers
  • Flush Cutter
  • Chain Nose or Bent Chain Nose Pliers (2)
  • Any WigJig acrylic jig
  • Spiral Maker for jig
  • 2 metal pegs and one 1/4 or 5/8" Super Peg
  • 30 minutes of free time

Jewelry Making Skills Required:

  • Use of a WigJig and Spiral Maker to make a spiral.
  • Ability to combine two spirals on one piece of wire into a "Cage". 
  • Ability to make an ear wire using WigJig, metal pegs and Super Pegs


Step 1:  Cut and straighten a piece of 20G soft wire 5" long.

Step 2:  Using the WigJig Spiral Maker, make a spiral in 1/2 of this wire.  When the spiral is completed there should be a wire tail 21/2 inches long. The spiral will appear as shown at right (the center wire tail of the spiral is pointing away from the camera in this picture.)  Instructions for making a spiral with the WigJig Spiral Maker can be found here. 

Spirals made out of jewelry wire    
Step 2 Spirals





Step 3:  Now make another spiral with the wire tail.  When making this spiral, the center wire of the spiral should point in the opposite direction from the first spiral and the spiral should spiral in from the end in the opposite direction of the first spiral (if the first one is clockwise, then the second is counter-clockwise).  When completed the two spirals should appear as shown at right. 

Instructions for making a cage for a bead out of jewelry wire.
Step 3 Top View
 Step 3 for instructions for making a cage for a bead out of jewelry wire.
 Step 3 Side View



Step 4:  Now, by hand, continue wrapping the smaller of the two spirals until it completely overlaps the other spiral.  The two spirals should be flat like two pancakes stacked one on top of the other, with the center wires pointed in opposite directions.  The picture at right shows how this should appear.

Step 4 to free instructions for making a cage for a bead out of jewelry wire
Step 4 Overlapping Spirals



Step 5:  At this point you can easily see the advantages of using the WigJig Spiral Maker to make this cage.  The two center wire tails become natural handles to pull the cage apart, making a figure as near to a sphere as possible.  Try to space the wire loops evenly. 


Step 5 to instructions for making a cage for a bead out of jewlery wire
Step 5 Pull Apart Cage


Step 6:  Now we need to open the cage so that we can put a bead in the center of the cage.  This is done by hand, pulling apart two sides of the cage as shown at left. 

Step 7:  At this point we need to cut the wire tails off using our flush cutter.  This leaves us with an open clamshell of wire. 

Step 8:  In the center of the clamshell place a 6mm bead.  Thread a 2 or 2.5mm metal bead onto a 2" head-pin and thread the headpin into the hole of the 6mm bead. 



Step 9:  Now close the cage by hand and thread the head-pin completely through the 6mm bead and the opposite center of the cage. 

Step 6 to instructions for making a cage for a bead out of jewlery wire

Step 6 Open Cage

Finished jewelry wire cage for a bead  

 Step 9 Finished Cage


Step 10:  To finish this earring, attach the head-pin to the ear wire with a wrapped loop.  For this earring I made the ear wire using a pattern like the one here.  The steps for making the wrapped loop are also shown here.  The finished earring is shown at right. 

Finished Cages Earrings jewelry making project made using WigJig jewelry tools,
Step 10 Finished Earring




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