Thursday, January 5, 2012

Guest Post from Lisa's Craft Blog

Hi there!! I'm the author of Lisa's Craft Blog and I bet you can guess my name!! hehehe  I just adore Megan and her awesome blog so I'm super excited to be guest posting here at Polish the Stars!!

Right now I'm excited to be celebrating the Grand Re-Launch of Lisa's Craft Blog!! I'm even having a great big Giveaway where I'm giving away a total of $175 in craft supplies!!  You should stop by Lisa's Craft Blog and enter and also take a look around at all of my inexpensive, crafty tutorials!!

Today, I'm sharing how to make the infamous Wire-Wrapped Tree of Life!!  This particular tutorial is for an ornament version, but at the end I'll explain how to use this same tutorial to make a pendant instead.

*6mm beads and smaller, including seed beads (see next image)
*A 4-inch metal ring
*Two (2) pairs of needle nose pliers
*A pair of wire cutting pliers
*Twelve (12) 12-inch strands of 24-gauge wire
Note: You can find 4" metal rings in the leather department of most craft stores.  They're typically used to make dream catchers.

This photo shows the variety of beads used for this particular ornament, including the following: 4mm pearls, 4mm glass rectangle beads, 2 sizes of seed beads, 4mm crystals, 6mm & 4mm faceted glass rounds, and 6mm shaped glass beads.

Take one strand of the wire and thread it through the wire ring, making sure the 2 sides are even. Wrap each side around the ring twice for a total of four coils. Make sure they are pulled tight around the ring.
Repeat this process with the remaining 11 wires. Pull all wires to one side of the ring and verify the coils are nice and tight and close together.

Start on one side of the wires and begin braiding the first 3 strands. You'll want to create a braid that is approximately 1-inch. Once braided, flip up and move on to the next 3 strands. Continue doing this until all wires have been braided. You should end up with 8 braids.
Gather the braids as shown in this photo and begin to twist them together.

Twist up a little ways until you're ready to separate your first branch. Take 2-4 strands, depending on how thick you want this branch to be, and separate it from the group of wires.
Repeat this process until you have the beginnings of a tree with many branches and all of your wires have been used. Personally, I like to split my tree in two at some point and then separate the branches again.
Now twist these branches, just like you did the big group of wires, but don't twist them to the ring...yet. You'll want to also start breaking your larger branches into smaller ones. See the picture for ideas on how to break down branches. This is when you'll need to twist the branches to within about 1/4"-1/2" from the ring.
Separate the individual wires and make sure they are some-what distributed evenly around the ring.
Important: If you've twisted the wires too far and the "branches" are too long, do not un-twist them! They will probably break later on! Instead put bends in the branches; this use more wire and pull them towards the center of the ring. (see the final image to see how I did this.)

Add a bead or beads to the first wire next to the roots. Wrap the wire around the ring once (see image).
Add another bead to this wire. Wrap again and add another bead. This is to cover the ring from view and make it appear to just be beads. Finish this branch by wrapping it around the ring 3 times, clip off the excess, and pinch tight with pliers.
Repeat this process for the remaining wires on this branch. Push the finished section tight against the roots. This will make room for the rest of your branches.
Do the same thing on the other side of the roots. Continue repeating this process, changing sides after each branch.
Continue adding beads to the rest of your branches and remember to push them tight against the roots. The last couple branches will be the most difficult because you'll be running out of room on your ring, but this is good because you'll have a nice full tree.

If you need to make a smaller Tree of Life for a pendant or even a tiny one for earrings, you'll simply want to use a smaller ring and also decrease the number of wires used. Just remember, you'll always want to have a multiple of three (3, 6, 9...) because you'll be braiding the roots of the tree.

If you'd like to add charms to your tree, just add them while your twisting the branches or before you add beads to the branch, depending on where you want the charm to hang.

Thanks for reading!!  Until next time...

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Tracy said...


ldcattell said...

Wow awesome ornament! Looks a little complicated, but you gave such good instructions I think I'll give it a try!

lisbonlioness said...

Oh, come ON! Seriously, I am NOT happy. Now I will have to go and buy some decent wire, because there ain't no way I can give this project a miss. You should be ashamed of yourself, Lisa, because I had this firm resolution of NOT buying any more supplies in the foreseeable future. Then again... I DO have the beads and pliers, so it really is an investment to make sure I get to use up excess stock, so to speak. Right? *coughs and watches tumbleweed quietly rolling past*

marissa said...

this is gorgeous!

KAT said...

I love the look of this wow very nice