|"Woodland Realm" Silk String Bundle from Marsha Neal Studio|
The first piece I ever sold on Etsy had 2mm Greek leather on it, and I faked up some coil ends on it--I had bought some simple, cheapie ones at the craft store and was trying to copy them. The only think I could think to do was wrap the wire around the ends of the leather and make a loop at the end, but it was really frustrating because the leather was kind of floppy.
It was so frustrating in fact, that I didn't use leather in my designs again for a couple years.
Later I discovered commercial crimp ends for sale, and used those on a few pieces.
|From Cool Tools PMC supply|
|With silver plated pewter crimp ends from Fusion Beads|
They look like this when they're attached and tightened up:
I like to use 16 gauge wire, as I prefer a chunky, substantial look (and I'm a little paranoid about things coming apart--I also add some adhesive, like GS Hypo Cement or PlioBond--Hypo Cement is clear so probably a little easier to use, PlioBond is more amber colored), and this gauge seems to work for most of what I do. The 16 gauge is not so heavy that it's hard to work with, and I can get the coils down to about 4mm inner diameter, which is the lower limit for most of what I do. If you wanted to do something with just, say, one strand of 2mm Greek leather, you could go down to 18 gauge and get a smaller coil that would still be sturdy enough. (You can always anneal too, if your hands are worn out and need a little extra help--some days the elbow grease just isn't there!)
For a 5mm (inner diameter) coil, I use the base of my round nose pliers.
Leaving the wire on the spool (you won't cut it until you're totally done), make a coil with three or four courses around. When you actually tighten it up around your cording the whole thing is going to get skinnier and longer and you'll end up with a couple extra courses around. (The longer the finished coil is, the greater the surface area you will have grabbing onto your cording and the more secure it will be.)
When you've got your coil completed, you'll need to bend the free end of the wire up to create the loop. I pull up on the free end a bit to create some space for me to slip my bent nose pliers in there:
Then I slide the tip of my bent nose pliers under there, and bend it straight up.
You can use the pliers as necessary to sharpen the bend a bit. (Again, anneal if you need to--the process of tightening it later will work harden it plenty so it won't open up on you.) Squeeze it together a bit again.
After you have your 90 degree angle, it's time to make your loop. I just pop my round nose pliers under there again, near the base, and just bend the wire right over the top.
Nip it off with your flush cutters just about even with the top rim.
Tuck the end just inside the edge of the coil, and hammer it a bit to strengthen it and give it a finished look. (Hammering is optional, I just like to hammer things.)
You might have to trim your loop a bit after hammering it, because that tends to make it a little longer. Once you have a feel for that you can trim it a little shorter right off the bat, so that hammering it will make it just the right length.
Make sure the loop goes straight over the top, transecting the coil right across the middle. Adjust as necessary with your pliers.
Of course, you can make these any size you like. I just eyeball the cording I'm using and guesstimate what inner diameter I need. It's totally fudge-able because you're going to squeeze it down tight anyway. That said, it's nice to get it as close to the right diameter as possible, because squeezing an oversized coil down is a pain in the butt. You can do it, but it's a lot more work, and of course the more you squeeze it, the tougher the wire gets and once your cording is in there you can't re-anneal.
Next time, we'll talk about actually putting it on your cording.