Saturday, 18 May 2013


I promised you a FISH tutorial ... and glug, glug,
burp! Here it is!

I've been creating wire fish designs for years,
(you've been wondering what that smell was, haven't you?)
not only because of their elegance of shape
but also, their symbolic significance.  It really
doesn't matter what culture you come from ...
seemingly the fish (due to it association with
water and food) has been an emblem of birth,
fertility, eternity, creativity, good luck, femininity,
happiness, knowledge and transformation!
It's that ancient association that stemmed from
flood myths: "that from water, springs life"!  

The tutorial pattern, is different from my book
projects, but I've included lots of other images
to help inspire you to create your own style and
unique variation!

So all you need to get started is some 0.8mm and
0.4mm wire ... or thereabouts ... plus a 'eye' bead
and your usual wireworking tools.

(P.S. "What do you call a fish with no eyes?"
Ans.: "Fsh!".)
1.  Begin by cutting
approximately 8"
of 0.8mm (20-gauge) wire.
(The amount is obviously
dependent on the size
of fish you wish to make!)

About 3" from one end,
bend the wire back 
around to form a loop
with a pointed end.

2.  Place the tips of your chain nosed pliers
at the pointed end of the wire and create a wiggle
in the wire (for the fish's mouth).

3.  Form the BODY by bringing the wires together, 
making sure you've got a good oblong body shape
of about 2" in length and secure by wrapping the
shorter wire around the longer stem. Cut off any excess
and neaten the end.

4.  To form the triangular TAIL end: bend the longer wire 
back towards the fish and create undulating wiggles in the 
wire using your round nosed pliers. Secure back around, 
wrapping the wire over the original binding (in step 3).
Don't cut the projecting end off!

5.  Use whatever excess projecting wire you have left to 
create a tight spiral which you can flatten over the binding 
- hiding any mess underneath! 
*Optional: hammer the outer frame to work harden.

6.  To create the FINS: cut approximately 6" of 0.8mm
and secure as shown above - wrapping around the top
and bottom of the body frame.

7.  Use your chain nosed pliers to shape the top fin as you
wish ... creating a crimped edge ... and off any excess wire.

8.  Repeat for the bottom fin. Each fish you make will dictate
its own unique character and style!

9.  Once you're happy with the overall shape, give the fin edges 
a stroke-hammer-tap with your Whammer on a steel block -
and 'voila!' that's the fish frame complete ... ready for you to
embellish as you wish!

10.  The first thing to do is to add an eye bead.  For this, cut a good
long length (about 12") and bind to the side of the frame as shown

11.  Use the rest of the projecting thin wire to add beads ... OR ...
as in my case: create some 'bubbly wire' by making loops on
the wire wrapping it around your round nosed pliers first in
in one direction and then in the other ...

12.  Wrap this pre-formed 'bubbly wire' around the outer frame 
of the fish to fill in the body space cavity.

13.  Create some more lengths of 'bubbly wire' to cover
any gaps left - I've used some 0.5mm pink and purple ...

14.  Wrap first one colour over the base to fill up any
spaces or gaps ...

15. Continue wrapping with the second coloured wire
(purple) and if you want more coverage - just keep building
it up (or, add some tiny glitzy crystals or seed beads) to
incorporate a bit of fish scale sparkle!

16.  You can also decorate the tail by binding coloured wires
within it (just attach by lifting the spiral and securing 

17. Tweak and twist the tail wire bindings with the tips of 
your chain nosed pliers to add extra shape and movement and 
if you've create larger fins, you could fill them in too - 
just like the tail!

And there you have it! One completed wire fish than can be 
suspended from some hand forged 0.8mm bubble chain links 
for a necklace, or accessory decoration!

As I mentioned before, I have been 
creating wire fish designs for years,
and here a few old samples that I've dug 
for extra visual inspiration:

Above: These 2 fishy friends sit in a blue glass bottle
decorating my bathroom.  They are about 5"-6" long
and look bold and bright!

Above: This beaded version is a plant decoration and looks
fun on a windowsill or patio!

Above: Some jewellery design projects for summery beach wear!

Above: These earring 'frames' were first dipped in Fantasy
Film resin and then embellished with coloured wires!

Left: I love the
simplicity of this
design - where
the central unit
just dangles
within the frame!

Above: You'll find this project in my CELTIC book!

Above:  Even though I didn't make the beautiful lampworked
Fish bead - that was created by the very talented glass
artist: SARAH DOWNTON - I wanted to show you my
Bubble Chain, which always looks inkeeping for a fishy



  1. That's really kewl, Linda - I especially loved the idea of the fantasy film resin + wire - I love multi media stuff. Must see how I can incorporate those fishies into my designs. Maybe you could tell us how to use the fantasy film and wire - a thought for another tut, perhaps.
    Neena Shilvock

  2. Hi Neena - Many thanks for your kind words! You can make any wire framework and dip it in the Fantasy Film to coat it. It's quick and fun and the wire wrapping just adds another texture! :D

    1. Neena- you'll find the Dip It Fantasy Film works brilliantly for flower and leaf shapes ... I did a bit on it last year (2nd July post):

  3. Thank you so much for sharing this! I can't wait to try it out!

  4. This does look like so much fun. I will have to give it a try. Thanks for sharing.

  5. So much fun. where can I buy fantasy film?