Wishing all you lovely wire enthusiasts a
healthy new beginning and a chance to create
and evolve with your craft in 2015!
To start the year, this OWL TUTORIAL
which I designed a few years ago for
Make and Sell Jewellery Magazine, seemed fun and
For centuries and throughout different cultures, owls have
been steeped in mysticism and symbolism.
In fact, in Western and Central Europe, during Medieval times,
it was fabled that owls were actually priestesses (witches) or wizards
in disguise and even to this day, they have an animal-spirit link and
bond to magic (have you read any of the Harry Potter books?!).
In the Middle and Far East, they have long been considered
sacred guardians of the afterlife and protector of souls...
The ancient Greeks stamped the symbol of the owl on their
coins, hence the association with wealth and prosperity
(as well as to wisdom). Native Americans also associated
them with wisdom and sacred knowledge and protector from
evil spirits and in West Africa and Aboriginal Australia, owls
are viewed as messengers of secrets and kin to medics and
To this day, we still associate the owl with wisdom and it is
often used as a symbol for education, as well as a graduation
So, what's not to like about the OWL!
Starting with the EYES: cut approximately 5" (12.5cm)
of 0.8mm/20-gauge wire. Thread a 6mm or 8mm bead
onto one end and using the widest part of your round nosed
pliers, form a curve at the very tip.
Push the bead into the curve and then press the wire around
the bead, using your flat nosed pliers.
Holding the wire in your flat nosed pliers, spiral it around
the bead until it is completely framed.
Repeat steps 1-3 on the opposite end of the wire, so that you
have both beads on either side, with a space of straight wire
Using the tips of your round nosed pliers, pinch the centre of
the straight wire (between the beads) bringing the beads
down on each side to create a 'V' shape. (This will later
become the beak).
Using your flat or chain nosed pliers, spiral the beads in
towards each other and spend a little time getting the
unit as symmetrical as possible. (*Optional: you can
Whammer the end of the beak to toughen and flatten it).
To create the BODY: cut approximately 8" (20cm) of
0.8mm/20-gauge wire and finding the centre, curve it
around a mandrel (about 1.5" diameter) to form a
Using the tips of your round nosed pliers, bend the
wires back down on each side of the curve, leaving
a curved area for the top of the 'head' with the 2 peaks
on each side for the 'ears'.
Place the central part of the unit (curved top of the 'head')
against a cylindrical mandrel of approx. 1" (2.5cm) -
I used the head of my Whammer! - and push the projecting
wires on each side around, to form the 'body' of the owl.
To create the WINGS; use the tips of your round nosed
pliers to hold the base of the curved wire on each side
of the 'body' and bend it back outwards (away from
each other and the frame), forming a lozenge shaped loop
on each side.
Secure the ends of the wires around the sides of the frame,
cutting off any excess wire and neaten the ends with the
tips of your chain nosed pliers.
cut approx. 5" (12.5cm) of 0.4mm/26-gauge wire
and thread this through any small gap at the base
of the 'eye' bead unit, binding it to the side of
the frame above the 'wings'.
Thread a selection of small beads to decorate and
fill in the 'wing' area using the remaining projecting
Repeat steps 12-13 for the opposite side of the frame
and once the 'wings' are decorated to your liking, cut
another small length of 0.4mm wire (say about 2.5"-
5cm) and use this to bind and secure the top part of
the 'eye' unit to the top of the frame. Cut off any excess
wire and neaten the ends.
Now, all your little owl decoration needs is a branch to
You can create this by cutting approx. 5" (12.5cm)
of 1mm wire and shape as desired using your pliers.
Hammer and flatten it with your Whammer and for extra
colour and decoration, you could also bind beads (flower
and leaf shapes) onto this base.
Bind the wing tips of the owl to a position on the branch
using 0.4mm wire.
Create this as a bag charm or key ring ornament, a pendant,
or brooch! (Alternatively, attach to a front of a card, or use
as an embellishment for the end of a bookmark!).
attached to the back of the 'eyes' using 0.4mm wire.
Alternatively, you can create a pendant brooch with
the owl suspended from a kilt pin finding.
You could even suspend them (from the 'ears')
to make fun, colourful pendant necklaces!
I hope this fun, little tutorial brings some wisdom,
and enlightenment to your wirework creativity in 2015!
P.S. You can catch me on
CREATE and CRAFT TV
with BEADS DIRECT on
January 24th at 3pm, where
I will have a regular slot this