Vial Necklace Learn How to Make Them,
Great project for your most precious items!
Call these vial potion bottles, perfume pendants, or "wish bottles." These vial necklace can be used as perfume diffusers, treasure keepers, vial lockets, prayer holders, fairy dust necklace, or tear catchers. Whatever you decide to do with them, here is how I make a basic wire-wrapped vial necklace, like those sold at Monkeyshines Beadery.
Tools and Materials
Tools needed are round-tipped needle-nosed pliers and wire cutters. These two tools may be purchased for about $6 each at craft stores. You need the cutters to cut your wire, and you need round-tipped pliers instead of regular pliers so that no marks are left on your wire. Pliers with grooves or teeth will chew up your wire while you work with it, and it won't look nice.
However, I find that the craft store variety of jewelry-making tools are inferior for long-term use. I, personally, have invested in a 5-inch combination side cutters and round nose pliers tool made in Germany. It saves me a lot of time because I don't have to switch tools every time I want to cut the wire. And, so far, it has given me excellent service for 2 years (which is more than I can say for the cheap craft store tools). However, this tool can cost $35 or more, and must be purchased from wholesale suppliers or specialty bead stores.
Materials needed are one patent-lip glass vial with cork stopper, wire, bead and charm. I've purchased my glass vials at PILOTVIALS or on eBay. PilotVials includes corks for free with each vial. Sellers on eBay do not, in most cases with the vial. Corks can be purchased separately at craft stores or eBay. I recommend patent-lip vial because there needs to be a lip on the vial and a recessed area (illustrated by arrows), to keep the wire from coming off the necklace. The vial shown at left is 1-1/2 inches tall with cork, and 5/8-inch wide. Also known as a 1/2-dram vial because it holds a 1/2 dram of liquid. I have seen this type of vial in a slightly taller, more narrow shape, which works just as well, as long as it has the lip around the top for the necklace.
I use 20-gauge silver-plated copper-core European round wire, which I purchase from a wholesale supplier. However, any 20-gauge wire will do. Craft stores may sell colored wire, sterling silver wire, brass wire and other types of wire in the jewelry/bead aisle. Non-tarnishing floral wire (in the floral department) works well, too. I've seen spools of wire sold at bead stores, but beware of higher prices. During my jewelry classes, I sell my silver-plated European round wire in coils of about 20 feet for $3 a coil. Plain basemetal jewelry wire and floral wire should come in much greater lengths for less money, or you're paying too much. Make sure to get the correct gauge of wire - and make sure it is not "soft." It should be hard, half-hard or tempered. Wire which is too soft or too thin will not hold it's shape on the vial. Wire which is too hard or too thick will be difficult to work with.
Start with a piece of 6.5-inch wire. About 1-1/2 inches from one end, make a small loop using your pliers.
Using your bare hands, wrap the wire around the recess in the vial, below the patent lip. The picture at left illustrates what this should look like, if you were looking down toward the cork from the top of the vial (for visual purposes, the vial is left out of this picture).
With the wire wrapped around the vial necklace, pinch larger loop between the thumb and forefinger of your left hand, so that the smaller loop is pointing left and the wire is being pinched tightly against the necklace glass. Directly opposite from the small loop, grasp and bend the shorter end of the wire to a right-angle. Again, for visual purposes, the bottle is left out of this picture. But for the next step, it may be helpful to remove the wire from the bottle. Do this carefully so as not to lose the basic shape shown at left.
Using your pliers, bend the shorter end of the wire into a teardrop-shaped loop. If you have too much wire, trim a little with your wire cutters. The loop should be 3/8-inch long. Too short a loop and it won't give you enough room to finish it off. A slightly longer loop should be alright. Just make sure that the loop is teardrop shaped, and that the point of the "teardrop" is pinched together. If the rounded part of the "teardrop" is not large enough, you won't be able to get your string, cord or chain through it
Put the wire carefully back on your vial, in the recess below the lip, and pinch it against the glass as mentioned, previously. This is very important, because you want the wire to be tight, or else your vial will slip out. Using your right hand, (no tools), begin wrapping the long end of your wire to make a tight coil around the base of the "teardrop" loop. This may be tricky the first few times, but try to get it coiled as tightly together as possible. This is also where is it important to have a narrow "teardrop" with the pointed end pinched together.
Using the wire cutters, cut the excess wire off when you are done coiling. It might seem to make more sense to start with a shorter wire, so you're not cutting any off of the end, but it is easier to coil the wire when you have some excess. Trust me. We can use the trimmed piece (you should have cut off about 2 to 2-1/2 inches) for attaching the bead and charm.You should bend the "teardrop" and coil up slightly, toward the cork, so that your bottle will hang properly when worn (note picture of finished necklaces, below). This can be done with the bare fingers, or with the pliers. Also, the "teardrop" hanging loop, or bail, should be twisted slightly so that the cord will go through it from side to side (rather than up and down). This probably doesn't make sense to you, unless you are actively making the vial necklace right now and can see what I'm talking about. Grasp the "teardrop" loop just above the coil between the prongs of your pliers, using the thicker base of your prongs, not the small tips at the end. Then twist the loop (and/or vial, too) just slightly. BE CAREFUL NOT TO TWIST IN THE WRONG DIRECTION. You should be twisting WITH the coil, not against it. If you twist the wrong way, the wire will become loose from the vial recess. If you twist the correct direction, it will actually tighten. This is also a way to tighten loose wire - you can give it an additional half turn if you need it even tighter. Try not to twist too much, though, as you can break the wire.
Using that extra 2-inch bit of wire, make a loop in one end with your pliers. Add your bead, trim excess wire, and make a loop in the other end. Put your charm at one end of the bead, and use the other end to attach it to the necklace bottle.
If you want just a charm (and no bead) for your vial necklace, use a jump ring to attach the charm directly to the small wire loop. Or you can turn a bead into a charm by using a headpin and looping one end with your pliers (which is what I did with the vial necklace at right). Thread cord, ribbon or a chain through your bail and your necklace is finished!
Now that you know the basic technique to make a vial necklace, you can experiment with other variations, including wrapping the wire in various patterns around the vial, or creating two loops to make a focal centerpiece necklace (below). Or pair it with a fairy bubble wand pendant and use it to hold bubble liquid!
These instruction for the necklace are courtesy of Jen Hilton Jewelry , thank you Jen!
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