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


Monday, 6 May 2013

CAT Project

PHEW!! Have I worked hard!  Don't you find, that it
is sometimes the simplest of projects that cause the most
trouble and take the longest to make!
I promised you a CAT TUTORIAL, following
the publication of my OWL project in MAKE JEWELLERY
magazine Issue 50.

Tu-whit ... tu-whooooo! And having done a quick doodle of one,
I reckoned it would be a 'no brainer'!

(Above: quick wire doodle of Kitty)

But, ... "meow! Was I wrong!' 
So, at first, I had a few attempts at different variations ...

(Above: Experiment for a Cheshire style cat!)

(Above: Another experiment using twisted wire frame!)

(Above: is my 'Cheshire Cat'and this is also when my scanner started playing up!)

Not only did I have problems getting the design right,
my scanner also started to play up ... and eventually, gave 
up working and broke down altogether!  So, I ended up 
having to purchase a new one and then it took me a while to 
get the hang of the set up! And I'm still learning!!
(It's just as well you don't get any sound with this blog ... 
just vision! ... because the air was 'purple' at one point!)

But, I don't like being defeated by inanimate objects, so
I persevered and the following:  
"POODIKAT Project"
was born...
(the emphasis most definitely being on the first 3 letters
of its name!)  and this is the result of my endeavours


 1.  Cut 12" of 0.8mm
copper, silver or gold
wire. (Use more for
a fatter cat!)

Place a circular
mandrel (about
3/4" diameter)
and bend a curve
into the wire
approx. 3"
from one

2.  Place the
tips of your
nosed pliers
on each side
of the curved
area and
bend the
wire back
down in the
direction, to
form the 'ears'.

3.  Position
a larger round
mandrel against
the curve bet-
ween the 'ears',
(I used the
head of my
and push the
extending wires
around the circu-
lar shape to form
the 'body'.

4.  Secure
the short end
around the
base of the
outer frame
and cut off
any excess.

5.  Loop the extending wire back around to form the
'tail' and secure around the base of the frame ...
leaving enough wire ...

6. ... to make a small tight spiral, which can flipped over 
the wrapped wires underneath to hide them.

7.  Once you've adjusted your frame and you're happy
with it, give it a little tap with your hammer on a
steel block, to work harden.

8.  To make the EYES: Cut approximately 6" of
0.8mm wire.  Thread the 'eye' beads onto it and
using your round nosed pliers, curl a curve into the
ends of the wire.  Push your beads into these curves
and begin spiralling the rest of the wire around them.

9.  Look at your cat frame to check the width required
for the eye unit to fit in place and holding the centre of
the wire between the eye beads, with the tips of your chain
nosed pliers, push the beads up and in towards
each other, as shown above. Put aside for later ...

10.  To create the 'nose & whiskers',  cut a 6" plus 3 x 2.5"
lengths of 0.4mm wire and thread them all through the
chosen 'nose' bead, so that the bead is situated at the centre of
all the wires.

11.  Take each projecting ends of the longest, 6" wire
and wrap this tightly around each side of the bead.
This will ensure that the bead remains at the centre of
the 'whisker' wires.

12.  Now you are ready to join the 'nose & whiskers'
to the 'eyes'! Secure to the centre of the eye unit by
tightly wrapping the extending whisker wires to the
centre of the frame.

13.  Cut 4 short (about 2") lengths of 0.4mm wire and
use one of these to secure the top of one of the sides
of the eye frame to the outer body frame.  Cut off any
excess and neaten the ends.

14.  Use the remaining 3 lengths of 0.4mm to bind and secure
the side of the eye unit to the frame and repeat for the opposite

15.  WHISKERS:  Straighten and fan out the projecting whisker
wires and wrap the ends around the outer frame.  (You could
leave them loose and just curl the ends, but if it is going to be
a necklace, or worn as a piece of jewellery, the fine ends could catch
onto clothing! Therefore, this extra bit of binding will make the
piece more practical for wear!).

16.  I secured the last whisker (bottom right) around the tail as well
to keep it in place and to stabilise the frame!

It is now ready to
suspend from a
chain, or, you could
suspend from a
Brooch Kilt Pin ...
Secure to a Greeting
card or suspend from
a Bookmark ...

To give it a little more character, place small
dots for the eyes, using a permanent marker
pen! (It looks completely mad when you
spin the beads around!!)


To create a variation, you can twist the longer wires from Step 12
just under the nose bead and curve them back around towards
the eyes ...  
Create some thin even coils (around the tips of your round nosed pliers, 
or by using the thin handle of your Curling Gizmo) ...
... and thread them onto the curved wires, securing
them on each side of the cat frame.
Sorry about the quality of the images ... but I am still learning
to use my new scanner!!

Have fun playing with this idea to make more Cats, Mice, Rabbits, 
Hares ... the list could extend!

However, I'm going back to my OWLS, which you will find full instructions
for in Make Jewellery Magazine, Issue 50 on Pages 57-58!

Owl Necklaces

Owl Brooches

Please DO share your
efforts on Facebook!
... in the meantime ... I must go and lie down!