Wednesday, 29 February 2012

How to: Make a Tree of Life Pendant

I have made a Tree of Life Pendant and taken step by step photos so you can make one too! As I mentioned in a previous post that there are lots of variations. This is one of many and it's fun to experiment with the different ideas and techniques.

Here's what you'll be making! I made an oval frame and attached seed beads. Its about and inch and a half long. You can make whatever shape or size you want in any colour.
You will need:
  • Pliers - you will definitely need wire cutters, round nose pliers and flat nose pliers, bent nose or chain nose pliers are handy too.
  • A mandrel - this is to make your frame. You can use anything around the house of the desired shape and size. I sometimes use a shot glass for the shape for a large pendant.
  • Wire - for the frame I recommend 0.8 (20 gauge), 0.9 (19) or 1.0mm (18) wire for bigger frames I'd even use 1.2mm (16). I'm using 0.9mm.
  • Wire - for the tree I used 0.6mm or 22 gauge. I wouldn't recommend any thicker wire because it gets a bit tough to wrap. If you would like a more intricate tree use 0.4mm (26).
  • Optional - Beads, you can add beads for interest or leave the branches bare.
  • Optional but recommended - If you can, a jewellers hammer and steel block to hammer and strengthen the frame. I know a lot of people don't have this so you just need to be a bit more careful not to distort the frame, you can always use a stronger or thicker wire as a precaution.

Step One
Make the frame.Take your mandrel or household object and, working from the spool of 19 gauge wire, wrap the wire around the mandrel just more than one full wrap around. If you know how to make a frame skip to step five.
Step Two
Make a little loop at the top of the frame with the end of the wire using your round nose pliers.
Step Three
Wrap the other and of the wire around the base of the loop you just made. Make sure not to distort the frame at this point, it's easier to hold the frame with your flat nose pliers. I wrap it around once or twice then cut the end as close the frame as you can and flatten the end down with your bent nose pliers.
Step Four
Next I hammer the frame (not the loop).
This is an optional step but it gives the frame strength so there is less chance you will distort it when making the tree.
Step Five
I take the 22 gauge wire and 6 cut lengths approximately 3 times longer than the diameter of the frame and bend them in half. You can use more pieces of wire, it just means you'll have more branches and a thicker trunk. I chose to have 6 pieces because my frame is quite small, larger frames look better with more branches.
Step Six
Wrap each piece around the bottom of the frame. as you can see I wrapped it around three times, in other variations I have wrapped it more times, but not less than three. If you want a wider base for your tree roots then wrap more.
Step Seven
Wrap all the pieces onto the bottom of the frame. Easy! Once this bit is done the fun begins and you really see the tree come to life!
Step Eight
Flip the wires so they are pointing up and twist the bunch of wires together, not too tight and only twist it about 360 degrees. See? It's starting to look like a tree. Yay!
Step Nine
Split the bunch of wires into two equal groups. Twist those together and split it again in to two more groups so you have four branches. Go with the flow at this point, twist the branches in the direction they want to go.
Step Ten
Twist each branch until you are left with single strands of wire.
This is the point where you decide whether you would like to add 'leaves' to your tree or not.
Step Eleven
Thread your beads onto the ends of the wire and wrap the ends around the frame. Be careful with the ends of the wire. I managed to stab myself with the end of the wire, if you can, I recommend filing the ends. Warning: Do not look at the following photo if you don't like blood. :)
James is smirking in the background, :(
Step Twelve
Once you've done that you'll have something similar, hopefully. All that is left is to cut the ends of the wire, or if your ends are long enough (and you didn't add beads) you can wrap once and then make a little swirl and squish it flat to the frame. (See last photos in post)
 This is the final product, I'd love to see your version if you give this a go. I hope you find this tutorial easy to follow. As I have said a few times throughout this post - there are so many possibilities all you need to do is google image "tree of life pendant" to see just how many variations you can achieve.

There is also this method on youtube - click here. This technique starts with the branches and finishes at the roots, I personally prefer my method but have a look anyway if you're interested it may just work for you.

Here are some of the other trees I have made.
 I gave this one to my mum for Christmas, it just shouts her personality and she was thrilled. As you can see I made the little spirals that I mentioned before and I added a 'moon' which I attached to one of the branches.
I was commissioned this silver tree, I am very happy with this one. I wish I had taken a better photo.

This is the first tutorial I have written so I hope you like. Maybe next time I'll give a video tutorial a try. :)

Bye For Now!
~Chloe Louise

P.S Please see my Etsy shop for my other work
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  1. great tutorial :) I have been thinking of trying my hand at making one of these. Thanks for sharing :)

  2. Chloe - I love the use of the colored wire. It really adds a lot to the tree.

    Great job!

    1. Thank you, I have to admit it's my personal favourite. ;)

  3. WOW! A very detailed tutorial! And, your "trees" are beautiful! I especially love your silver tree with the swirls!

  4. you spent a lot of time on this, thank you! your trees are just gorgeous!

  5. What a great tutorial, beautiful pendant
    I have recently purchased wire jewelry supplies and perhaps one day I may actually get to try it
    thanks for sharing, kisses for your booboo (after you washed away the blood)

    1. Aw thanks, my booboo is better now :) I really find it so fun making jewelry, I hope you do try it too.

  6. That is so awesome! I could never do that, I need to stick to computer graphics.
    I love James! How great

    1. I am sure you could! I tried digital art a while ago but it didn't work for me, I enjoyed it but was never inspired and never finished anything it did start. lol. My boyfriend gave me a weird look when he saw I had to include him in my tutorial hehe.x

  7. Unique Cozy Treasures - Cool! Thanks for the lesson.