Monday, May 9, 2011


This mini tutorial will demonstrate how to make a whimsical, person pendant. The finished size is about 2 1/2 inches. You can attach a bail at the hand, run a ribbon or beads through the head or turn the hand to use it as a bail. You can add jewelry to it, add layers of beads for hair, make it smaller of larger and pose it any number of ways. Express yourself!

These cute people pendants are done by many people in many different ways. This is my way. I don't know if anyone else does them like this, I haven't seen them, anyway, so if I have stepped on anyone's toes, please do let me know.  

As most of you know, I make and sell jewelry tutorials at One thing I can't really do there is offer free mini tutorials. I plan to offer a few here. I can't offer full blown tutorials here, though. UPDATE 5-21-17: I have a new blog and website where I can do much more than I can here. Check it out!

This tute will have a minimum of instruction and is intended for people who already have some wire wrapping experience. You need to know how to coil.

You will need all of your standard tools and a round mandrel of just about anything solid that is about 1 1/2 to 1 5/8 inches around.(I use the 42mm circle on my Fiskars mandrel. Sizes larger will require more wire.)
You will need about
about 20" of 18g soft copper wire
about 28" of 24g soft copper wire
Use your own choice of beads and wire to finish the hair. I do not include instructions for hair in this mini tute. Just wrap the beads around the head.


Make the wraps for the arms and the hips as tight as you can or they will wobble and be too loose. That isn't such a bad thing, if you like it, though.

Check out this site for some anatomical drawing tips. These are supposed to be caricatures, but if you need some guidance, I think the link will help.

I wrap the hips front to back AND back to front, it doesn't matter to me. I like them both. The 2 outside people in the group shot (above) are wrapped to the back. The instructions are for the wrap in the back.

In this tutorial, I wrapped the hips twice- THREE TIMES IS BETTER! I've done it both ways, but for your first, 3 will be better.

Try hammering the arms and legs. The straight leg person in the group shot has hammered legs. The person found here is fully hammered. Also, try coiling the arms and legs. :)

When ending a coil, remember to turn under the very tip and tuck the tip between the two torso wires with the tip of your pliers, unless you are binding it in at the head.

Remember to file the ends and remove your marks, if you aren't going to tumble your work.

Ok, Let's do some wrapping!

Begin by neatly placing tape around the right size round mandrel.
Place the tape in the middle of a 7" 18g soft wire and place marks at both ends.

Use 20" 24g to coil from one mark to the next leaving a small gap before each mark. Leave a tail on the starting end of the 24g about an inch long. Don't cut the 24g, yet.
Wrap the coiled wire around the mandrel. It should not meet exactly. You need room to bend the thick wires so that they will sit side by side.
Bend at the marks until the 2 18g wires are side by side.
Slide the tail wire end down to the bend. Use the long end of wire to coil any gap that is left on the other side of the circle. 
Bring the tail down between the 2 18g wires. Using the working end of wire, bind it down with 4 binds. Cut the tail and bind 3 more binds.
This is the back side. Cut the 24g close to the 18g and bend the very tip so that it can be tucked in to sit between the wires. 
Fold a 6" piece of 18g in half. Make a tight "U" that an 18g will fit in.
With the front facing you and the head to the right, insert wire from the top. Snug it up against the coils and squeeze hard. Bring the bottom wire up across the top. Tighten and squeeze hard. Gently pull arms up.
With 8" 24g wire, make about 15 binds. Snug it up against the arms. Finish ends on the back by tucking ends between wires as you did before.
On the back, place a mark about 1/4" down from coils. (Notice the coil end tucked between the wires.)
Make a tight bend to the back. Make sure a 7" 18g wire will fit snugly in the bend. I used flat nose to make an even bend and then used round nose to adjust the roundness of the bend.
Bring the torso wires around the middle of the  7" leg wire. Make sure this is tight and snug. Adjust as much as you need to and squeeze real hard. These are the hips.
Make another turn. Adjust, tighten and squeeze as before, so that this is neat and secure. I finished this with 2 wraps, it would be better to do 3, especially if it is to be a female form. Cut off on the back and file if necessary.
With the a small tip plier, make 90 degree turns for the thighs from the hip. Make marks on the limbs. Use about 5/8" for the legs and 1/2" for the arms. You can vary these measurements for different personalities.
Make sharp bends at the marks. Do it any way you like. Give the torso a bend to add movement and character, too.
For the hands, I used a round nose and brought the wire up and over. For the feet, I used flat nose and brought the wire down and across.
"Walk Like an Egyptian"

"Dance With Me"

Do let me know what you think of this tute. Any feedback will help with future mini tutorials. 


  1. What wonderfully clear photos and instructions. Thank you. I reckon my daughter would love this.

    I think you should put this as a free tut on JL because it is such a good example of your style of tutorial (writing and photos). I think it would encourage people to go ahead and buy a paid tutorial knowing that they would get a good quality product.

    Anyway, thank you again for sharing.
    Kristin :)

  2. Tela, Thank you so much for posting this tutorial! I haven't tried it yet but in reading through, it looks well written and easy to follow. I didn't realize you had a blog so look forward to following!

  3. Thanks, Kristin!

    This is the first time I have used my light tent for a tute. Wish I had it for my other tutes! The pictures are good, but not as good as these are with the tent.

    I wonder if this is acceptable at JL? It isn't really a full blown tute to me. Full blown would include more instruction on the minutia.

  4. Hi Christine, glad to see you here! Yes, I just started this blog. I'll be doing a little bit of everything with it. I think it is a better format for expounding on a few things, too. I don't want to be a hog for space at JL.

    Thanks for visiting and for commenting. :)

  5. Well, I think it would make a great free tutorial on JL because it stands out as something a bit different.

    Your explanation at the beginning about the level of expertise and type of skills the user needs should help them work out whether its suitable for them or not. Even if they do download it and think it's a bit too hard for them, then it might encourage them to learn the appropriate skills and come back to your tutorial later.

    Anyway, these little chaps make me smile so much!
    Kristin :)

  6. Thanks for your input, Kristen. I would need to write this up in a tute format for JL. I think I'll put it on my list of things to do. :)

  7. Thank you for this tutorial! You made it very good. The pictures are clear and the step by step are easy to follow. Looking forward for next mini tutorial!!!!

  8. I'm glad you like it! Make something fun :)

  9. These wire people are awesome :)!

  10. I just discovered JL and found you when I saw this in the gallery there. This is the most exciting tut I've seen in a long while. Your sense of humor and whimsy is so refreshing. I love wire work - looks like I'd better get busy with this. I turned it into a .pdf so it can play on my eReader. Many thanks for sharing this.

  11. Thanks, Jaana! They were a nice break from the serious jewelry.

  12. Martha, thanks! That's cool you could turn it into a pdf. :)

  13. These are just too cute and cool. I can see so many possiblilities including the wire I have that is way to thick for me to do anything with. I might be able to make these and use them to decorate a show table. Think in terms of a foot high. lol
    It's great that you added a discussion group for the tutorial over at which is how I found your blog and tut.
    Great work. I look forward to reading more of your blog. You can copy this blog if you want and post it to your blog at Copper Wire Jewelers too if you like and get some interest from the members there. It'll be a good link to the JL site for you. Let me know if you need any help with that.

  14. Oh, gosh, just a though on the show table size, they could hold signs....

  15. Hi Lois! I'm so honored to see you here and thank you for doing so much for copper jewelry at !!

    Yes, I have thought of a whole bunch of uses for these guys. I want to make some fridge magnets to start. They were my inspiration for these to start with.

    If you use heavy wire, don't hurt yourself wrapping the hips! They can be hard to manage with heavy wire, I think.

    Have fun!

  16. Oh I can't wait to try these!!!!! Thank you for this mini tutorial!!!

  17. You're welcome, Judy! I hope you have fun with it. :)

  18. Blogged and tweeted! Love love your whimsey people and all of your creations...found you on Copper Wire Jewelers! Good luck to you!

  19. Hi Anita, glad you found your way over here. Thank you for spreading the word :)

  20. Thank you so much Tela, the tutorial is excellent, clear instructions and super pictures!!

  21. Thank you for the feedback, Rita!

  22. Tela, nice clear tut, wonderful photos. I am anxious to try them, they look fun! Thanks for sharing:)

  23. I should tell you I am a member of Copper Wire Jeweler's too:)
    Nancy Pace

  24. Hi Nancy! Yes, I have seen your gorgeous work and your great blog. Thank you for the feedback and I'm glad you like the tute :)

  25. These little wire people are adorable. Can wait to try them out. Thank you for sharing your wonderful tutorial.

  26. Thank you for this.... I had a go but didn't measure the thin wire correctly so I had to add bits to the head, I used the tails to make a bow and turned it into a girl one.. Quite pleased with it for my first go.. Well done on a really well written tutorial.

  27. have been looking for a pattern like this for ages...thank you very much for sharing

  28. Thank-you for the tute! Great instructions & pics!!!

  29. WOW!!! How cute these people are. I just found the site and can't wait to get my hands on some wire to try making some of these people.
    Great instructions and pictures so we can follow along.

  30. Thank you, this is exactly what I was looking for. Never attempted a wire project before, but have I have a gift to make and this tutorial will make it possible!

  31. Great Tutorial!! I am gonna have to make some of these.

  32. I just finished making my first wire person and I love it! I found all instructions and pics. Extremely easy to follow. Want to say thank you....

  33. I can't wait to get started.. Thanks




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