HOME NEW Pearl Education Beading Q & A Tools Jewelry Tech Video Jewelry Glossary

Old-Fashioned Chain - Wire Work Tutorial

This tutorial teaches you the illustration step by step how to create old-fashioned chain. Hurry up coming here and enjoy it together.

Materials suggested:
Wire 1/2 hard - square or round - 1 1/16 inch straight wire per link - 3 links per inch finished chain. Almost any gauge wire can be used, just keep in mind the larger the gauge, the harder the links are to form, and the higher chance of your fingers falling off
1 clasp of your choice

Tools needed:
  • Ruler
  • Cleaning cloth
  • Round nose pliers
  • Chain nose pliers
  • Flush wire cutters
  • Permanent marker (Sharpie)

Step 1: 

Step 2: 

Using a permanent marker, place a mark on your round nose roughly 5 - 7mm from the tip. I prefer smaller loops, but not too small.

Step 3: 

The key to this technique is in how you hold your pliers. At first this will seem a little awkward, but will get easier with time. You start each turn with your palm facing UP! If you start with your palm down, as you would normally work, by the time you finish the turn, you will look and feel like you are trying to get into an impossible yoga position.

Hold your pliers in your dominant hand, and the link you are working on, on the index finger of your non-dominant hand.

Step 4:

Grab the wire with your pliers roughly 5/16” from the end of the wire, and hold it against your index finger. Don't forget - palm up.

Step 5: 

Turn your hand over - folding the wire – until the tip of the wire touches your finger, on the top-side of the wire.

Step 6: 

Turn the link around, so that the loop you just formed is at the top, and grab the free end of the wire again with your pliers, again 5/16" from the end of the wire. Don't forget: palm UP.

Step 7: 

Turn your hand over again - the same move as in step 5, this time stop when the tip of the wire touches your finger inside the first loop you formed.

Congratulations, you just completed your first link. Now you need to repeat steps 4 through 7 to form a fair amount of links (or your fingers fall off). Remember roughly 3 links form 1 inch of chain.

Step 8:

The second essential technique to a good-looking chain, is that all the links need to face in the same direction. Open one link with the first loop facing UP (the same position in which you made it).

Step 9: 

Slip a closed link on the opened loop.

Step 10:


Close the first link.

Step 11: 

Open the link you just added.

Step 12: 

Continue to repeat steps 8 through 11 until you've reached the desired length of chain.

Step 13: 

Add a clasp of your choice - either a standard one, or even a handmade one, and you're all set to show off that gorgeous handmade pendant you made, on a equally gorgeous handmade chain.

Step 14: TaDa :

This style of chain looks equally good in either round or square wire...

You can even add twisted wire links to your straight links to create your own version of a Figaro chain.