This is a picture-by-picture explanation of how I made the above wire and gemstone tree. Inspired by the flowering cherry trees with their big white flowers and subtle hints of pink, I designed this to be light and airy and full of bright spring energy.
Let’s start at the beginning with the copper hoop and a small selection of beads. The copper hoop was made by hammering a length of 12 gauge copper wire until it was flattened (somewhat) and hard. Hammering hardens the wire so it can keep its shape.
The square flat beads are moonstone. The faceted beads are all Swarovski rhinestone beads in various colors including:
– Fire Opal AB2X, Fuchsia AB2X, Light Rose AB2X, Province Lavender, and Rose Water Opal
– All Swarovski bicone beads in 3mm and 4mm sizes
The branches are made with 26 gauge brown wire, but copper wire works too. The wire for the branches should be about 4-1/2 times as long as the diameter of the hoop. I take a length of wire, measure out two hoop-lengths (plus some extra), bend the wire at the measured point and consider that this will be the center of the length of wire. Fold it back on itself and cut when you meet the tail end.
Join the branches together as you build down, alternating between branch designs to keep an organic feel. Eventually, they will all come together to form the trunk.
Add some shorter branches to the middle of the tree. They will keep the design from looking sparse. Here is one that I created, first by making a long loop of wire to decide how long the branch should be…
Then I added the stones and twisted the wire back on itself to form the branch.
Continue adding branches, joining them together and building down. The more variety you can include in the planning and architecture of your tree, the more organic the design will be.
If you notice an empty area, or if something isn’t coming together in a way you like, you can un-twist and un-join the branches and try again in a different way. This generally works once or twice. Any more redesigning and you risk breaking the wire.
The more you manipulate wire, the more brittle it becomes, until eventually it will break rather than bend. For this reason, you should make gentle but purposeful twists. Don’t twist too tight.
As larger branches are twisted together, it gets a little more challenging to make them blend together naturally.
I tend to spread out the wires of the individual branches and massage them together with my fingers as I twist the two bundles together.
In the end, it should look like one branch turning into 2 branches, not like unraveling rope. You can avoid this challenge by always joining unequally sized branches. The smaller one will tend to fall into the larger one. But I tend to like the look of two big sections joining together.
On this tree, I created a strip of wildflowers across the horizon. It was done with a single piece of wire, like this:
The strip was long enough to go across the width and coil at the sides of the hoop. I twisted one root to the right side and one to the left side to stabilize the tree to the horizon.
I then started to spread out the roots in a radial pattern. Some of the roots were coiled around the hoop and cut off. Some were twisted around the hoop and back up and into the trunk.
Those are cut off and tucked into the trunk to make it thicker at the bottom, like an actual tree trunk.
And here is the end result!