Things You'll Need
- Graph paper
- Pine board
- 1/2" finishing nails
- 22-gauge copper wire
- Needle-nose pliers
- Wire snips
- Plastic jaw pliers
- 8mm beads
- Ear wires
Celtic knot jewelry reminds us of the mystery and ancient lore of Ireland. It can be created from plain wire and pliers. Once you perfect making your first Celtic knot wire motif, you might get hooked on trying your hand at others. For inspiration, study old mariner's knots to create new designs for your wire jewelry.
Make a Wire Jig
Print out a sheet of Cartesian graph paper or purchase a tablet of it. It's the standard graph paper with the small squares measuring about 1/4 inch-by-1/4 inch. Cut a 3-by-3-inch square and glue it to a piece of pine board.
Make a wire bending jig by first penciling in the following pattern on the graph paper. One inch in from the left side of the paper, make a dot where a vertical and horizontal line intersect. Move to the right two vertical lines. Move up one square and down one square making a dot where the horizontal and vertical lines each intersect. Move to the right of each of these dots two more vertical lines. Make an identical two dots as the previous two where the same horizontal lines intersects with the vertical line. Move to the right two vertical lines and make a dot where the horizontal and vertical lines intersect, on the same horizontal line as the very first dot penciled on to the graph paper.
Set the tip of a 1/2-inch finishing nail on the first dot penciled in. Pound it straight down into the board 1/4 inch. Pound in the other five finishing nails where each remaining dot is marked on the graph paper.
Cut a 6-inch length of 22-gauge copper wire. Use a needle-nose pliers to make a small loop at one end of the wire. Set the loop over the single nail on the far right side of the wire bending jig. Position the wire so the long length of it is lying horizontal to the bottom of the nail.
Pull it up diagonally to the next topmost nail. Wrap the wire around clockwise. Pull it down and wind it around the nail below the top nail, wrapping it counterclockwise around the nail.
Pull the wire up and over to the left to the next topmost nail and wind the wire clockwise around it and then down to the nail below and wind the wire counterclockwise around it.
Bring the wire to the left to the last single nail. Wrap the wire counterclockwise all the way around it to form a complete loop. Take a wire snip and cut off the excess wire.
Pull the Celtic knot wire from the wire jig. Flatten the wire design using plastic jaw pliers. Repeat Steps 4 through 7 to make the second earring.
Take an 8mm bead and thread a headpin through it. A headpin is a short piece of wire with one flattened end used to hold beads. The flat end of the headpin keeps the bead from coming off the wire. Make a loop with the remaining wire above the bead using a needle-nose pliers. Hook the bead to one end loop of the earring and close the wire fully with the pliers. Add an ear wire to the loop at the opposite end of the Celtic knot. Repeat for the second earring.
Use this Celtic knot design to make bracelets and necklaces. Use beads and wire to connect the separate metal Celtic knots.
B. Ellen von Oostenburg became a full-time writer a decade ago. She has written features for local and state newspapers, as well as magazines, including Milwaukee Magazine, Wisconsin Trails and German Magazine. A graduate of the University of Wisconsin - Madison, von Oostenburg holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in fine art.