Friday, 17 February 2012


Oh 'hail' to the

There are such a variety of jewellery pendant
bails available to purchase ... different styles,
sizes and metals. Some snap on, some pinch
and some ... you're supposed to glue on!

However, as a wire jewellery artist and designer,
you might find (like me) they don't always
blend well with the pendant you're making.
Also, it can be fun and add more originality to
your piece if you create your own.

Below, you'll find a variety that I have created
out of wire. A handmade bail can add that
extra 'wow factor' to any wire wrapped
pendant or, even to a pair of beaded earrings.

The 'Celtic' Spiral Bail is the one I probably
use most. It's easy to make and always looks
great with any free-form wire wrapped 'stone'
suspended from it! So if you want to create your
own, here's how to do it:

1. Depending how large you wish to make the bail, cut
a length of wire (anything from 0.8mm to 1.25mm gauge -
to match the weight it will hold). Now, bend the wire
length in half and squeeze the doubled wires together
with your flat nosed pliers, so that they become straight
and parallel.

2. Use the tips of your round nosed pliers to create
a link at the end of the doubled wire.

3. Bend the doubled wire once again using bail making pliers
or a pen (or, similar cylindrical mandrel) to create a second,
larger loop, curling it in the same direction as the first link.

4. Using the tips of your round nosed pliers, create tiny
circles at the ends of the projecting wires.

Hold these small circles firmly in your flat nosed and curl the
wire around to form open spirals on each side.

5. ... and there you have it - BINGO!
Cord, or chain can be threaded through the larger loop and
the pendant that you wish to suspend can be attached to the
first doubled link, that you created in step 2.

N E X T ...

If you have a stone, pebble or fused glass piece that you wish
to suspend, basically anything which is relatively flat on both
sides ... you can create a

A. Make this by cutting a length of wire and creating tight spirals
at each end leaving a space at the centre (this space is completely
dependent on the width of the piece you're creating the
bail for). Then take a pair of bail making pliers (or, any cylindrical
mandrel of your choice) and place these at the centre of the
space between the spirals. Now, BEND, or fold the wire in two,
so that the spirals are opposite each other, leaving enough
space in between to slide the 'stone' or glass piece that you wish
to suspend.

B. Dab glue (I love E6000!) on the inside of each of the
spirals and slide over the top of your unit, pressing both
spirals down on each side of the piece to secure in place
at the top of the 'stone'.

Once the glue has dried, cord or chain can be threaded
through the top loop to suspend as a pendant.


This plain style of
bail can look great
on more decorative
pieces - as it doesn't
distract from the

To make a plain wire bail such as the one above,
all you need to do is cut about 1" (2.5cm) of wire.
Hammer ONLY the centre of the length (turning
it over on each side) to spread and flatten the metal
as evenly as possible, leaving both ends untouched.
Then fold in half (around a cylindrical mandrel) and
create small links with the projecting ends, curling
them in towards each other. These links can then be
threaded with a jump ring or, the top loop of your pendant.

This is another option, which especially good for cord or
leather strung pendants. It involves coiling the wire in both
directions (North & South) finishing off with spirals
on each side.

OR, you could go for something more freestyle! As with
everything, there is no end to variations!

I do hope this short bail tutorial has triggered new inspiration
for your future wirework projects!

ALL HAIL to the B A I L!!


  1. I am trying out making my own findings but I didn't know where to start with bails - I just used a plain loop. I am delighted to find these lovely ideas to try.

    Thank you very much.
    Regards Eileen

  2. Bails are also something I'm struggling with. Not as a wire wrap, but for my standard pendants. I want something unique, but it always ends up looking like everything else. Frustrating, yes. But I enjoyed seeing your options for wire. Thanks for posting it!

  3. Great little tutorial. Just what I needed. Thank you so much.

  4. Great ideas for wire bails and nice pictures. Thank you very much!

  5. I used to buy bails but I am thinking of making my own as well ... thanks for sharing these few ideas!

  6. Thanks so much! This was just what I needed.

  7. Do you use half hard or full hard wire?

  8. Yay!!!!! This is great! Thank you!

  9. This is fantastic! I was looking for instructions like these, and yours are the first I saw. I love the designs and can't wait to try these. Thank you so much for this tutorial!

  10. Some super ideas for my resin pendants. Thanks!

  11. Do you have any youtube tutorials to show how you make some of these elaborate bails? They are so beautiful. I have just started wire working and am still learning. I couldn't find a whole lot on bails like this online.

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