The herringbone pattern is widely used in all kinds of designs and I am sure you have come across many examples. It is named after the pattern made by the dorsal bones of the herring fish. The thin ribs slope downwards in a regular reversed V shape. As so many things in nature, the pattern it forms is not only regular and pleasing but also very strong because of the interlocking action of the ribs.
You will see numerous popular applications of this clever pattern in many different materials such as brickwork, paving, wooden flooring, parquetry, braiding, embroidery, beading, fabrics to name but a few.
In wirework, the herringbone pattern is usually used to embellish a bead and give it a long and elegant look. The beads I have chosen are oval which is a shape well suited to the herringbone embellishment. However, other shapes such as round or nugget shapes would also work well.
The herringbone pattern is not difficult to do but to be recognizable the wires must be placed side by side on top of each other. This will require a little practice so don’t worry if you don’t get it right first time.
What’s in this tutorial?
In this herringbone earrings tutorial, you will find full instructions to make the illustrated earrings but also the following variation in blue with a tassel:
I have also included instructions on how to make a lovely bangle and a cocktail ring so you get good value for money with this tutorial.
The wire used to make the pattern needs to be both soft enough to enable you to place it precisely to form your pattern and strong enough to hold its shape. I am suggesting you use 0.5mm/24 ga wire which works really well, 0.6mm/22ga would also be fine. Most colored copper wires come in that gauge, opening a whole raft of possible color combinations. The wire I have chosen is called antique silver and gives a very subtle shade difference with the rest of the piece.
For a subtle Edwardian look, I have added tiny metal beads on the last wrap on both sides but you could make it really funky by adding multicolored seed beads or for a touch of glamor and sparkle, tiny crystals.
The herringbone pattern is an ideal way to make a small bead appear much larger and to make a few expensive beads go much further while giving your piece a truly elegant look.
There are 21 steps, 11 pages and 31 photos in this tutorial.
- 25cm (10inches) of 1mm (18 gauge ) wire
- 2m (4ft) of 0.5mm(24 gauge) dead soft wire
- 2 12mm rice oval beads (color A)
- 2 12mm rice oval beads (color B)
- 40 2mm metal beads
- 2 earring wires
In addition for the blue pair, you will need:
- 2 daisy spacers
- 25cm/10” thin chain
- Wire cutters
- Round nose pliers
- Flat nose pliers
- Chain nose pliers
- Tape measure/ruler
- Polishing cloth
- Nylon jaw pliers (for straightening wire)