Whether long or short, fat or thin, dreadlocks lend themselves to ornamentation. They’re the perfect place to show off your personal style with handmade jewelry. One style of loc jewelry that allows you to express your creativity is wire cuff jewelry.
Cuff-type jewelry has a cylindrical portion that slides onto the loc. Designs are created in the remainder of the wire, to which you can add beads if desired. Cuffs can be added or removed quickly from your dreads, allowing you to change them as easily as your mood or wardrobe changes.
Making jewelry for locs is a suitable project for kids and teenagers as well. With adult supervision, kids can create designs for themselves, family or friends.
Things You'll Need
- 20 gauge craft wire
- Wire cutters
- Round-nose pliers
- Chain-nose pliers
- Beads or shells (optional)
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Cut a piece of 20 gauge craft wire approximately 8 to 10 inches long with the wire cutters. Wire and tools can be purchased at craft and hobby stores. Craft wire comes in a variety of colors as well as silver, gold and copper; 20 gauge wire is easy to manipulate with tools and your hands, and sturdy enough to maintain your design shapes.
Choose a mandrel approximately the same diameter as the loc you wish to decorate. A mandrel is a device to wrap wire around to make a cylindrical shape. While craft stores sell mandrels, any cylindrical object, such as a pencil, pen or permanent marker, will work, as well as chopsticks or bamboo skewers for thinner sister locs or for children’s smaller dreadlocks.
Place one end of the wire against the mandrel. Begin wrapping the wire in a circle around the mandrel, forming enough circles to make a cuff at least 1/2 to 3/4-inch long, depending on the size of your locs. The cuff needs to have enough wraps to hold its shape for thicker locs, without becoming too bulky for thinner ones.
Create a design with the remaining wire tail, such as a flat spiral or a serpentine. Remove the cuff from the mandrel to make working with the wire easier.
For a spiral, create a small loop in the end of the wire and begin wrapping the wire in a flat circle around the loop, laying each coil of wire next to the previous one. Change from round-nose pliers to chain-link pliers when you can no longer manipulate the spiral with the round-nose pliers and continue making the spiral until you reach the cuff.
For a serpentine shape, grasp the wire close to the cuff with the base of the jaws of the round-nose pliers, wrapping the wire in a half circle around the thickest part of one of the jaws. Remove the wire, position the pliers approximately 3/4 of an inch away and bend the wire in the opposite direction. Continue reversing the direction of the bends until you reach the end of the wire or until the serpentine is as long as desired. Clip any excess wire and make a small loop in the end of the wire with the tip of the round-nose pliers to make a finished end to the design.
Attach the cuff to the desired loc by inserting the tip of the loc in the cuff and sliding it to the desired position on the loc. Make adjustments in the wire with the round-nose pliers if beads do not hang correctly or the design elements do not lie as desired.