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How to Make Your Own Spacer Bars

Used for separating strands of beads in a work, spacer bars are often overlooked as potential creative additions to a piece. Instead of using manufactured bars hidden in your work, you can make exciting bars that enhance your creation's beauty!

If you'd like more inspiration on what to do with this project, see variations submitted by beaders!

You will need the following tools:Optional Tools:
  1. Round nose pliers
  2. Dowel rod or mandrel: 2 - 4mm in diameter
  3. Wire cutters
  1. Chain nose pliers (optional for spirals)
  2. Metal file
You'll also need 18 - 24 gauge wire.

Tip:    Size 3, 4, 5, and 6 knitting needles work well as a dowel or mandrel for this project.


Following we have instructions for the two basic styles of spacer bars:

Straight Spacer Bar Stepped Spacer Bar

Basic Straight Spacer Bar
1. Cut a length of wire and straighten it.

The length of wire is dependent on the number of coils the spacer bar is going to have:

CoilsLength
26"
39"
412"
515"

  
2. Holding about 1" of the wire on a dowel or mandrel with the thumb of your non-dominant hand, create a three wrap coil by winding the wire from the front to the back of your dowel three times to make a coil.

   
 For more tips and suggestions about making coils, please see our coil technique page.
  
3. Remove the coil from your dowel, rotate it 180° so that the coil faces you, and place the dowel about 3/4" (1 cm) from the first coil in front of the wire.
  
4. Now, begin creating a second coil by wrapping the wire the opposite direction from the first coil: from the back to the front. Make only two loops around the dowel this time.

You are wrapping this second coil in the opposite direction as the first. By alternating the direction of the wrapping, the coils line up straight.

Remove the coil from your dowel.

   
  
5. The next step is to rotate the second coil so that it touches the first coil, thus completing the third wrap on the second coil.

To do this, place the second coil on your round nose pliers so that the pliers just barely "fill" the coil.

  
6. In quarter turns, roll the second coil towards the first coil. After a quarter turn, readjust the pliers so that the coil just barely fills the coil. This is to make the loop you create the same size as the coil, and not bigger.
  
7. If you are making a two coil spacer bar, remove the coil from the pliers, trim the excess wire, and file the ends.

When trimming the ends, hold the pliers at an angle to get a cut that blends better than an abrupt cut.

     
  
  If you are making a spacer bar with more coils, remove the coil from the pliers, rotate the coils 180° and repeat steps 3 - 6.

You can also add spirals to your bar.


Project Continued:  > >  How to Make a Stepped Spacer Bar  

Project Continued:  > >  Adding Spirals to Spacer Bars  


Technique Tutorial:  > >  How to Make a Coil  

Variations  > >  Variations You Can Do with This Project  


Other Projects >> Other Projects That May Interest You



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