Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Jewelry Tutorial: Tree of Life Pendant

Tree of Life pendants have been very popular for quite a while. There are tons of sellers on Etsy that sell them (including me!) The great thing about these pendants is that even though the general concept is the same, each artist puts his or her own twist on the pendant and each one is different.

Another great thing is that they are surprisingly easy to make. I thought I would make a tutorial to share my technique in making Tree of Life pendants.

Tools and Supplies Needed:
  • 8 inches of 16 or 18 gauge wire 
  • 12-14 feet of 26 gauge wire  
  • Around 50 small (2-3 mm) gemstone chips or crystal beads – in whatever color you want: leafy green; yellow, red, orange, brown for fall; purple or pink for a fantasy tree 
  • Wire cutters 
  • Round nose pliers 
  • Flat nose pliers 
  • Round object for shaping the frame – around 1.5 inches in diameter (I use pill bottles)


Wrap the 16 gauge wire around your round shaping object (pill bottle for me). I like to keep the wire on the spool while I’m shaping it so that I can just cut exactly the amount I need. Leave around 1.5 inches of extra wire on either end of the circle.

Bend a 90 degree turn around 1.5 inches on one side of the wire. This will be your loop to attach to a chain.

Take the other end of the wire and wrap it around the bend twice, keeping the whole circle very tight against the bottle.

Slide the circle off the bottle and make sure it is symmetrical and even. If you used soft wire, you might want to give it a few whacks with a plastic headed hammer to harden the wire a little bit. 

Make a loop at the top of the circle.

Cut 12 pieces of 26 gauge wire 12 inches long and bend them in half.

Wrap each piece of wire four times around the bottom of the circle, keeping the length of each end equal.

Take a group of three wires and twist them a few times to make a root. Don’t twist more than a half inch or you won’t have enough room for the rest of your tree. Repeat in groups of three until you have twisted all the wires.

Bundle all the wires together and twist them into the trunk. How long you want the truck to be is up to you, but don’t twist too much or you won’t have enough room for the branches and leaves. If you feel like you twisted too much, you can bend your trunk a little so your tree isn't straight up and down. Asymmetrical trees are more visually interesting anyway!

Now is the fun part – the branches and leaves! Take 5 wires from the edge of the trunk bundle and twist them together a few times to make a branch.

Then separate out one wire and add beads to it until you reach the frame. The number of beads will vary depending on the size of bead and how long you twisted your branch. Wrap the wire a few times around the frame, downwards towards the roots, to secure it

I like to leave these wires long and loose until I have finished all the branches, just in case I need to slide the branches up or down or if I have to, I can unwrap a certain branch to re-do it. Don’t unwrap and re-wrap it too many times or you can over-work the wire and it will snap.

Twist the other wires from you big branch to make a little branch. Then add leaf beads to each wire and secure to the frame with a few wraps (downwards towards the roots again)

I like to switch to the other side of the trunk to work on a new branch, just to make sure my tree doesn't get too lopsided. Take another four or five wires and twist into a big branch, then split them off into smaller branches and leaves – however you think looks best for your tree.

Continue making big branches, secondary branches, and leaves until you have secured all the wires to the frame.

Then go back to the lowest branches and wrap the wire downwards towards the roots, until you reach the wraps for the nearest root. Add a new wire if you run out. Do the same for the other side.

Wrap all of the loose wires (downwards towards the roots), until you reach the wraps for the neighboring branch, arranging the spacing of the branches to whatever looks best to you. This will ensure that the whole frame is wrapped in wire, which I think looks neater than having spaces and also keeps your branches from sliding up and down.

And you are done! All you need to do is add a chain or cord and you have a beautiful tree of life pendant! Experiment with different types of wire and different colors or shapes of beads and each tree of life pendant you make can be beautifully unique.

If you would like to buy one of my Tree of Life pendants, check out my shop link here. I also take custom orders if you have something specific in mind.


  1. Thank you so very much for this free instruction, I've been wanting to do one of these for the longest time finally found this pattern that is very nice and very good instructions with pics.

  2. thank you , your tutorial helped alot...:)

  3. I really like your pattern! Thank You! I just have one question; how do you keep the circle from getting out of shape while making the braches? I used Design wire 18 gauge non-tarnish and Design wire 26 gauge non- tarnish, and my circle was bent when I finished the tree, so I did my best to reshape it.

  4. Thank you so much, I can't wait to make it :-)

  5. How do I make sure each wrap doesn't unravel when I clip it?

    1. Hi Cody, if you are using regular copper wire, it will generally stay where you bend it. You can use a pair of needle or chain nose pliers to squish it down close to the frame if it looks like it might catch on something.

  6. Thanks for your tutorial,so clear and easy to follow. .

  7. I am unclear as to what to do with the remaining bit if wire once you make the top loop. I don't think you could snip it off, because then it wouldn't be secured. Do you leave it and wrap it with the thinner wire later? Wouldn't that be obvious later??
    Other than that, this is a great tutorial - ty for sharing! :0)

  8. Thank you for providing this free tutorial. I have used it to make the tree and it looks great but I can't seem to hide the tiny wires so that they don't feel scratchy on the skin. What should I do?

  9. this was so helpful! I have always wanted to own one of these, and mow I can make them! Great instructions, great pictures, very easy to follow! thank you, Andrea!