Sunday, May 1, 2011

Wire Cloche Tutorial

A couple lovely ladies asked and I did take some pictures while I worked on the wire cloches, in anticipation of doing a tutorial, so here we go.....

See more pictures and my inspiration in my last post.

This is the cloche pictured in the pictures below.  I made 3 all together with some variations.

To start, you'll need re-bar wire (available at hardware stores), wire cutters, needle nose pliers, masking tape, and 8" cake pan (used as a form).

Cut 4 pieces of wire, 36" long.  Holding together, bend in the half and form into a loop, like a cursive little "e". Take one of the spokes and twist it around the base of the "e" a couple times then spread the other spokes out like the spokes of a wheel.  Using the same spoke, begin to weave around the top, over and under.  Having an odd number, 7, spokes will allow you to continuously go around, over and under at least 2 rows.  You should be able to do all this with your hands but use your plies to bend in the wire end to keep it form snagging on anything.

The "e" should form a knob on top, use plies to adjust.

Bend the spokes down forming the cloche shape.  Using plies, twist a loop and foot at the ends of the spokes.  This will make it safer for any puppies who insist on sitting next to you as you work.

 Make bends in the wire like this wherever you want a cross wire.  I have one at the bottom and a second about 5" up.
(This picture shows a cross wire because I added this step in the design as I worked to stop the cross wires from slipping.)

My 8" pan was a spring form and not the best choice, a plain pan will be easier to remove from your cloche.  Whatever size you use, measure the circumference and divide by 7.  For an 8" pan mark the masking take approx. every 3 5/8".

Tape the spokes at the marks.  (Again, your spokes will have the bent notches so will have to extend below the lip of the pan.)

Cut a piece of wire for the cross wire the circumference plus 8", (an extra inch to wrap around each spoke and an extra inch to end off.)  Tape down the end of the wire and begin to wrap the cross wire around the spoke.  (Again, you will be working below the lip of the pan not above as pictured.)

Pinch the cross wire tight/flat.

Then pinch the spoke notch tight around the cross wire.  You pan form will still be on, remember I added this step later.  Sorry, for the confusion.

After you work your way around, make a loop in one end, then thread the other end of the wire through the loop, bend, and pull tight around the pan.  Then trim excess and use pliers to close loop and remove pan form.

Repeat the process for each cross wire you add.  I wanted a pear shaped cloche so I used a 6" pan for my second cross wire.  I was hoping for a smooth, sexy, shapely cloche but ended up with some lumpy (cellulite?) lines.  Oh, well, that's life.

Hope that was clearer than mud.

Like I said I made 3 different cloches.  

One using 18 gauge wire, which is easy to manipulate, for the cross wires.  In this case use the 8th spoke to wrap around the base of the top knob a couple times and trim the excess.  Then attach the smaller wire to do the weaving, which will be much easier and go around 5-6 rows.

The last one was made using only the 18 gauge wire.  It's the smaller one pictured in my last post.  It turned out stronger/sturdier than I'd thought.  I might try this again and get more creative with fancier scroll work, since it's so much easier to work with.  

Another idea from one of my inspiration pictures is to have coils of wire the length of each spoke.  This would help to hold the cross wires in place and cut down on some of the notching and twisting I used.  If you did that I'd suggest using the 18 gauge wire, forming the coils on a 1/4", or smaller, wood dowel.  Slip them on the spokes before you curl up the feet.

BTW, I don't like the 18 gauge wire I have.  It appears to be painted black.  I used to be able to find this unfinished like the re-bar wire at he hardware store.  Hopefully I'll be able to find it again.

I'd love to see pictures of your creations, so please share! 

Good Luck!

And this is where that nosy puppy ended up.  Better safe than sorry!


  1. Thanks for the tutorial sweetie! You make it look so easy but I know that I can't possibly get mine to look as cute as yours! Now, where did I put my wire?

  2. I love this. Thank you so much for the tutorial. I like the pan idea to hold it all in place. Very nice!

  3. Wow! Did I ever pick a good time to visit your blog!!!! LOVE the tut...thank you! And thanks for the visit & comment!

  4. Wow they are great!!! Thank you for sharing with us how to make them. I can think of all kinds of ideas on how to decorate them:)
    ~Debra xxx
    Capers of the vintage vixens

  5. Soooo cute! Love it! Thanks so much for sharing your knowledge. I'm going to have to try this! Hugs!