Tammy and I (Tina) use end caps in many projects with our viking knit pieces being the most popular. End caps can be used to accent a bead, cap over the end of a bundle in strands on a piece, or in the case of viking knit cover the end weave of wire that may be a little pointy or un-sightly to some just as a few examples. There are many varieties on the market in a large array of materials, sizes, and styles. We like making our own though as often as is practical as we can really get the right color, texture, fit, and feel for each piece. These end caps can take a bit of time and practice to be able to get a pair or more to match up well.
To begin, you will need; 18 & 26 gauge wires of your choice, round nose pliers, needle nose pliers (bent or not is up to you), Wire cutters, small mandrel that is the size of the inner circumference that you want to end up with.
Take a length of 26 gauge wire (we use about 12″ to 18″ per coil, cut one per cap at the same length) and make a simple coil that is just about the same inner circumference as the 18 gauge. Set the coil aside. Take a length (we us about 18″ more or less per coil depending on size and desired pattern, remember this is an art and not a pattern so play with it) of the 18 gauge wire and create a tight loop at one end.
Once you have your loop, use your pliers to continue that loop into a flat coil that is large enough to cover the tip of your mandrel.
Add one more rotation of wire in line with but a little below the flat coil so you will have something to help grip around the mandrel.
When you have the start of your cap created, place it over the end of your mandrel and hold it firmly in place with your thumb or finger.
Continue wrapping your wire for several rows to give yourself a nice solid foundation.
Once you are happy with how many rotations you have around the end, slide one of your 26 gauge wire coils over the end of your 18 gauge wire and move to the coil. Continue the rotations around the mandrel while holding your wire coil in place as it may want to move down the 18 gauge wire instead of staying where you want it.
When you have wrapped the 26 gauge wire to its completion and the 18 gauge wire to almost the end, you have a choice of how you want to end your cap. In this piece we decided to end with a decorative spiral. You could just tuck the end of the wire on the inside of your cap before you place on a piece and we have done that many times. In this case though, we made a nice little spiral by making a small loop again…
Continuing to the spiral with our handy pliers…
and rolling the spiral flush with the base of our cap.