I’ve been making wire jewellery for a couple of years now and I read books and articles online to try and improve all the time! Along the way I have picked up a few tips which I’ve found really useful (I’m afraid I can’t remember the original sources), and I hope you find them useful too.
Please note: this article assumes some knowledge of wire jewellery making. If you’re a complete beginner but you’d love to have a go, there are loads of great free tutorials available online to get you started. Search for ‘free jewellery making tutorials’ for a selection. I’d also recommend a book such as ‘The Encyclopedia of Wire Jewellery Techniques’ by Sara Withers if you want to take up jewellery making as a hobby.
Tip 1: When cutting wire with wire cutters, always hold the free end. You never know where it will go, for example in your eye! I’ve forgotten to do this a couple of times and the free end never fails to fly off somewhere. Luckily it hasn’t hit me yet!
Tip 2: When making wire wrapped loops, make the free end is at right angles to the wire you are wrapping around before you start wrapping it. This will ensure that your wraps are straight and tight together with no gaps between. Also, I use pliers when making the wraps, I find this enables me to get much tighter wraps than using my hands.
Tip 3: When you have finished making a wire wrapped loop and have snipped off the excess wire, use the rounded notch in a crimping tool to bend the free end round so that it cannot snag on skin or clothes. This also makes it look very neat.
Tip 4: Run nylon-jawed pliers down your wire a few times before you use it. This will remove any kinks in the wire, work harden it a little and make sure it is nice and straight – ready for you to create some beautiful wire jewellery with!
Tip 5: If you want to create two wire shapes the same size (for example, one for each of a pair of earrings), make them both at the same time either using wire that has been bent back on itself or two wires side-by-side. This will ensure that your pieces match exactly.
Tip 6: Don’t buy jump rings, make your own! Simply coil wire around a mandrel, or anything the right diameter – I use a skewer!
Once the wire is coiled, remove from the mandrel (or whatever you used) and separate the rings slightly. Using wire cutters, snip the wire on the curved portion to start, and then snip the wire at the same position on the ring below. The finer the wire cutters you have, the easier this is. Most wire cutters have a flush side and an angled side – be sure to use the flush side. And make sure that your cut is always at right angles to the wire. This will give you neat ends that match well.
Then turn your wire cutters round and snip a tiny bit off to make sure that the beginning of the next jump ring is flush too (watch out for that tiny piece of wire flying off!).
Use pliers to close and straighten each jump ring, ready for use.
So, those are my top tips! Do you have any of your own to add? Please share them in the comments below!
Thanks for reading!