4 EASY Ways to Improve Your Wire Jewelry

Dec 14, 2009
Spacer 10x10 pixelsDenise Peck Spacer 10x10 pixels

Details make the difference

So true! It’s the little things that make your jewelry designs look good. You can spend days or weeks on a jewelry project, but if your finish work is messy, it ruins the entire look. Whether you’re just starting out adding wire to your designs, perhaps inspired by our latest issue of Easy Wire, or you’re a seasoned user, here are a few very basic techniques whose execution can make a huge difference in the perceived quality of the piece. 

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Opening & closing jump rings
Store-bought or handmade jump rings must all remain round and be closed so snugly that the opening is imperceptible. The only way to achieve that is to use two pairs of pliers. I personally prefer bent-nose pliers. Never pull open the ends of a jump ring––that is sure to pull it out of a round shape. Instead, position your pliers on each side of the opening, with the opening at 12 o’clock. Push one side away from you with one hand and pull toward you with the other. Do the same when closing, and wiggle them slightly toward each other when closing them, to get the ends to meet exactly.
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Cutting wire neatly
When you cut wire with a flush cutter, inevitably only one side of your cut will be smooth and flush. It’s the nature of flush cutters, and, I might add, a misnomer! The other side of your cut will have a sharp point on it. You must use the flat, smooth side of your flush cutters against the end of the wire you intend to use in your design. When you use that pointed piece of wire, be sure to trim away that point with the flat side of your cutters for a professional look.

Wrapped loops
Like simple loops, a sloppy, misshapen wrapped loop makes your work look amateurish. Make sure they’re perfectly round, by using the jaws of the round-nose pliers as your mandrel. Be sure the loop is centered atop the wire, like a lollipop, and that there are the same number of wraps down the neck on every loop in the same piece.

Simple Loops
Learn how in our Beading Daily video!

Simple loops have their place in many designs; they’re neat, unfussy, and unobtrusive. But they must be round, or they look sloppy and unprofessional. Holding your pliers like a hedge trimmer, grasp the flush end of your head pin or wire in the jaw of round-nose pliers so they are flush with the jaws; you shouldn’t be able to feel the wire protruding from the jaws. Turn your pliers away from you while keeping the wire firmly against the round jaw. Stop when the loop comes completely around and touches the rest of the wire. If the loop is not close enough to your beads, continue turning until the loop touches your beads, then trim the excess with the flush side of your cutters. When the loop is complete, use chain-nose pliers to grasp the closed side of it, down near the bead, and “break the neck,” bending it slightly to the side so the loop sits centered atop the wire. Watch this technique right now, clearly demonstrated in our Beading Daily video with Denise Peck, editor in chief of Easy Wire and Step by Step Wire Jewelry

And if you're looking for beautiful wire projects that use these techniques, order the 2009 issue of Easy Wire, available in our store. Discover more than 45 brand new designs from 18 different artists, along with tool buying advice and 25 jewelry-making tips! 

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Know other techniques to improve your wire jewelry? Share them with us!

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on Dec 14, 2009 10:38 PM

Wow - it looks so EASY and quick! It takes me at least 10 attempts and then som e more! Thanks

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AmyA@25 wrote
on Dec 15, 2009 11:07 AM

Denise:  FINALLY, my beads are snug against the loop!!  I never thought of creating loops this way---I have always bent the wire at a 45 degree and then struggled with sloppy sliding beads. No more!!! Thank you!!!!

Denise Peck wrote
on Dec 15, 2009 2:05 PM

I'm so glad it was helpful!  I find that if I'm making WRAPPED loops, the 45-degree initial bend is important. But with simple loops, not so!

on Dec 16, 2009 6:44 PM

I can't wait to try the simple loop. I love constantly learning new things in beading. Thanks for providing the video.

Irene@74 wrote
on Dec 18, 2009 11:45 AM

This is so much easier than the way I have been doing them, and they sure do not look professional when I get done. I am going to try this methd right away. The video is so helpful, easier for me, a visual learner!

on Dec 23, 2009 6:39 PM

I wish I had seen this sooner! It would have saved me many a sloppy loop!

on Jan 2, 2010 8:42 AM

Sterling silver is too costly to waste wire in this method.