10 Essential Wire Tips: Save Yourself Some Labor in Jewelry Making

Sep 6, 2010


My first wireworking and metal class was years ago. I was so enthralled with the reaction of wire and heat that I never got beyond making ballend head pins with a torch. I just couldn't stop! It was like magic, so simple that even a beginner could end up with professional results in minutes. That's the beauty of a great teacher.


Denise Peck's new Metalwork Wire Essentials DVD does precisely that! You end up with fabulous wireworking results by simply watching her. I’ve put together my top 10 lessons learned from Denise’s DVD.

  1. Use 20-gauge wire when making your own ear wires. A larger gauge wire may not comfortably fit through your earring holes. Ouch!
2.  Two hands are never enough in jewelry making or curling your hair. Using a third hand to clamp your wire piece securely leaves both hands free so you can easily maneuver a torch or other tools for creating your masterpiece.
  3. Learning to make coils out of wire can be used for decorative purposes or the base of jump rings. Use your wire cutters to snip down the middle of each ring on the coil to create individual jump rings.
4.  Making your own jump rings is quick and easy. The key is to trim the inner edges of the wire so they fit together snugly and there's no gap between them.

5.  Denise uses a bevy of wire working tools and explains how one each is used so novice to expert, you know how to use them. (Sure, you've seen them before, but what to do with that ice-pick looking thing is a mystery.) It's actually an awl used to create holes in your wire and metals so you can hang a dangle.

6.  Create a pile of wire hooks, clasps, and toggles at the same time to use in later projects. This ensures that they're consistent in size and style. Making one at a time when needed leaves room for mistakes and isn't timely.

7.  Making your own head pins from wire is less expensive and much more convenient than purchasing commercial head pins. You can make any length you want and never run out. Imagine that!
8.  Ballend head pins and "S" clasps add a more artistic look to your findings. Using a simple micro-torch to melt the ends of the wire, the metal automatically forms a ball. You quench the heated metal in cold water, trim the wire, and voila, a beautiful professional-looking headpin!
9.  Hammer the curves in your wires to strengthen (work-harden) the wire. Whether making wire loops, dangles, "S" hooks or swan clasps, this gives them additional strength in the area that's been compromised by bending.

10. When oxidizing silver with liver of sulfur, you must use very hot water. If the water is cool or cold, you won't get the chemical reaction of the liver of sulfur to the metals and you'll have pale-colored results.

Have fun with all the wire jewelry-making techniques from Metalwork Wire Essentials. Once you learn the basics, your wire world will explode wonderfully!

Come bead with me.


Featured Product

Metalwork Wire Essentials

Availability: In Stock
Price: $24.95


Learn all the essentials you need to know to make fast and fabulous wire jewelry: step by step.


Related Posts
+ Add a comment


PaulaM@26 wrote
on Sep 6, 2010 10:09 AM

I love that you add these tips and hints to Beading Daily. Although I am already aware of these I can send my students to the blogs and tell them about the book.

Of course not all of them can do this as I have quite a few seniors in my classes,but I try to pass along as much to them from my own experience as I can. Hopefully they'll like the wire work class enough to go out and buy the book.

Thanks for the info, I am always looking for a good technique book and tips and hints to make my work better.

on Sep 6, 2010 3:37 PM

In the picture where you're hammering the wire loop, what is that blue piece of ? that you're hammering on?

Kristal Wick wrote
on Sep 6, 2010 10:24 PM

Thanks PaulaM!

I love getting feedback from you all.

Wired and Stoned - It's a silver metal block. Looks slightly bluish in the picture. You can get them at your local bead shop.

Have fun!