Many of us enjoy wearing jewellery. But the thought of making our own might make us cringe. Stringing a basic beaded bracelet or necklace is easy enough, but what if we prefer metal jewellery like that we find in stores?
Wire jewellery can take on many forms. Some pieces are very intricate and take a great deal of skill to make. But no one is born knowing how to make wire jewellery. There are projects that are appropriate for beginners, and once you have the basic techniques down, you can move on to more elaborate designs.
To get started making wire jewellery, you will need some tools. Here are the basics.
Obviously, you can't make wire jewellery without wire. There are many different kinds from which to choose, but simple, inexpensive wire is the best choice for your first few pieces. If you mess up, you won't have lost a great deal of money.
Galvanized wire is plain and inexpensive, but it's not particularly pretty. However, if you're looking for something to practise with, it's great. Copper is also fairly inexpensive, and it looks nice with earth-toned beads and jewels. If you want a gold or silver look without breaking the bank, try gold-filled, sterling silver or gold- or silver-plated wire.
There are many different types of pliers used in making wire jewellery. But to start with, you should need no more than three of them. Flat-nose pliers are used for a variety of purposes, and should be in everyjewellery maker's tool kit. Round-nose pliers are used to make loops and chains, and to open and close jump rings. And nylon-nose pliers have nylon jaws that make them suitable for working with soft and delicate materials.
When working with coiled wire, and often when working with wire strips, you'll need to use wire cutters. Flush cut wire cutters make the straightest cuts and require the least finishing, but they also tend to be rather expensive. Bevel cutters cut at an angle and require filing of the cut ends, but they are usually fairly cheap.
When making wire jewellery, filing the ends is very important. Jagged edges and burrs could cause injury to the wearer. There are special files made just for use in jewellery making.
One type of file that is especially useful is the cup burr. It has a small cup at one end that contains teeth. You simply place the cup over the end of the wire, rotate it back and forth, and the wire comes out nice and smooth.
There are a few other things you may find useful when making wire jewellery. One is a tape measure, which is used to measure lengths of wire. Jeweller’s glue may be needed to fix certain pieces in place. Clamps and hand drills may be necessary for certain projects. Special hammers can also be useful when working with hard wire, but they're not usually necessary for beginners.
Making wire jewellery
demands dedication and attention to detail. But just about anyone with the desire can learn how to do it. Starting with the right tools will make your first few projects easier and more pleasurable.