Making Wire Jewelry: What To Do When You Don't Know What To Do
In the last few years, I've learned to love creating wire jewelry, but I'm still not quite comfortable with designing my own wire jewelry projects. Learning some basic wire jewelry-making skills has definitely made me more confident when it comes to trying new techniques, but when I get the urge to create with wire, unless I have a good set of project instructions in front of me, I tend to feel a little lost.
Thankfully, I have a couple of go-to wire jewelry techniques that I can turn to when I'm looking for a starting point. In no particular order, here are my 3 favorite techniques for creating wire jewelry:
1. Viking Knit. After trying for so long to learn Viking knit, I finally conquered this wire jewelry-making technique and quickly found myself addicted to the sleek, supple chains this form of wire weaving produces. Not only are Viking knit chains great for bead embroidered pendants, but they're easy to embellish with beautiful beaded sliders! I got some great tips for making Viking knit chains from Denise Peck a few years ago, and I feel as though I'll never learn everything there is to know about this fun wire jewelry-making technique.
Viking knit is so versatile, you can even use it to create a bezel for a cabochon. With all the potential uses for Viking knit, this is one wire jewelry technique that I can't seem to get enough of. It's a great idea for when I feel like making wire jewelry, but don't know where to start.
2. Wire chain. Last summer, I took my very first wire fusing class using a tiny, handheld butane micro torch at Bead Fest Philadelphia — and once I realized that I was not going to burn down the convention center, I was hooked! The best thing about the micro torch? It was small enough that I could sneak it into my garage workshop, and my husband never noticed that there was another jewelry making tool on what used to be my glass work bench.
My background in making lampwork glass beads served me well here. Manipulating the flame for fusing wire using a tiny bit of solder was almost the same as shaping molten glass using the flame of my single fuel torch! And now that spring is here and things are finally warming up a bit, I'll be able to get back into the garage and start playing again with my easy wire chain making projects.
3. Chain maille. So, okay, maybe technically not wire jewelry-making, since I buy my jump rings pre-made (is that cheating?), but just like Viking knit, there's something very soothing about the repetition of opening, linking, and closing jump rings together to make chain maille jewelry. Once in a while, I stumble across a chain maille jewelry project that's so easy, it doesn't seem like it should count as chain maille.
And of course, there was that one time when I was making a chain maille dodecahedron, and my little beady brain started wondering how I could re-create that same structure using beads…
Do you feel like you're ready to learn more about wire and metal jewelry, but not sure where to start? I was so excited to see Denise Peck and Jane Dickerson's new book, Wire + Metal: 30 Easy Metalsmithing Designs and all of the fantastic jewelry-making projects in it!
If you're a beginner to the world of wire and metal jewelry, this book is a must-have for all of the great reference information in the first few chapters. If you have some wire or metal jewelry-making experience under your belt and want to learn more (like me!), you'll love the instructions and guidance for cutting metal using a variety of easy tools and techniques. Each of the jewelry making projects are fully illustrated, so there's no guessing when it comes to technique. And the finished projects are the kind of beautiful wear-it-everyday jewelry that I love so much!
For a limited time, you can get both the print edition and the eBook of Wire + Metal: 30 Easy Metalsmithing Designs for a special price! Download the eBook to your favorite desktop or laptop computer and start making jewelry today while you wait for the print edition to arrive! Take your wire jewelry-making skills and learn how to apply them to the fabulous world of metalsmithing with the help of two wire and metal jewelry-making experts.
Do you have a favorite go-to technique for making wire jewelry when you just don't know where to start? Leave a comment here on the Beading Daily blog and share your favorite techniques with us!