Easy Wire Jewelry-Making: 10 Wirework and Tool Tips

Every time I receive a new issue of Easy Wire, I'm amazed at the amount of wire jewelry-making projects and wirework tips and information the editors manage to pack into a single magazine–and I certainly wasn't disappointed with my preview copy of the newest Easy Wire special issue.  

 

It's packed full of wire jewelry-making tips, over seventy (SEVEN-TY! Ten times seven!) new step-by-step wirework projects, and page upon page of wireworking tool information and wire tips about gauge, patina, texture, and more. You know how I love sharing great new things with you, so I've picked out some of the most enlightening wire jewelry tips and ideas for you here . . . plus a little lagniappe at the end!

1. When making wire links, be sure not to hammer any wire that is on top of another piece of wire, as this will weaken the links. 

2. Pearls usually require 24- to 28-gauge wire to fit through their fine holes.

 
5. The balled side of a ball-peen hammer can texture your wire, while the flat side can flatten and spread your wire. When choosing a ball-peen hammer, make sure the flat side has no sharp edges but is gently rounded on the edges to avoid marring your metal.

3. Copper will affect the chemical balance of your liver of sulfur solution. If you put silver into a solution that has already had copper dipped in it, you'll find it turns a yellowish color. Either make a separate liver of sulfur solution for your silver, or dip copper after you've finished with your silver pieces. Read more about adding patina to mixed-metal jewelry designs here.

4. Putting your metal into a warm or hot liver of sulfur solution will darken it quickly, but the longer you leave it in, the less control you have over the color. Dip your jewelry piece into the solution, pull it out again quickly, and rinse it off with water. Repeat this process until you achieve the color you're looking for. Darkening in layers will also give you a more durable patina.

 

9. Nylon-jaw pliers straighten wire and make it easier to work with. You should also use nylon-jaw pliers when working with colored copper wire (craft wire) to prevent marring the wire. 

6. When purchasing jewelry-making tools, choose pliers with a box joint (they should be labeled as such). Box joints maintain the alignment of the pliers' jaws, even under stress.

7. To work-harden jump rings, hold each ring with two pliers. Bring one pair of pliers toward you, and push the other pair away from you. Repeat the back-and-forth twist until you feel the jump ring stiffen.

8. Memory wire is made of tough, permanently coiled steel. It is so strong that you have to use heavy-duty cutters to cut it (it will mar the blade of small, standard jewelry-making wire cutters). You can also break memory wire by bending it back and forth many times with pliers.

10. If you decide to make your own ear wires, half hard wire is best. But if you only have dead soft wire on hand, you can work-harden it by hammering it a few times with a hard plastic or rawhide mallet.

 

All ten of these tips came from less than eight of the 144 pages in the newest Easy Wire special issue. Pre-order your copy of Easy Wire magazine today so you'll receive it as soon as possible–there's so much wire jewelry goodness in those other 136 pages that you won't want to miss!

P.S. It was nearly impossible to limit myself to just ten wire jewelry tips, so I snuck five more tips about wire, mixed metals, and patina into a bonus blog, just for you. Enjoy!

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