FingerDoodling with Brenda Schweder: Make Perfectly Matched Multiples for Easy Wire Jewelry Making

Welcome to our guest, Brenda Schweder, a wire jewelry making expert, instructor, author, video host, and inventor of the Now That’s a Jig! wire jewelry making jig and jig pliers. Brenda’s here to address that excitement we all feel about new jewelry-making tools and how to have fun making wire jewelry at the “gym”! (What?! Read on to see!)

wire jewelry designs using matching wire jig components by Brenda Schweder

All of these designs were created using the same tri-petal wire component made on a jig! L to R: Stacked Star formation, Radial formation, Stacked Cross formation.

The Wire Wrangler’s Workout: The FingerDoodle Method
By Brenda Schweder

There are two types of tool people: The Zealot User, who runs toward tools arms and legs flailing, with laser-focused vision and pants of glee emanating from their salivating lips (2%); AND The Intrepid User, who sidles up to said tool with an anxious heart and a furrowed brow as if to whisper, “I’m interested in you. How do you work? Please be gentle with me!” (98%)

This very-scientifically-based fact has been my experience regarding my beloved invention, Now That’s a Jig! and its fans, the Wranglers!

Although 100% of NTaJ! fans get its brilliance–they tell me, “OMG! The pegs stay in and the bed doesn’t skid across my workbench!” and “Finally! Now I can enjoy wire jewelry making without swearing!”–but that hurdle’s the easy one. Building a better mousetrap and presenting it to users who already know the deal is a no-brainer. The real challenge is to help NewBenders and Pros alike overcome their wire jewelry making design block!

Except for that 2% I mention above, the 98% experience an “I’ve-got-this-thing-now-what-do-I-do-with-it”-itis, a state of apprehension that all too often accompanies the pretty white box with the cute orange logo that shows up in the mail.

I believe all that’s needed is a little warm-up. Perhaps some wire wrangling calisthenics?

wire jewelry making with multiple wire jig components by Brenda Schweder

Top: Tri-Petal Line formation. Bottom: Tri-Petal Tile formation


Enter The SimpleSingle TriPetal Link

If we take a simplified look inside the NTaJ! wire jewelry making process, you and I play a little game:

  1. I give you a sweet, simple, and minimal wire jewelry making element (the SimpleSingle TriPetal, in this case), an element that you can quickly make and perfect with the pattern template provided.
  1. You make one, two, a handful, or a million-trillion links.
    wire jig necklace by The Bench Artisans

    The Bench Artisans used the Flip-Flop Line formation for their Clover Path necklace.

  1. I tell you to go to your corner and play. Seriously! (Well, sort of seriously.) The idea is that you’ve created tiny building blocks for wire jewelry making. You call out your inner futzer, putzer, or finger-doodler and simply play with the pieces! You move the SimpleSingles around checker-style, trying out these formations. You:
  • stack ’em (see the three star-like designs at the top of this page)
  • tile ’em
  • deck ’em
  • splay ’em
  • line ’em (see The Bench Artisans’ necklace, above)
  • radial ’em (see Joanne’s pendant, below)
  • graduate ’em
  • puzzle ’em
  • random ’em [Insert photo of Joanne’s piece/Credit: Joanne Klauber Jewelry]
  • bip ’em, and bop ’em! And that’s just the beginning!
wire necklace by Joanne Klauber Jewelry

The Random formation works great in this TriPetal Garden pendant necklace by Joanne Klauber Jewelry.

4. Of course, you need a method of connecting them together, right? So, if you’re a metalsmith, you already know how to solder, and you get out your torch. If you aren’t, you may know how to cold-connect by binding, or using jump rings, staples, or links of some sort.

And if you don’t do either of these, you may want to employ connection techniques from some of your other hobbies and make the finished piece your own!

  • Crocheters can chain-stitch
  • Knitters can knit (and purl)
  • Sew-ers can tack [Insert photo of leather cuff]
  • And if you can’t do any of those things, you can tie knots (Because I know you know how to tie your shoes!)
  1. Add a clasp, an ear wire, or any other finding to hang it off your bod and call it wire jewelry. (Or not! Make it long enough to encircle your noggin and call it done.)

Honestly, how fun is that? And all because you showed up at the “gym” (your NTaJ! “gym”–remember, we’re doing calisthenics), made a few cute SimpleSingles for wire jewelry making (warmed up with a few simple stretches), and dared yourself to play (The Wrangling Workout, Baby!).

And, of course, you did it in an awesome way. ‘Cause you’re you, and I can see your glimmer shining through! (Plus, we know you’re a 2%-er at heart!)


Using a jig for wire jewelry making allows you to make unique shapes easily and quickly, to save your hands some wear or benefit from the added help a jig gives you, and to repeat shapes you love as many times as you want, which is so much easier and precise with a jig. Learn more about the benefits and fun of creating wire jewelry on a jig in Brenda’s new DVD, Making & Designing with Simple Single Links on the Now That’s a Jig!, or instantly download the video.

make multiples of wire components on a wire jig

What would you make using all of these wire jewelry components? We’d love to hear about it in the comments below!

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