Make Great Wire Jewelry: 4 Essential Finishing Tips
Sweat the Small Stuff
I’ve said it before; I’m an immediate gratification kinda gal. When I was in jewelry school, I knew pretty fast which techniques I’d continue doing and which were just way too labor intensive. It’s not that I’m lazy, I just have too many things I want to do in my life to spend too much time on any one. Call it classic B-type personality, but the positive in that is that I don’t spend too much time sweatin’ the small stuff.
However, in jewelry making, I will be the first to admit, that the small stuff is the stuff that really counts.
How many times have you heard “file the end smooth and tuck in?” I see it in almost every wire jewelry project that crosses my desk. That’s a finish technique that is pretty much essential in wire jewelry. If you don’t do those two things, you or your customers are destined to be poked with very sharp wire ends.
Readers of Step by Step Wire Jewelry are the first to write to me to point out any sloppy work that got through our editing process. It’s given me a whole new appreciation for meticulousness. And, it’s made me just a wee embarrassed about some of my earlier work! Now I still work fast, but I make sure I’ve done the few little things that mean the difference between good and great.
4 Wire Tips for Professional-Looking Jewelry
Here are a few things to watch for when you’re making your jewelry.
File Ends Smooth
There are a couple ways to smooth the ends of your wire. You can use a wire file, or a cup bur. Particularly when you’re making ear wires, you want to smooth the ends of the wire that go through your ear, or that can be very painful!
Make Flush Cuts
When you cut a piece of wire with a flush cutter, you will always get one nice straight (flush) cut side and one pointed cut side. The end of the wire that remains on your piece of jewelry should always be the straight, flush side.
Imperceptible Jump Ring Seams
Jump rings should be closed so neatly that the join is imperceptible. If you run your fingers over the seam, you should not be able to feel it.
Keep Wraps Tight
Making wrapped loops and coils are some of the first things you learn in wire jewelry making. But the trick to looking professional is to have all the wraps tight against one another. And if you have more than one in a piece of jewelry, or a pair of earrings, they number of wraps should all be the same. Squeeze in the last wrap so it doesn’t stick out. And one more trick: if you snip the wrapped loop on the SIDE of the coil, it’s less visible to the naked eye.
Now you know how to really make your jewelry stand out. Look for beautiful new designs in every issue of Step by Step Wire Jewelry to put these little secrets to the test. I promise you’ll notice the difference between good and great!
Learn more about making and perfectly finishing wire jewelry findings in Denise’s book, Handcrafted Wire Findings.