Sunday, June 16, 2013

Basic Tips on Using Wire

When I started fiddling with various wire choices for jewelry making, I would pick up wire just about anywhere at all.
I found wire on spools, pre-measured lengths in small baggies, and various online sources where you can order it by the foot. When ordering precious metal - like sterling silver - larger quantities by the foot in large loose rolls is how I prefer to order it.
When you get it on tight spools, depending on the metal hardness and your project, you may need a pair of these nylon jaw pliers (above) to pull a length of the wire straight to get out the wiggles.
And when using flush cutters like above, your wire will either get a pointed end (above).
Or a flat end, depending on which edge of the cutters you use. I personally will always try to get a flat cut end on any finished jewelry to create less of a chance for a snag or sharp poke for the wearer.

Depending in the wire, you could also use a metal file, cup de-burrer, or fine grit sand paper to file the edges. Be aware that this filing will take away the edge of the top coat of the wire & color coated wire will then have the base metal exposed.
And no matter what...
Always tuck in the ends of your wire!
There is nothing more annoying then to have a bit of wire poking at your skin or clothes. Give your designs a bit of a trial run to see how comfortable they are. Run your fingers over it and see if there are snags.

Having to remake something or figure out what you are doing that creates a bad design will allow you to grow and change so that you will be able to create a better finished piece!

A few more basic tips:
1. Practice with cheap wire of a similar hardness and gauge.
2. Allow yourself extra wire to work with. You can always cut off excess wire - but you cannot make that piece longer.
3. Work with your tools turning away from your body. This is not only for some safety, but also because you are putting all that tension away from your body, not towards it.
4. Save precious metal scraps in their own container & sell them back for more materials!
5. Cup your hand (like a shield) around small bits of wire as you are cutting, to keep those tiny bits from launching everywhere. Especially when working close to other people. Don't cut yourself though. Be smart...
6. Wear eye protection.
7. Use sharp tools. Dull tools can cause injury.
8. Have fun! Try new stuff! Learn from mistakes. Ask friends if you get stuck. Take notes. Take classes. But most of all - get creative and enjoy what you are doing!

Hope to see the good, the bad, the ugly, the deconstructed, and reworked pieces for tomorrow's blog wire work blog hop!

1 comment:

Kathy Lindemer said...

All great tips! Keep them coming!

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