If you are new to wire work, I've made a quick little tutorial to get you started to make a cool set of earrings!
You will need 16 gauge wire, 20 gauge wire, a chasing hammer, block, (2) 10 mm beads or larger, round nose and flat nose pliers, and liver of sulfur (optional).
Cut 2 six inch pieces of the 6 gauge wire. It can be longer depending on what you want your design to be like.
Using your chasing hammer flatten the wire until you get a "flatness" that you like.
Using 150, 180 or 220 grit sand paper, sand the ends of the wire to remove all burrs. I have a burr remover, but quite honestly, prefer the sandpaper.
Using your round nose pliers make a loop on one end. I use the center of the pliers for a slightly larger loop. Once the loop is made, bend the extra wire so that your loop is "centered." The loop will be the top of your wire sculpture.
Turn the wire upside down. Using your flat nose (chain nose) pliers, start making bends in shapes that you prefer. Remember to keep some balance on each side so that the piece is not lopsided.
Here is my sculpted shape. I will continue to work with it, but remember that once the wire has been hammered thin, it will break a little easier, so try not to have to "fix" your shapes too many times. You might want to practice on some lower gauge so you get an idea of where the pliers should sit with each bend.
Place the piece back on the block and using your chasing hammer at a 45 degree angle, flatten parts of it so that some hammered sections lay flat.
Using about 6 inches of 20 gauge wire, wrap the top of your design tucking the back of the wire in close to avoid it catching on anything or poking you when you touch them.
Take another piece of 20 gauge (about 6 inches depending on how you like your final wrap to look) and bend it over the round nose pliers making a loop. I make one side shorter than the other.
Slide on the bead of your choice (mine is a wood-fired disc).
Using the round nose pliers, bend the smaller length behind the longer one creating a loop that you will wrap around first.
Once you have wrapped the smaller one, hold the loop with your flat nose pliers and wrap the longer end tucking in the end. I'm sorry that I do not have a good picture of that step, but this is what your end result will look like.
Of course, adding a patina is optional. I always do since I like the look. I wish the color of my final picture came out a little better, since they look better in person.
Wire was once of my first loves after my early days of stringing commercial beads. I really knew absolutely nothing about it, but had the desire to learn. It was a great place to start since there is so much you can do! So, go grab some wire, design away and take the time to share :o)
And.... as always, thank-you for supporting artists or being an artist who creates handmade with handmade!
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