Thursday, April 17, 2014

Boot Camp: Fine Finishings Wire Tips Continued

by Staci Louise Smith

Barb did a wonderful post on wire.  If you missed it, you can read up on it here.


She talked about wire gauge.  I thought perhaps I could add a little bit to that, with some tips and tricks I have learned a long the way.

I like to make my necklaces as ONE large focal piece, connect solidly by wire.  This allows me to control how everything hangs and fits together.

see some of the samples below




However, this also posed problems.  First of all, I love adding stick pearls as an accent.  The holes are always too small though, usually 24 g, if I am lucky, 22g.  I found out early on that these thinner wire gauges, even 20, are not strong enough for these sort of necklaces. 

While those smaller gauges work well if you are connecting beads with wire wrapped loops (which allows for movement and won't cause pressure on the wire itself), for a connection that doesn't allow for movement, it will not end up well.

 Although I found that my necklaces I wore didn't break, some customers had problems with them. What was happening with the customers was that they would move the focal pieces up and down, adjusting how they lay a little each time.  You know what happens with you bend a wire back and forth and back and forth over time?  Yeah, it breaks.  

So I added heavier wire to secure them.  I started to wrap more wire around it, to prevent it from being able to be moved by the customer.  Still, there were plenty of times I want to use pretty beads with thinner holes.

I found a solution.  It may not work for everyone, depending on what you are doing, but it works for my designs.

What I do is take my take my heavy gauge wire- usally 18g, and make my wire wrapped loop, add my first bead, then, in the place I want the pearl I leave the spot open.  Lay that piece down for now.

 Then I feed my pearl onto the 22g wire leaving plenty of tails on each end.

Now you can lay it where you want it

Wrap the thinner wire around the thicker wire.  You are essentially wrapping the pearl onto the thicker wire

Push it close to the first bead

repeat on the other side

Warp it back around the pearl, and you can even wrap it over the first bead if you want.  wrap tight and tuck your ends in

Now add your next or last bead, and go back around the pearl and first bead with the reaming thick wire.  if the thick wire was on the backside of the pearl, this time make sure it goes across the front

backside

All done

(refer back to the above picture when you get to the end of the post)


Another wire tip, use your fine files!!!  Especially when using thicker gauge wire.  Even if you tuck an end in really good, it may be rough, just because it is so thick.  Use your needle files to gently round the end, so it won't catch or scratch anyone.  

I often run my fingers up and down a piece over and over to try to find snags.

You should also use dead soft wire for wire wrapping.  Many beginners make the mistake (like I did) of buying half or full hard wire, thinking it was stronger.  It will not work smoothly, and will not hold shape well (it forever wants to spring back to form).  Dead soft will actually hold is shape for wire wrapping better, and your hands will thank you too.

I hope that gives you some fresh things to think about where wire is concerned.

AND- since we have not had a giveaway in forever.....I am giving away the pendant shown above.  This is open to US residents only this time.

All you have to do is share this post, either on facebook, your blog, tweet it, pin it, ect.....

Then be sure to leave a comment below, with how you shared, and your email so we can contact you if you win.  A winner will be picked Monday April 21st by random generator.
(do not leave your comment on our facebook page, leave it here so it can be counted)

Good luck!

25 comments:

Sherri Stokey said...

Pinned!!

Linda Y said...

Thanks for the tips. These were great. I pinned your piece to my pinterest board "Jewelry Tutorials". Love your work and would be super excited if I win.

ArtQueenClaire said...

Pinned also. Love this idea! Genius.

ArtQueenClaire said...

Pinned also! Genius. Thanks for the share.

Kathleen Lange Klik said...

Great tip about wrapping thinner gauge wire over a heavier gauge to add in beads with smaller holes! I also didn't realize that dead soft wire is stronger than the others. I knew it was best for wire wrapping but didn't know it held its shape better than the others. You would think a harder wire would. Thanks for the post, very informative! Thank you also for the giveaway- gorgeous pendant!

Kathleen Lange Klik said...

Forgot to mention that I shared this wonderful post on Facebook! :)

TesoriTrovati said...

That is a brilliant tip, Miss Staci! Your wire work is always so organic and intriguing. I appreciate the sharing of this technique. I have been staring at some stick pearls for some time but couldn't figure out how to use them and this gives me some hope! Enjoy the day. Erin

Erika said...

Great post Staci! I do remember you mentioning to me awhile ago how you wrap pearls onto larger wire, but these pictures really help make it clear and simple. I have learned a lot and tried new techniques because of your wire wrapping techniques. And I like the way you wrap all the beads together so they are one focal. I wish I was as good at it as you are. You have a real knack for wire wrapping!

Bead Fashion Designs said...

Thank you for the tip.. Very cleaver idea !

Gale said...

Pinning your nifty work-around for pearls to my Techniques board. I'd also be interested in hearing how you manage to keep all your pieces still somewhat fluid and not entirely stiff, once wrapped with the heavier gauge--you sure have a knack for that, too!

msbuck said...

Thank you Staci for sharing your technique for adding small hole beads to your designs. I'm just beginning to wire wrap and appreciate the information you so willing share. I've posted a link to your site in my ArtFire blog. Hope you have a blessed day!

Almost Precious said...

Wonderful information. I think the way you attach small hole pearls into your pieces is clever as well as attractive. Thanks for the lesson. :)

Patti Vanderbloemen said...

What a brilliant tip! Thanks so much for sharing!!

Barbara Mason said...

Pinned it!!! That pendent is beautiful and now I am considering how I wrap my pearls...

Ann Schroeder said...

Thank you for all the great tips!! And the giveaway - I tweeted this blog post.

Christine said...

Thank you for the wise tips! I will incorporate them. I am pinning this to my board!

Shaiha said...

Thank you so much for the tips! I had wondered how you were using the pearls.

Shaiha said...

I pinned this tip.

http://www.pinterest.com/pin/40039884161681191/

Shaiha said...

I shared on Facebook.

https://www.facebook.com/sShaiha/posts/10203478245106283?stream_ref=10

Lynn said...

I pinned on my board "Jewelry Lessons". Loved all the great tips and especially about the dead soft wire. I have to get some as I've always used half hard. Would love to win that gorgeous pendant. Thanks so much for sharing.

Coffeefreek53 said...

Pinned! I love your work, so earthy and alive.

Shel said...

Genius!! Love this. I pinned it onto my "tutorials and fun stuff to learn" board.

re-maker said...

Great idea, beautiful piece!
Just tweeted your post!

Unknown said...

Oh, and yes I pinned it!

Yvonne/ yrd@hotmail.com

Charis Designs said...

Pinned it! Love the vibrancy of this pendant Pin http://www.pinterest.com/pin/216524694559952474/

My email is charisdesigns@hotmail.com

Christie

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