Wire jewelry is easy and fun to create. With basic tools, assorted beads, and wire you can make everything from earrings and pins to necklaces. Designs can be as simple or complex as you would like. Additional tools such as a Wig Jig board designed specifically for creating intricate designs can also be used but are not necessary, especially when beginning.
To begin, a basic understanding of the terms used in reference to the myriad assortment of wire is a necessity. The following is only a partial listing, but it will give you an overall idea of the different wires and tools.
Understanding wire gauge will go far towards your decision of what wire to choose. The larger the number, such as 28 gauge, the finer the wire. Wire in this and close gauges works well when trying techniques such as crochet with wire. Gauges such as 16 are larger and depending on the wire type, work well for a wide assortment of projects.
Dead-Soft, Half-Hard, Full-Hard
The wire is available in sterling silver, gold-filled, copper, and other assorted varieties, and then broke down into the categories of dead-soft, half-hard, and full-hard. These terms refer to how malleable the wire is. Dead-soft is extremely malleable and while it can be made into nearly any design you can imagine, it will not hold its shape under stress.
Half-hard is one-step up from dead-soft. It is still extremely malleable but can hold its shape under stress. Full-hard is still malleable, though not as easy to create finely detailed designs. It holds up well under stressful situations such as in wire wrapping designs.
Twisted wire is also available in these specifications. Twisted wire that is full-hard will hold up under very strenuous conditions and will provide your jewelry with a unique look due to the nature of the wire twisting itself.
All of the above definitions are also available in a myriad assortment of colors. One brand, Colourcraft, is available in colors including magenta, green, black, brown, red, purple, silver, gold, and natural. Many wire jewelry designs leave a large portion of the wire showing in addition to any beads used, so working with colored wire can be a great advantage to the overall design.
When making wire jewelry, a set of pliers that has assorted ends and is comfortable to work with is as important as the wire itself. Some popular pliers include a flat nose, needle nose, round nose, and bent tip pliers. Additional tools that are also common include side or end cutters, tweezers, awl, and a ruler. Not all of these are necessary to begin with, and as you find yourself becoming more comfortable with the craft of making jewelry from wire, you may find yourself using only one or two pairs of pliers for all the different tasks.
The ideal way to begin working with wire is to assemble a sampling of the different wires available and a pair of round nosed pliers. Decide on a simple project to make so you can see a positive outcome when you are done. A fun, easy project to construct is a bubble blower. Cut a piece of wire approximately five inches long. Any gauge will work for this, and by making them in different gauges and hardness’s you will quickly learn the differences for better decision making of future projects.
With the pliers, grab one end of the wire piece and practice making twists and turns inward and outward. Keep in mind that for the wire to work as a blower you must leave a central open area. Continue along with the piece of wire until you have made swirls along with the entire piece. Fold so both ends meet, twist together, and roll with the pliers to form a small loop. The finished blower can be suspended on ribbon or cording. Dip in bubbles and blow or share by giving it to a child to use.With the pliers