Make Jewelry: WireWork Secrets
Wire Work Secrets
When I first started making jewelry, I was interested in quickly learning a few basic techniques that would enable me to make great looking jewelry, that could be sold for profit, to make an income. I was disappointed to find that the thing I really wanted to be able to do simply wasn't available in the area where I lived.
I first went to a beading workshop, which was great as I got to learn how to string beads onto string and finish the beads, but my eye was drawn to wirework - I could see that most great looking jewelry involved wrapping wire - and that was what I wanted to learn how to do.
I wanted to learn the wire work secrets, how I could quickly wrap some wire round to finish off my jewelry, to make knots and simple wire 'baskets' that could contain treasures such as pebbles or stones. I wanted to know the wire work secrets of taking just 6" of wire and one stone and producing high quality pendants in just 2 minutes.
This was my passion - but how could I learn?
I looked online for courses and found that wire wrapping courses simply didn't exist within 200-300 miles, were only held twice a year and cost $150. Or, worse, they were a part of another course, which I wasn't interested in.
So, I turned to online resources for my wire work courses and found a great wire work course that showed me exactly how to do the basic and intermediate wire wrapping techniques that I needed to know - and more - what I discovered was not just "how to" do it, but the little tips and tricks that meant I could wire wrap every time because I understood why some problems occurred and how to easily overcome them.
I didn't want half-finished ideas, I wanted pro jewelry making tips, techniques, and secrets to quickly end frustration with wire work and what I learnt with Wire Work Secrets really filled that gap.
Now I just need to choose some great stones and I can create wire wraps easily every time.
Wire Wrapping DVDs
What To Use Wire For
If you've not thought about wire or wire wrapping, then you might wonder what it's for. There are hundreds of uses for wire and wrapping techniques - in fact it's how you'd make your own tiara... if you ever wanted to! I've no desire to make intricate wire work, I don't see myself ever making a tiara, maybe it's on your list of things to learn how to do - well wire work is the key.
If you want to use wire or wire wrapping for everyday jewelry making needs, then here are some of the things you can use wire wrap for:
- You can create your own headpins, with a small wrap at the bottom, much more decorative than buying headpins and that's one less item to run out of!
- You can use items found locally, e.g. beach pebbles or tumbled stones, and wrap them in sterling silver wire to create unique pendants.
- You can create great "wire drop" connectors to suspend pendants from.
- You can create spirals to use flat, or expanded, creating stunning looking earrings, necklaces and bracelets.
- You can create unique rings easily.
- Never buy another ear wire again, simply twist some wire and make your own for a fraction of the cost; create new ear wire styles on the fly.
Once you can use wire well, all your jewelry becomes unique, nobody else can make what you're making because it's another little skill in your arsenal of tools to be different to the rest - and being different to the rest means your work can sell for a little more money.
By simply using a few inches of wire, you can create a handcrafted and unique piece of jewelry that nobody else is selling. Your uniqueness and the handcrafted product will draw buyers to your work and you'll find you have more confidence in what you're doing and you're making more money than if you were buying in headpins and settings and only producing things others were also able to reproduce.
I like the way that I can use a roll of wire instead of placing orders for jewelry findings and having to pay P&P and wait for it to arrive. With just one roll of wire I can really make things from scratch and be independent!
Step by Step Wire Magazine
- Step by Step Wire Jewelry Magazine 2011
Step by Step Wire Jewelry magazine published a further 6 editions in 2011, featuring some great techniques, project and jewelry design ideas for beginners as well as pros. If you're making jewelry to sell at craft shows, craft fairs or even online, a
What Wire to Use
Ultimately, to get top dollar, you need to be aiming at using sterling silver wire for your wire wrapping when making jewelry - but you can practice all the techniques to perfect them with cheaper wire. I use silver-plated wire, but you can use standard crafting wire.
Different thicknesses (gauge) and type of wire are used for different jobs in wire, so here's an overview of the wire you might need to eventually pick up. Which wire is the right wire for the job is covered in the Wire Work Secrets book, and once you've got that knowledge you can start to experiment for yourself. Until I found out these basics, I struggled to even guess which wire I might need, or should buy.
Where to Buy Wire
All crafting and beading shops will have the wire you need, or you can buy it online on ebay as cheaply as anywhere else (often cheaper, or in smaller quantities).
You don't need any special equipment to bend and shape the wire, just 2-3 pairs of pliers. However, to make things even easier, there are a lot of gadgets that will coil and spiral and bend the wire for you, making it even easier to get it 100% perfect every time right from the first go. You don't need these, you just might choose to buy one if one of your designs takes off and you suddenly find you are selling 50+ a week and it's driving you crazy :)
I Want To Make
Eye Pins for Beads With Large Holes
Wire Wrapping for Stones
Links to Make Bracelets
Wire Wrapped Pin Heads
Threading Through Gemstones
I hope this has helped you to see the importance of learning how to use wire effectively in your jewelry making. It really is the best step you can take towards easily creating unique pieces that are genuinely handmade, without having to break into a sweat!
If you look around, you'll probably find a variety of wirework courses fairly local to you to get you going, if you want to have a little hands-on help at the start. Some of these wirework courses are a few hours in the daytime, or you might even find evening classes in wirework at a local school or college, held in the daytimes or evenings.
There are lots of great resources out there to use, DVDs to watch, courses to join, books to read. Once you've got just 2-3 basic techniques under your belt you're laughing!