ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Jewelry Pliers and Wire Wrapping Supplies: Basic Tools You Need...And Don't Need

Updated on January 25, 2015
Chris Telden profile image

With customers worldwide, Chris Telden has designed and sold jewelry under the name "Ornatia" with a focus on organic, unisex style.

Wire wrapped dyed red sponge coral necklace and earring set
Wire wrapped dyed red sponge coral necklace and earring set | Source

Wire wrapping, a versatile technique used in many jewelry projects, is one of the easiest jewelry making skills you can learn.  Since you need not deal with soldering, glues, ovens, fire or toxic epoxies, you'll find you need only a minimum of work space and can make wire wrapped jewelry anywhere - even at home.  And because the technique uses an absolute minimum of equipment and tools, buying professional quality jewelry pliers and other wire wrapping supplies won't break your pocketbook.  On the contrary, what tends to cost a lot is the beads, stones and precious metals - not the pliers, flush cutters and other essential tools.

Best of all, you needn't pay for expensive formal training: I taught myself how to make wire wrapped jewelry, had my own jewelry selling business for several years, and now have a blog devoted to jewelry making and selling on the Internet. On this page, you'll find the basic tools, equipment, materials and supplies you'll need to get started making copper, gold filled, or sterling silver wire jewelry.

What Is Wire Wrapping?

Jewelry wire made of sterling silver, gold fill or copper is bent, twisted and worked into scrolls and other decoration and functional pieces, to make findings, make chains, set cabochons, wrap beads and link them to each other, and much more.  The core skill of wire wrapping is the perfect loop.

Some examples of handcrafted wire wrapped jewelry are pictured on this guide.

Basic Wire Wrapping Tools

You will be told by "reputable" sources that you need ten, twenty, even thirty special tools and pieces of equipment to wire wrap jewelry. Not true. I myself started small and built up my collection of tools and supplies as I needed them. Here is my advice for what you should get if you want to give wire wrapping a fair try, but don't want to spend thousands of dollars on fully equipping your shop. Then, after you've wire wrapped jewelry enough to figure out you like it and want to do more advanced jewelry making, you can buy the tools you know you'll need.

Jewelry Pliers

Jeweler's pliers are the most important tools you can own if you do wire-wrapping. The prices for the jewelry pliers you'll need to wire wrap range from about $7 to about $80 per tool.

Round-Nose Pliers for Jewelry Making

Round-nose Pliers: Round nose pliers are used for making loops and wrapping wire.

The cheap round nose pliers are worlds different from the quality, more expensive brand. I used a cheap pair of round-nose pliers for about a month before I had to give it up or give up jewelry making. Not only are they the wrong size, mar the wire like nobody's business, and get easily misaligned, but they don't last very long.

This is one tool you should not stint on. Get the best--I'm personally a fan of the Lindstrom brand for all my jewelry making pliers, but you may find other brands work as well. Lindstrom is the only brand of quality that I've tried.

Flat-nose Pliers for Jewelers

Flat-nose Pliers or Chain-nose Pliers: These pliers are used for bending and manipulating wire, crimping beads, and holding wire in place while making scrolls, hooks or loops. My big secret is that I use only a flat-nose pliers. I've never owned a chain-nose pliers for jewelry making.

When I was shopping for flat-nose pliers, I couldn't find a Lindstrom or quality one, so I bought a cheap $7 one--and I have to admit it did the job perfectly. What I wanted it to do was hold the wire without marring it too much, and smush crimp beads, and its shape was sufficient to do this. I never found it necessary to get an expensive ($50-80) pair, though I have needed to replace it a couple of times.

Artisan Handcrafted Wire Wrapped Necklaces

Dangling Bali silver orchid flower wire wrapped necklace with faceted smoky quartz nuggets (heat-treated)
Dangling Bali silver orchid flower wire wrapped necklace with faceted smoky quartz nuggets (heat-treated) | Source
Picture jasper and sterling silver wire wrap necklace
Picture jasper and sterling silver wire wrap necklace | Source
Garnet and sterling silver wire wrap fringe necklace
Garnet and sterling silver wire wrap fringe necklace | Source

Bent-nose Jeweler's Pliers

Bent-nose Pliers: A pair of bent nose pliers is invaluable - it can get into places other pliers can't, and it lets you have the same control of a flat-nose pliers.

Get quality pliers. You'll notice a big difference between the way a cheap pair of bent nose pliers mars sterling silver, copper and gold wire and the more delicately surfaced, regular, and easily-controlled nose of a quality set of pliers. Both can scratch wire, but the quality pair (again, I recommend Lindstrom) much less so. And they don't break as fast.

Protect Your Wire

If you're using cheaper pliers, to prevent the pliers marring the wire, Mark Lareau, author of All Wired Up, recommends Tool Magic Rubber Coating applied to the ends of the pliers to help protect your jewelry wire, a trick I've yet to try.

Tool Magic Rubber Coating: Optional

Jeweler's Flush Cutters

Flush Cutters: When you cut sterling silver wire or other jewelry wire with a flush cutters, one end gets a burr, while the other is completely flat.

Again, absolutely don't stint on these. You need quality flush cutters to cut the wire straight on the ends. The cheaper flush cutters will make a ragged, uneven cut on the "flat" side that won't look or feel good--nor, more importantly, will it properly close loops. They will frustrate you no end and make you feel doing your own handcrafted jewelry projects is a waste of time.

Note: With a good pair of flush cutters, you can produce professional-quality cuts that look good even without finishing with a hand file or fine-grit sandpaper.

More Artisan Wire-Wrapped Jewelry

Lapis lazuli and Bali sterling silver wire-wrapped necklace.
Lapis lazuli and Bali sterling silver wire-wrapped necklace. | Source
Turquoise nugget and picture jasper wire-wrapped necklace
Turquoise nugget and picture jasper wire-wrapped necklace | Source
Chrysanthemum stone, also called flower stone, and copper necklace with handcrafted hammered wire copper pendant using no soldering
Chrysanthemum stone, also called flower stone, and copper necklace with handcrafted hammered wire copper pendant using no soldering | Source
Wire wrapped .925 sterling silver and cultured freshwater pearl chandelier earrings.  I handcrafted all the jewelry wire in this pair, including the ear-wires.
Wire wrapped .925 sterling silver and cultured freshwater pearl chandelier earrings. I handcrafted all the jewelry wire in this pair, including the ear-wires. | Source
Handcrafted artisan copper and Czech glass chandelier earrings.
Handcrafted artisan copper and Czech glass chandelier earrings. | Source

Jeweler's Hammering Tools

Bench Block: If you intend to hammer wire at all, then you need a bench block or jeweler's anvil to provide a smooth, hard surface on which to safely tap the wire. I use a bench block. These are not very expensive--they only need to be a couple of inches wide.

Ball-Peen Hammer: An 8-ounce ball-peen hammer will work, or possibly something smaller. You may already have something that will work in your house. If I were you, I wouldn't bother with specially coated hammers to prevent marring the wire. Hammering always mars the jewelry wire--in fact, that's why you use it--so the only real advantage to finer hammers that I've been able to figure out is that the heads come off of the handles less.

Strip of Rawhide or Leather: Unless you own a real work table in a shop, you may find yourself using your bench block on surfaces that may get damaged. A quick fix is to put the bench block on a strip of rawhide, which will absorb some of the blow and protect the surface underneath.

What You Do Not Need / What You Can Wait On

Crimping tool: As far as I have been able to determine, these things are all but useless. They're supposed to be able to crimp a crimp bead so it has a round profile, which makes it more attractive than a flattened crimp bead. Maybe I'm incompetent, but I've never been able to use the crimping tool so that it successfully makes a tight and secure crimp. Don't bother. Use a flat-nose pliers to smush the crimp bead. For very delicate pieces, buy the smallest crimp beads you can find that still go on the wire, and buy rounds rather than tubes--they won't be bulky even when flattened and will still look elegant.

Wire-straightening pliers: Although I started out using this, I found it was simpler to straighten the wire using my fingers. If, however, you're arthritic, have sensitive skin or otherwise can't work wire with your fingers, then you may want to get a pair of wire-straightening pliers.

Wire Jig: Wire jigs are blocks of wood, metal or plastic that have pegs in them for wrapping wire around. They are handy for making even loops in complex designs, but they take a certain amount of dexterity to use and the beginning wire-wrapper might find trying to learn one frustrating. They tend to cost a fair amount when they're premade--you can make one yourself, if you have the right tools.

Soldering Equipment: Wire wrapping uses no soldering--at least, it needn't. If you want to learn to make your own jump rings and other findings, you may want to branch into soldering, but it's not necessary.

Hand File: Hand files are great for filing off rough edges when you cut wire. However, they're not vital...if money is tight, wait before you get a set of jeweler's needle files.

Mandrel: A mandrel is a usually round shape for coiling wire. While advanced jeweler's and anyone who makes rings from wire probably can't do without a mandrel, beginners should wait. In a pinch, for small links use knitting needles, nails or wooden dowels (ideas courtesy of Glen Waszek, author of Making Silver Chains). For larger shapes, use anything round of the appropriate size. Fingers, by the way, are neither hard enough nor regular enough.

Vise: A vise stabilizes a wire form when you use tools such as mandrels. It's unlikely beginners will need one.

Jeweler's Tweezers: Though convenient for acting as a third hand, tweezers are not vital.

Reccommended Books

All Wired Up: Wire Techniques For the Beadworker and Jewelry Maker (Beadwork How-To)
All Wired Up: Wire Techniques For the Beadworker and Jewelry Maker (Beadwork How-To)

I found this book intensely useful when self-teaching. Great illustrations, clear instructions.



Submit a Comment
  • thoughtfulgirl2 profile image


    7 years ago from East Coast

    Wonderful, informative hub and your jewelry is lovely:)

  • woothie profile image


    7 years ago from Ontario, Canada

    The garnet and silver fringe necklace is beautiful!

  • randomcreative profile image

    Rose Clearfield 

    7 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

    This is an awesome resource for anyone who just starting wire work or is looking for advice about what tool to use for a certain technique. Thanks!

  • Diane in Atlanta profile image

    Diane in Atlanta 

    9 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

    This article really covers the subject of wire wrapping well. I enjoyed it because I make jewelry as well, but have done a limited amount of work with wire.


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)