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Spacer Bars

Instructions for making spacer bar findings from jewelry wire using WigJig jewelry making tools:

Spacer Bar Jewelry Making Supply

A spacer bar is a simple component that separates two other components by a fixed distance.  Frequently a spacer bar is a component that is manufactured out of a thin metal bar, with holes drilled in both ends and perhaps in other locations.  You can view a commercially made two hole spacer bar at right.  Commercial spacer bars can come with two, three, four or even five holes and are frequently used to separate strands in a necklace or bracelet.

Spacer Bar Jewelry Wire Finding made out of jewelry wire shapped on WigJig jewelry tools.Like many other findings, we can also make our own spacer bars out of jewelry wire using a very simple pattern on any of our WigJig jewelry making tools.  Shown at left, is a simple, two hole spacer bar made out of jewelry wire.  In the following sections, we will provide instructions for making this simple spacer bar.  This simple spacer bar can be used to separate strands in a necklace or bracelet, or it can be used to connect components in earrings. 

A spacer bar can be made out of many different sizes of wire.  We frequently use 18 and 20 gauge wire, but 16 gauge would also work well.  22 gauge would be a little thin and might not be strong enough for all applications.  Jewelry wire smaller than 22 gauge (24 to 30 gauge) would not be strong enough to make a good spacer bar.

Jewelry Making Supplies

Jewelry Tools Required

  • Ruler,
  • Flush cutter,
  • Round nose pliers,
  • Bent chain nose pliers,
  • Nylon jaw pliers
  • Any WigJig Jewelry Making Tool,
  • 10 minutes of free time

Jewelry Making Skills Required:

  • Ability to cut jewelry wire with with a flush cutter.
  • Ability to straighten jewelry wire with nylon jaw pliers.
  • Ability to make a "P" loop in jewelry wire using round nose pliers. 
  • Ability to use our WigJig jewelry  tools to make jewelry wire components. 
  • Ability to use round nose pliers to make an eye loop in jewelry wire.
  • Ability to use chain nose pliers to open and close loops in jewelry wire. 

Spacer Bar Bail Jewelry Wire Finding made using WigJig jewelry making tools.Step-by-step instructions for making a spacer bar finding using WigJig jewelry tools to shape jewelry wire:

Step 1:  Cut a segment of 18 or 20 gauge jewelry wire two inches long. 

Step 2:  Make a "P" loop in the end of the jewelry wire segment with the flush cut.

Step 3:  Straighten the jewelry wire segment by holding the loop in the wire and repeatedly pulling the wire through the jaws of your nylon jaw pliers. 

Step 4:  Place the initial loop in the now straightened jewelry wire segment on a peg in your WigJig jewelry tool.  Place a second peg separated from the initial peg.  See the picture at right for how this would work.  You will need to space these pegs apart by a distance that is slightly less than the distance you ultimately want the finished piece.  The reason for this is that when we convert these "P" loops to eye loops in a later step, the centers of the holes will end up slightly further apart.

Step 5:  Now wrap the end of the jewelry wire around the second peg in this pattern on your WigJig jewelry tool.  See the picture below-center.  When wrapping the wire, push the wire with just the tip of the index finger on your dominant hand.  For many people, moving the jig while pushing the wire with your index finger in a stationary position works better than trying to move your finger while holding the jig stationary.  Push the wire with your finger as close to the peg as possible.  View our WigJig Basics Video to see this technique.

Step 6:  Remove the wire from your WigJig jewelry tool.  At this point your wire component should appear as shown below-right.  Your goal when making any wire component should be to cut your initial segment of jewelry wire so that you will have about 1/2" of excess wire.  In the picture shown at right, we have too much excess wire, so when we make our next spacer bar, we should start with less wire.

Step 4 to Instructions for Making a Jewelry Wire Spacer Bar out of Jewelry Wire Shaped on Jewelry Tools. Step 5 to Instructions for Making Jewelry Wire Spacer Bar Finding Using WigJig Jewelry Making Tools.

Step 6 to Instructions for Making a Jewelry Wire Spacer Bar Finding Using Wire Shapped on WigJig Jewelry Tools.
Step 4 Step 5 Step 6

Step 7 to Instructions for Making a Spacer Bar Jewelry Wire Finding Using Wire Shapped Using Common Jewelry Tools.Step 7:  Now, using your flush cutter, cut the excess jewelry wire.  Remember to cut the excess with the flat side of your flush cutter toward the finished wire component.  After cutting the excess wire, use your bent chain nose pliers to close that final loop.   When this is completed, the jewelry wire component should appear as shown at right.

Step 8:  We now need to convert the "P" loops on either end into eye loops.  This is done by grasping the wire at the loops and bending it by twisting your pliers.  The first step is to grasp the wire with your round nose pliers as shown below-left.  Hold the wire firmly but don't try to crush the wire.  Squeezing the wire too firmly will leave marks on the wire.

Step 9:  Twist your pliers while pushing the straight portion of the jewelry wire component with the thumb on your opposite hand.  Place your thumb close to the jaws of the pliers, but on the straight segment of wire.  When completed, the wire component should now appear as shown below-center.  Do this for the loops on both ends of the wire.  In the pictures below, the pliers were twisted clock-wise as viewed from the tips of the pliers. 

Step 10:  When you have completed step 9 on both ends of the jeelry wire component, your jewelry wire spacer bar is completed.  See the picture below-right for the finished product. 
 

Step 8 to Instructions for Making Jewelry Wire Spacer Bar Using Common Jewelry Making Tools.

 

Step 9 to Instructions for Making Jewelry Wire Spacer Bar out of Common Jewelry Making Supplies.

 


Finished Jewelry Wire Spacer Bar Jewelry Making Technique

Step 8 Step 9 Step 10

3 Hole Jewelry Wire Spacer Bar made using WigJig jewelry making tools.Multi-Hole Spacer Bars made using WigJig jewelry tools out of jewelry wire:

Shown below is a pattern for a three hole spacer bar.  To make a spacer bar with three holes use the pattern shown below on our WigJig jewelry tool and follow the steps described previously discussed with a 2 1/2 inch length of wire.  You will not need to convert the end loops to eye loops for this three hole spacer bar.  All you need to do after wrapping the wire on your jig is to cut the excess wire and close the final loop. 

Peg Pattern on WigJig Jewelry Making Tool  for 3 Strand Jewelry Wire Spacer BarMaking spacer bars with four or five holes is a simple expansion of the pattern shown by adding one or two more pegs. 

There is one drawback to a jewelry wire spacer bar with three or more holes.  That drawback is that the spacer bar is not the same thicknesses everywhere.  A commercially made spacer bar is made from a relatively thin bar of metal and has the same thickness at all points.  This design for a jewelry wire spacer bar is thicker at the middle hole and thinner at both ends.  This can be a disadvantage when used to space strands of a necklace or a bracelet.  This difference in thickness can be accommodated for by adding or removing seed beads from the bracelet or necklace.  With a three hole spacer bar, you could add one seed bead on one side of the spacer bar in the strand of the necklace or bracelet passing through the initial loop and add a seed bead on the opposite side of the spacer bar on the strand of the necklace passing through the final loop.  Where accommodating the difference in thickness of the ends of the spacer bar from the middle of the spacer bar is unacceptable, consider our improved technique for making a multi-hole spacer bar described below. 

Improved technique for making spacer bars with three or more holes out of jewelry wire using WigJig jewelry tools:

Our original 3 hole spacer bar had problems when making necklaces and bracelets because the outside two holes where 1/2 of the thickness of the middle hole.  This resulted in some changes in length of multi-strand braclets and necklaces for the two outside strands from the middle strand.  To eliminate this problem, we developed a new spacer bar design where all three loops were the same thickness.  Please see the pictures below for our original spacer bar design and our improved spacer bar design. 



3 Hole Spacer Bar made out of jewelry wire shapped on WigJig jewelry tools.
Improved 3 hole spacer bar made out of common jewelry supplies using WigJig jewelry making tools.
Original 3 Hole
Spacer Bar
Improved 3 Hole
Spacer Bar

Advanced Spacer Bar Step-by-Step Jewelry Making Instructions using WigJig jewelry making tools to shape jewelry wire:

Step 1 to instructions for making a 3 Hole Spacer Bar using jewelry wire shaped using common jewelry tools.Step 1:  Using your fine step jaw pliers (Item 4003 in our Internet store) start by making 1 1/2 loops in your jewelry wire.  Instead of beginning with just a single "P" loop, continue wrapping the wire around another 180 degrees.  

Step 2:  Position two regular metal pegs in your WigJig jewelry tool separated by the width of the widest beads you will use in your bracelet.  In the picture shown below-left, we have seperated the pegs by an amount that would be appropriate for 6mm beads.  When using 8mm beads consider positioning your pegs in a row horizontally instead of on the diagonal, also separated by one empty hole.  The jewelry making jig shown in this picture is the WigJig Delphi or Centaur or Centaur Lite jewelry tools.  After you have properly positioned your pegs, place your inital loop and 1/2 on one of the pegs as shown below-left.  Please note that the extra 1/2 loop should be on top and the long wire segment should be touching your WigJig jewelry tools everywhere. 

Step 2 to instructions for making 3 Hole Spacer Bar showing jewelry wire shaped on WigJig jewelry tools. Step 3 to instructions for making an advanced 3 Hole Spacer Bar using WigJig jewelry tools to shape jewelry wire components.
Step 2 Step 3

Step 3:  Wrap the jewelry wire about the second peg in your pattern as shown above right.  When you have completed the wrap, the wire should rest adjacent to the empty hole for the next peg in the pattern. 

Step 4: First, remove your jewelry wire component from your WigJig jewelry tool.  Now we need to add our third peg to the pattern in your jewelry making jig.  Use the same hole spacing as you did above.  Then replace the jewelry wire on the jewelry making jig in the mirror image position.  This is important so that the spacing will be as good as we can make it.  When the jewelry wire is properly placed on the jewelry making jig, the wire between the second and third pegs should rest on the jig itself and the wire between the first and second pegs should be elevated off the WigJig jewelry tool by one thickness of your wire.  See the picture below-left. 

Step 4 to instructions for making an advanced 3 Hole Spacer Bar by shaping jewelry wire on WigJig jewelry tools. Step 5 to instructions for making an advanced 3 Hole Spacer Bar showing jewelry wire on WigJig jewelry making tool.
Step 4 Step 5

Step 5: Now wrap your jewelry wire around the third peg 1 1/2 times as shown above right. 

Finished 3 Hole Spacer Bar made out of jewelry wire and shown in two orientations.Step 6: Using your flush cutter, cut the excess wire.  Place the piece back on your fine step jaw pliers and squeeze the cut end so that it is flat with the rest of the loop.  The finished piece should appear as show at right.  We show the finished spacer bar in two orientations.  You can see that all three loops in the spacer bar are now two thicknesses of your jewelry wire.  

Making Spacer Bars with 4, 5, or 6 holes using WigJig jewelry tools to shape jewelry wire:

You can make spacer bars with 4, 5 or 6 holes.  To do this you will follow the same steps we described above, but on the third hole you will complete one full wrap as you did around the second peg.  Then you can add your fourth peg.  You will still need to remove the jewelry wire component and replace it on your jewelry making jig in the mirror image position as you add every new peg.  Your goal is that as you wrap the wire around every new peg, the jewelry wire will start adjacent to the base of your WigJig jewelry tool and wrap up and over itself to create the second layer of wire.  End your four, five or six hole spacer bar the way we did above by wrapping the jewelry wire around the final peg 1 1/2 times. 

Summary of Spacer Bar jewelry making project:

The improved technique for making a spacer bar out of jewelry wire is a much better approach for making multi-hole spacer bars.  We strongly suggest that you use this improved technique whenever you are making a three strand or four strand necklace or bracelet.  When making a two hole spacer bar, the improved technique is not a factor. 

 

 



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