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Loops - An Overview

Instructions in making loops in jewelry wire using common jewelry tools:

Making loops in jewelry wire is one of the most basic skills in making jewelry.  In this section we will discuss "P" loops, Eye Loops, Open Loops, Wrapped Loops and Figure 8 Connectors.   Please also view WigJig Video 2 on Making P Loops and Eye Loops, and WigJig Video 3 on Making a Wrapped Loop

Making a "P" Loop out of jewelry wire using common jewelry making tools.
"P" Loop

Making an Eye Loop out of jewelry wire using common jewelry making tools.
Eye Loop


Open Loop in jewelry wire using common jewelry making tools.
Open Loop

Making a Wrapped Loop in jewelry wire using common jewelry making tools.
Wrapped
Loop


Making a Figure 8 Connector out of jewelry wire using common jewelry making tools.
Figure 8
Connector
   

Jewelry Making Supplies Required:

Jewelry Making Tools Required:

  • Round Nose Pliers
  • Flush Cutter
  • Chain Nose or Bent Chain Nose Pliers
  • Nylon Jaw Pliers (recommended)

Jewelry Making Skills Required:

  • Ability to straighten jewelry wire using nylon jaw pliers.
  • Ability to cut jewelry wire using a flush cutter.
  • Ability to use jewelry tools to make a loop in jewelry wire shown below.

Making Loops Jewelry Making SkillMaking a Loop in Jewelry Wire With Round Nose Pliers:

The first technique or skill for making wire components that we will discuss is how to make a "P" Loop.  The "P" loop is called a "P" loop because it resembles the letter "P".  This is one of the most basic skills required in making jewelry.  You can view a properly made "P" loop at right.  The steps for making most jewelry wire components begin by making a "P" loop.

Step-by-step instructions for making a "P" loop in jewelry wire;

Step 1:  Begin making a "P" loop by grasping a straight segment of jewelry wire with your round nose pliers.  If you don't know what round nose pliers are, follow the link above-right for Jewelry Making Tools.  Grasp the jewelry wire in the jaws of your round nose pliers so that only a very small amount of wire shows on the opposite side of your round nose pliers as shown below-left.  You must grasp the wire firmly enough so that it won't slip in the jaws of your pliers, but not too firmly.  Grasping the jewelry wire too firmly will leave markes called "Tool Marks" on the inside and outside of your jewelry wire loop. 

Step 2:  While holding the jewelry wire firmly in the jaws of your round nose pliers with the pliers in your non-dominant hand, use the thumb on your dominant hand to push the wire around the jaw of your pliers as far as you can until the jaws of the pliers prohibit you from pushing any further.  See the picture below-center.

Step 3:  If you look very closely at the jewelry wire in your pliers you will note the the loop has a very small opening where the rounded wire piece does not touch the straight wire piece.  We need to close this small gap or opening.  We do this by repositioning the wire in the jaws of your pliers so that you will have plenty of room to push the wire and close the small gap.  Slide the loop as far down the jaws of your pliers as you can and firmly grasp the wire.  Push the wire so that the gap is closed.  The resulting "P" loop should have straight wire connected to the rounded "P" with almost no gap between the start of the wire and the straight jewelry wire segment that forms the backbone of the "P".   Please view the picture below-right.

Step1 to instructions on how to Make a P Loop in jewelry wire using common jewelry making tools. Making a "P" Loop in jewelry wire Step 2 showing shaping the jewelry wire on common jewelry tools.


Instructions for making A "p" Loop in jewelry wire Step 3 showing gripping the wire in common jewelry tools.
Step 1 Step 2 Step 3

 

Common Errors When Making Loops in Jewelry Wire using common jewelry tools:

The below pictures show some common mistakes that can be made in making loops.  Each one of these situations is certain to get you a citation from the Loop Police for "Improper Looping" if they happen to catch you making these loops.  (Editor's Note:  Getting a citation from the Loop Police is not a good thing.)

Errors in making a loop in jewelry wire using common jewelry tools -- Loop Not Round.
Loop  Not
Round
Errors in making a loop in jewelry wire using common jewelry tools -- Loop Made at Sharp End of Wire.
Loop Made with
Sharp End of Wire
Errors in making a loop in jewelry wire using common jewelry tools -- Loop Not Closed
Loop Not
Closed

Errors in making a loop in jewelry wire using common jewelry tools -- Loop Not Straight
Loop Not
Straight

The loop that was not round happened because too much jewelry wire was placed initially through the jaws of your round nose pliers.  It is important that you minimize the amount of wire sticking through your round nose pliers.  You should have 1/16" of jewelry wire showing or less. 

When cutting jewelry wire, your flush cutters will generally cut the wire and leave one end with a "flush" or flat cut and the other with a sharp end.  In the second loop shown above, the sharp end of the jewelry wire was used to make this loop instead of the flush end.  This is a serious looping violation!  The sharp end of cut jewelry wire should always end up in the trash can and not on your finished jewelry.  Please note that this is a level 2 loop infraction that can lead to loss of blood if you are not careful.

The third loop above shows a loop that is not fully closed.  This is a minor looping infraction and shows that the maker did not complete the task.  You can easily close Bent Closing Pliers Jewelry Making Toolthis loop before you incorporate it in jewelry by inserting one jaw of your round nose pliers all the way into the loop and grasping the loop and twisting it fully closed.  Once this loop has been incorporated into jewelry, this technique will not work; and you will probably require Loop Closing Pliers or Bent Closing Pliers to close the loop.  These pliers have a groove ground into the jaws of the pliers so that the jewelry wire will not slip as you squeeze the loop closed.  You can view this tool at right. 

The fourth loop above is the opposite error of the loop not closed loop.  In this case, the loop was fully closed and then the jewelry wire was pushed even further so that the back of the loop is no longer straight.  This loop should be cut off and you should start over with a new piece of wire as it is almost impossible to repair this looping violation. 

Making Loops in Jewelry Wire showing a "P" Loop made with common jewelry tools.The final looping error that we should discuss is making the wrong size loop.  Obviously it is important that the loops in a jewelry component be approximately the same size.  With most patterns on our WigJig jewelry tools, the loop must be just slightly larger than the peg for that WigJig jewelry tool. The size of the loop made is determined by where you grasp the wire on your round nose pliers.  If you make your loop with the jewelry wire grasped closer to the tips of the jaws of your pliers, your loop will be smaller.  If you grasp the wire closer to the jaws of the pliers, your loop will be bigger.  For this reason, consistency is important.  You need to get into the habit of grasping the jewelry wire at the same point on the jaws of your pliers every time. 

 

There is a tool that can help with making consistently sized loops.  It is a tool that we Step Jaw Pliers Jewelry Making Tooluse all the time, called Step Jaw Pliers.  Step Jaw Pliers are pliers with one rounded jaw with three steps and one flat jaw.  The rounded jaw having three steps will always make loops in one of three sizes.  This makes it much easier to be consistent.  The flat jaw will not leave a mark on the outside of the loop because the flat face of this jaw spreads the gripping force over a larger area.  (Please note that there are some brands of Step Jaw Pliers that have a concave jaw along with the stepped jaw.  This is a tool that was invented by someone who doesn't use step jaw pliers.  Unfortunately the tool with the rounded jaw leaves two marks on your wire at each edge of the concave jaw.  We strongly recommend that you avoid this tool.) 

Since we started using the Fine Step Jaw Pliers shown in the picture here, we haven't received a single citation from the looping police for improperly-sized loops.  This tool really works!

Making Loops in Jewelry Wire Using the Fine Step Jaw Pliers -- Jewelry tool.Making a "P" Loop in Jewelry Wire with Step Jaw Pliers jewelry tool:

Making a "P" loop with step jaw pliers is very similar to making a loop with round nose pliers.   The steps are shown below:

Step-by-step instructions for making loops using Step Jaw Pliers jewelry tool:

Step 1A:  Grip the jewelry wire with the step jaw pliers.  Hold the pliers in your non-dominant hand.  Allow about 1/16" of jewelry wire to show through the jaws of the pliers.  Use the first step as shown below to make a loop for our WigJig Delphi, Cyclops or Centaur jewelry making tools.  

Step 1 to making a loop in jewelry wire with the step jaw pliers -- jewelry making tool.
Step 1A to making a loop in jewelry wire with the step jaw pliers -- jewelry making tools.
Step 1A Top View Step 1A End View

Step 2A:  Using the thumb on your dominant hand, place your thumb under the jewelry wire, as close to the pliers as possible, and push the wire up and over the jaw of the pliers.

Step 2 to making a loop in jewelry wire with the step jaw pliers -- jewelry making tool.
Step 2A to making a loop in jewelry wire with step jaw pliers -- jewelry making tools.
Step 2B Top View Step 2 End View

Step 3A:  You will not be able to complete the loop in step 2 and will need to relax your grip on the jewelry wire and reposition the wire so that you can push the wire to close the gap in the loop.  Reposition the wire as shown here.

Step 3 to making a loop in jewelry wire with step jaw pliers -- jewelry making tool.
Step 3A to making a loop in jewelry wire with step jaw pliers -- jewelry making tools.
Step 3A Top View Step 3A End View

Step 4 to making a loop using step jaw pliers -- jewelry making techniqueStep 4A:  Now grip the wire firmly in the jaws of the pliers and again, using the thumb on your dominant hand, push the jewelry wire until the gap in the loop is closed.  Use care to make sure that you don't push the wire too far.  Stop pushing as soon as the gap in the loop is closed.  When you have pushed the wire far enough it will appear as shown at right.  Because one jaw on the step jaw pliers is flat, that jaw will not mark the outside of your loop of jewelry wire.  For this reason, you can grip the wire more firmly when using step jaw pliers without having to worry about visible tool marks.

The advantages to using step jaw pliers are 1.  each loop is the same size and 2. the flat jaw of the step jaw pliers does not mark the jewelry wire so you will not have any marks on the outside of your loop.  When making jewelry on a WigJig jewelry tool, it is always a good idea to make the initial loop for your piece using the step jaw pliers. That way you will always have a loop that is the right size. 

Step jaw pliers aren't perfect for every application and can not replace round nose pliers when making bead dangles, wrapped loops or eye loops. 

Making Loops in Heavy Gauge Jewelry Wire using common jewelry making tools.Making a "P" Loop in Larger Sizes of Jewelry Wire Using Common Jewelry Tools:

The final technique for making "P" Loops that we will discuss is the technique for making "P" loops in larger gauge wire and/or very hard wire.  With this wire, you will often find that the wire is too stiff to be able to easily make an initial loop in the jewelry wire.  When you try to grasp only 1/16" of wire into the jaws of your round nose pliers the wire will slip out of place.  Here is a technique that we recommend using with larger gauges of jewelry wire.  Begin with about 1/8" of wire sticking through the jaws of your pliers or more if necessary.  This would normally cause a looping violation for a loop that isn't round.  Here is how we avoid getting a citation from the Loop Police for a non-round loop.  Make a loop in your jewelry wire that is more than 360 degrees, but offset this loop as shown in the picture above-right.  To complete the loop once you have the jewelry wire in the position as shown above, you use your flush cutter and cut the excess wire at the point where the wire begins to cross itself.  That will leave a loop that is opened.  You will need to close this loop using your bent chain nose pliers to twist the loop into the fully closed position. 

This technique for making loops results in some excess jewelry wire being wasted, but provides you with a nice round loop in a heavy or stiff piece of wire.  In this case the trade off is worth it.  Please see the paragraphs below for some additional detailed pictures in how to make loops in larger gauges of wire using your step jaw pliers. 

Step 1B:  While, holding your pliers in your non-dominant hand, grasp the jewelry wire in your round nose or step jaw pliers with about 1/8" of wire sticking beyond the edge of the jaws of the pliers as shown at left. 

Step 2B:  Push the jewelry wire with the thumb of your dominant hand until the wire bends slightly more than 180 degrees.  When you reach the point where the jaws of your pliers will not allow you to push the wire any further, proceed to step 3. 

Step 3B:  Re-orientate the jewelry wire in the jaws of  your pliers so that you can complete the loop.  This will require re-gripping the wire so that you will have room to push it further.

Step 4B:  Push the jewelry wire so that it makes more than a complete loop as shown below-right.  Your goal is to have the wire tightly follow the round shape of your pliers for more than a complete loop. 

Making Loops in 16 Gauge Jewelry Wire Step 1 -- Showing the Wire held on Common Jewelry making tools.

Step 2 to Making Loops in Larger Gauges of Jewelry Wire Using Common Jewelry Making Tools. Step 3 to Making Loops in Larger Gauges of Jewelry Wire Using Common Jewelry Making Tools. Step 4 to Making Loops in Larger Gauges of Jewelry Wire Using Common Jewelry Making Tools.
Step 1B Step 2B Step 3B Step 4B

Step 5B:  Remove the jewelry wire from your pliers and it should appear as shown below-left.

Step 6B:  Cut the excess jewelry wire with your flush cutter.  Remember to orientate the jaws of your flush cutter so that the flat side of your flush cutter is toward the finished loop.  See the picture below center-left.

Step 7B:  After cutting the excess jewelry wire, your loop should appear as shown below center-right.  Please note that this loop is partially opened and needs to be closed to be finished.  

Step 8B:  Close the loop by gripping the loop in the jaws of your bent chain nose pliers and twisting the loop closed.  The finished loop should appear as shown below-right.


Step 5b to Making Loops in Larger Gauge Jewelry Wire Using Common Jewelry Making Tools.
Step 6b to Making Loops in Larger Gauges of Jewelry Wire Using Common Jewelry Making Tools.
Step 7b  to Making Loops in Larger Gauges of Jewelry Wire Using Common Jewelry Making Tools.

Step 8b to Making Loops in Larger Gauges of Jewelry Wire Using Common Jewelry Making Tools
Step 5B Step 6B Step 7B Step 8B

 

In the following paragraph we will discuss how to turn a "P" loop into an "eye loop". 

 

Instructions for Making Eye Loops in Jewelry Wire using Common Jewelry Tools.

Making an Eye Loop in Jewelry Wire using common jewelry tools:

The next looping technique or skill we will discuss is how to make eye loops.  With this technique an eye loop is made by first making a "P" loop and then modifying it with your round nose pliers.  Eye loops are very popular because the loop is centered on the jewelry wire leading to the loop.  Aesthetically this is more pleasing than a "P" loop for most jewelry applications.  

To make an eye loop, grasp your "P" loop with the tips of your round nose pliers as shown below-left then twist your pliers while holding the jewelry wire as shown below-right. 

Step 1c to making an eye loop in jewelry wire using common  jewelry making tools.
Step 2c to making an Eye Loop in jewelry wire using common Jewelry Making Tools.
Step 1C Step 2C

Frequently you will find that making an eye loop using this technique will cause the loop to open up slightly.  This is normal.  To close any gap that opens, use your bent closing pliers and gently squeeze the eye loop so that the gap is closed.

You can view more pictures on how to make an eye loop in jewelry wire here.

In the following sections, we will discuss making opened and wrapped loops.  You will notice that an open loop looks identical to an eye loop and this technique can be used as an alternative way to make an eye loop. 

 

Instructions for Making Eye Loops in Jewelry Wire Using Common Jewelry Making Tools.l

Making a Bead Dangle with an Open Loop out of Jewelry Wire and Beads:

Making an open loop bead dangle is another technique for making an eye Open Loop made in Jewelry Wire Using Common Jewelry Tools -- Completed Bead Dangleloop in the end of a wire component.  This technique is frequently used when making a bead dangle to hang beads from earrings or necklace components.  The open loop is not as strong a way to make a bead dangle (shown at left) as the "wrapped loop" technique that we will discuss later, but this technique is totally appropriate for applications like earrings where there won't be significant weight or force applied to the loop.  Please see WigJig Video 4 on Making a Bead Dangle.

Step 1D:  Insert your head pin or jewelry wire component through your beads and grasp the wire immediately above your beads with your bent chain nose pliers as shown at right.  Use the tips of your pliers as you will want to minimize the amount of wire above the beads.  This technique is easier to accomplish in a more consistent manner when using 1/2 hard jewelry wire.  See the picture below-left. 

Step 2D:  Using your thumb push the jewelry wire over about 90 degrees.  Push the jewelry wire with your thumb as close to your pliers as possible so that you get a crisp bend (as opposed to a rounded bend.)  See the picture below-center.

Step 3D:  Using your round nose pliers grasp the jewelry wire on the horizontal segment, but as close to the bend as possible.  See the picture below-right for the orientation of your pliers relative to the bend.  Grasp the wire in roughly the middle of your round nose pliers according to the size of the loop that you want to make. 

Open Loop Jewerly Making Technique Step 1D showing using jewelry tools to grasp jewelry wire bead dangle. Open Loop Jewerly Making Technique Step 2D Showing using jewelry tools to shape jewelry wire in a bead dangle. Open Loop Jewerly Making Technique Step 3D showing making a loop in jewelry wire using common jewelry making tools.
Step 1D Step 2D Step 3D

Step 4D:  Using your thumb, push the jewelry wire up and over the upper jaw in your round nose pliers.  Again, push the wire with your thumb as close to the pliers as possible. 

Step 5D:  In order to complete the loop you will have to re-orientate the jewelry wire component in your pliers otherwise the lower jaw of your pliers will prevent you from completing the loop. 

Open Loop Jewerly Making Technique Step 4D showing using common jewelry tools to shape jewelry wire into a loop.

Open Loop Jewerly Making Technique Step 5D showing re-orienting a jewelry wire component using common jewelry making tools.
Step 4D Step 5D

 

Step 6D:  With the jewelry wire component re-orientated in your pliers, continue pushing the wire until you have completed the loop as shown below-left.

Step 7D:  At this point we need to visually inspect the loop and ensure that it is centered.  If it is slightly off center, insert the loop fully in your pliers and twist it one way or the other until the loop is centered over the vertical jewelry wire segment above the beads. 

Step 8D:  Now we are ready to cut the excess jewelry wire.  Orientate your flush cutter so that the flat side of your cutter is toward the finished wire component and cut the excess wire at the point were it overlaps the beginning of the loop. 

Step 9D:  After cutting the excess wire the loop will be slightly open as shown at left.  We need to close this opening.  This is done with your bent chain nose pliers, grasping the loop and twisting so that it is closed.  The finished, closed loop will appear as shown at right. 



Open Loop Jewerly Making Technique Step 6D showing completing a loop in jewelry wire using common jewelry making tools.
Open Loop Jewerly Making Technique Step 7D showing shaping jewelry wire using common jewelry tools. Open Loop Jewerly Making Technique Step 8D showing cutting jewelry wire using common jewelry tools. Open Loop Jewerly Making Technique Step 9D showing completed open loop in jewelry wire.
Step 6D Step 7D Step 8D Step 9D

Open Loop Jewerly Making Technique Step 10D showing completed bead dangle made with common jewelry making tools.These instructions continue with instructions on how to make a wrapped loop.  The wrapped loop is very popular in making wire components because it is strong and can be used essentially in any jewelry component. 

 

 

 

 

 

Wrapped Loop made in jewelry wire using common jewelry making tools.Making a Wrapped Loop in Jewelry Wire with Round Nose Pliers Jewelry Tool:

The wrapped loop is one of the more important skills involved in the wire working technique called "Wire Wrapping". This technique is important Wrapped Loop showing two jewelry wire components connected via wrapped loops.because it allows us to make a loop in wire that is as strong as if it were cast or soldered.  This is very important for making beaded chains and for connecting wire components into chains that are very strong.  You can view a wrapped loop at right.  This technique can also be used to make a bead dangle using a head pin as shown at left.  The steps involved in making a wrapped loop bead dangle are described below.  Please view our WigJig Video Lesson 3.

Step 1E:  Slide your beads onto your head pin all the way down.  While holding the head pin upright, grasp the wire immediately above the beads with your bent chain nose pliers. See the picture below-left. 

Step 2E:  Bend the wire over to an angle of about 90 degrees.  Ensure that you have about 1" or 25 mm of wire on the now horizontal wire segment.  See the picture below center-left.

Step 3E:  Grasp the horizontal jewelry wire segment in your round nose pliers on the horizontal segment, but as close to the 90 degree bend as possible.  See the picture below center-right.

Step 4E:  Using your thumb, push the jewelry wire up and over the jaw of your round nose pliers as shown below-right. 

Wrapped Loop Jewelry Making Technique Step 1E showing gripping jewelry wire component with jewelry tools.
Wrapped Loop Jewelry Making Technique Step 2E showing bend in jewelry wire made using jewelry tools.

Instructions for Making a Wrapped Loop Step 3E showing using jewelry making tools to make a loop in jewelry wire.

Instructions for making a Wrapped Loop Step 4E showing jewelry wire being shaped by jewelry making tools.
Step 1E Step 2E Step 3E Step 4E

Step 5E:  At this point you will need to re-orientate the jewelry wire in the jaws of your pliers so that you can complete the loop.  Re-grip the wire as shown below-left.

Step 6E:  Complete the loop as shown below-right. 

Instructions for Making a Wrapped Loop Step 5E showing using jewelry tools to shape jewelry wire into a loop. Instructions for making a Wrapped Loop Step 6E showing a loop in jewelry wire made using common jewelry tools.
Step 5E Step 6E

 

Instructions for Making a Wrapped Loop Step 7E Showing loop in jewelry wire made by jewelry tools.

Step 7E:  Remove the jewelry wire from your pliers.  At this point we need to inspect the loop to see if the loop is centered over the vertical wire.  If the loop isn't centered (which happens most of the time), slide one jaw of your round nose pliers all the way into the loop so that the entire inside of the loop is touching the jaw of your pliers.  Then grip the loop and twist it slightly so that the loop is properly aligned so that the vertical wire points to the center of the loop.  For the loop shown at right, you would twist the loop slightly clockwise as we are looking at it to center the loop over the wire and beads below it. 

 

Instructions for making a Wrapped Loop Step 8 shoing connecting jewelry wire components prior to wrapping.

Step 8E:  Now we are ready to connect this loop into your jewelry component.  This obviously must be accomplished before wrapping the loop closed if you are connecting to another closed loop as shown above-left. 

Instructions for making a Wrapped Loop Step 9E showing gripping jewelry wire with jewelry making tools.Step 9E:  With your loop connected as described above, grasp the loop using your bent chain nose pliers.  Grasp it firmly.  We aren't trying to crush the loop only to make sure that it doesn't move.  To be able to accomplish this step, as shown at right, you need one of two things --  Either you need pliers with jaws that are thin so that you can grasp the loop and still have room to wrap the loop closed, or the other alternative is that you need to make a larger loop in steps 3, 4, and 5 so that you will have room for the jaws of your bent chain nose pliers.  We have worked with manufacturers to develop bent chain nose pliers with thinner jaws called our Fine Bent Nose Pliers.    If you don't have these pliers, make a larger loop, so that you will have room to grasp the loop with your pliers.  Grasping and holding the loop while you wrap the wire preserves the round Instructions for making a Wrapped Loop Step 10E showing wrapping loop in jewelry wire closed.shape of your loop.

Step 10E:  Wrap the jewelry wire around one, two or three turns according to the needs of your project.  In general, it is good to wrap as many turns as necessary to cover the wire between your loop and your beads.  Try to be consistent and use the same number of wraps each time.  While wrapping the wire, keep the wire tail that you are wrapping perpendicular to the wire that you are wrapping it around. 

 

Step 11E:  When you have completed your wrap, you will need to cut the excess wire.  Do this with your flush cutter, holding the flat side of your cutter toward the finished piece as shown below-left. 

Step 12E:  When you have cut the excess wire, you will have a very small wire tail that will stick out at the cut end of the wire (See picture 12Da below center-left).  If done correctly it will only protrude about 1mm, but even this small amount is too much so we need to squeeze and twist this wire tail flat.  This is done by holding your loop in your bent chain nose or fine chain nose pliers as shown in picture 12Db below center-right and using a second pair of chain nose or flat nose pliers, squeezing and slightly twisting, so that the small wire tail will lay flat and not protrude.  When done correctly, the small wire tail will disappear. 

Instructions for making a wrapped loop Step 11E showing cutting the jewelry wire with jewelry tools.

Instructions for making a wrapped loop Step 12Ea showing gripping the jewelry wire with common jewelry tools. Instructions for making a wrapped loop Step 12Eb showing the jewelry wire component after squeezing the wire tail flat. Instructions for making a wrapped loop Step 13E showing the completed jewelry wire component.
Step 11E Step 12Ea Step 12Eb Finished Wrapped Loop

This completes your wrapped loop.  These same steps will apply if you are using this loop to connect a bead dangle and head pin in earrings and/or necklace, or if you are making a wrapped loop as a component in a chain.  If more detailed instructions would help you to better understand this skill, we suggest purchase of our "Wire Design Basics" online book. 

Making a Wrapped Loop in Jewelry Wire With our Step Jaw Pliers Jewelry Tool:

Making a wrapped loop with your step jaw pliers is slightly more difficult than using your round nose pliers, but the finished loop will be more consistently sized when made using your step jaw pliers.  Beginners should employ the technique with round nose pliers that we described above. 

Making a Wrapped Loop showing a bend made in jewelry wire.Step 1F:  Using your bent chain nose pliers, grasp the jewelry wire at the point where you want to make the loop and make a roughly 90 degree bend as shown near right.  (Allow about 1 1/2 to 2 inches of jewelry wire on the short side of the bend.)  Since you are using smaller gauges of wire to make the wrapped loop, you can bend the wire slightly more than 90 degrees as shown at right. 

Step 2F:  Grasp the jewelry wire at the bend using your step jaw pliers as shown below-left. 

Step 3F:  Bend the jewelry wire back toward the bend about 30 degrees by twisting your pliers counter-clockwise with your pliers orientated as shown.  In this case a small bend is better because you can go back later and correct it if you haven't bent enough, but it is more difficult to correct when you bend too far.  See the picture center-left.  This picture is a little confusing.  The 30 degree bend happens in the very short straight wire segment betweek the jaws of the pliers and the bend in the wire you made in step 1.  The 30 degree bend should not happen on the long wire segment below the bend you made in step 1. 

Step 4F:  Continue gripping the jewelry wire with your pliers and push the end of the wire around the round jaw of the pliers as shown center-right.  The jaws of the pliers will prevent you from pushing the wire all the way around.

Step 5F:  In order to complete this open loop, you need to relax your grip on the jewelry wire and re-position the wire on the pliers as shown below-right. 


Step 2F to instructions for making a Wrappe Loop in jewelry wire using the step jaw pliers jewelry making tool.
Step 3F to instructions for making a Wrapped Loop using the step jaw pliers jewelry making tool.


Step 4F to instructions for making a Wrapped Loop in jewelry wire using the step jaw pliers jewelry tool.
Step 5F to instructions for making a Wrapped Loop in jewelry wire using the step jaw pliers jewelry making tool.
Step 2F Step 3F Step 4F Step 5F

Step 6F:    Push the jewelry wire tail around the jaws of your pliers until the end of the wire is perpendicular to the long wire segment as shown below-left. 

Step 7F:    Remove the jewelry wire from your fine step jaw pliers and the wire should appear as shown below-left.  . 

Step 8F:  Connect the loop to the next element in the jewelry before wrapping the loop closed.  In the picture below-center, we show how the wrapped loop would appear after you had grasp the loop with your bent chain nose pliers and held the loop firmly with the pliers while you used your thumb on your dominant hand to push the wire and wrap the wire around itself about 2 times.  . 

Step 9F:  To finish the wrapped loop, cut the excess wire and using one pair of bent chain nose pliers to hold the loop and a second pair of chain nose or bent chain nose pliers to squeeze and wrap the wire to cause the wire tail to wrap flat, as shown below-right. 

Step 6F to Making a Wrapped Loop in jewelry wire using common jewelry tools. Step 7F to instructions for making an Wrapped Loop using the step jaw pliers jewelry making tool. Step 8F to Making a Wrapped Loop showing jewelry wire wrapped around itself to set loop. Step 9F to Making a Wrapped Loop showing the completed loop in jewelry wire.
Step 6F Step 7F Step 8F Step 9F

 

Instructions for Making Figure 8 Connectors out of jewelry wire.

Making a Figure 8 Connector out of Jewelry Wire using common jewelry tools:

We discuss the figure 8 connector many times in this web site.  The reason is simple -- we use the figure 8, or a similar connector that we call a modified figure 8 connector, frequently.  It can be used to connect a clasp to a chain.  One Piece Chandelier Earrigns Jewelry Making Project showing figure 8 connector.It can be used to connect an earring body to an ear wire finding.  Frequently we use a figure 8 connector as a way to connect two loops, that would be otherwise impractical to connect, for a variety of reasons including a size mis-match.  We also use a figure 8 connector as shown above-right to connect two loops and change the orientation of the loops that are connected.  This approach is frequently used when connecting an earring body to an ear wire as shown at left.  Using the figure 8 connector allows us to change the orientation of the earring body, so that in this case it will hang parallel to the wearer's ear.  Instructions for making a figure 8 connector begin below. 

Step 1G:  Select a piece of jewelry wire at least 1 1/2" long.  Make a regular "P" loop in one end of this wire using your round nose pliers. 

Step 2G:  Hold this loop and straighten the jewery wire.    

Step 3G:  Now using your round nose pliers again, grip the jewelry wire as shown at left.  Try to grip the wire at the same point in your pliers as you used when you made your first loop in step 1. 

Step 4G:  Using your thumb, push the jewelry wire up and over the jaw of your pliers making a second loop in the wire. 

Step 1G to instructions for Making a Figure 8 Connector out of jewelry wire using common jewelry making tools. Step 3G to instructions for making a figure 8 connector using common jewelry making tools to shape jewelry wire. Step 4G to instructions for Making a Figure 8 Connector out of jewelry wire shaped by common jewelry tools.
Step 1G Step 3G Step 4G

Step 5G:  Now reposition the jewelry wire in the jaws of your pliers so that you can tightly finish this second loop.  Your jewelry wire should be in the position shown below-left. Pull the wire so that the second loop in the wire rests tightly against the jaws of your pliers making it a round loop. 

Step 6G:  Remove the jewelry wire from your pliers and using your flush cutter cut the wire at the point where the wire tail crosses the figure 8 connector. 

step 5 to instructions for Making a Figure 8 connector out of jewelry wire using common jewelry making tools. Step 6G to instructions for Making a Figure 8 Connector showing cutting the jewelry wire with common jewelry making tools.
Step 5G Step 6G

Step 7G:  Using your bent chain nose pliers close this final loop and you have a completed figure 8 connector.

Many times you will find that you need to make a lot of figure 8 connectors.  Below we will discuss the technique for making many figure 8 connectors one after the other. 

 

Making multiple Figure 8 Connectors out of jewelry wire by shaping the wire on common jewelry tools.

Making Multiple Figure 8 Connectors out of Jewelry Wire Using the Fine Step Jaw Pliers jewelry tool:

In the prior section, we discussed how to make a single figure 8 connector.  Here, we will discuss how to make a lot of figure 8 connectors while conserving your wire. 

Step 1H:  Straighten a segment of jewelry wire at least 1 inch long.  Be certain that you have a flush cut on the end of the jewelry wire.    See the picture below-left. 

Step 2H:  Grasp near the end of the jewelry wire with your Fine Step Jaw Pliers.  See the picture below-center. 

Step 3H:  Make a loop in the end of the jewelry wire.  This is a two or three step process that we described above.  You will need to twist the pliers to make a partial loop, then re-orientate the wire so that you can complete the loop.  In the picture below-right, you can see that we need to squeeze and twist the pliers one more time until the loop is fully closed. 

Instructions for Making Many Figure 8 Connectors Step 1H showing a straight segment of jewelry wire. Instructions for Making Many Figure 8 Connectors -- Jewelry Making Technique Step 2H Showing gripping the jewelry wire with jewelry making tools. Instructions for Making Many Figure 8 Connectors Step 3H showing making a loop in jewelry wire using jewelry tools.
Step 1H Step 2H Step 3H

Step 4H:  Remove your jewelry wire from your pliers.  You loop should appear as shown below-left. 

Step 5H:  Now we need to make the second loop in the figure 8 connector.  You can use your fine step jaw pliers, but perhaps the easiest way is to grasp the jewelry wire as near the first loop as possible with your round nose pliers.  First, insert your round nose pliers into the initial loop so that you can see where on the round nose pliers you need to grip the wire so that both loops will be the same size.  Then grip the wire at that point as shown below-center. 

Step 6H:  Complete the second loop as shown below-right.  This is a two or three step process as you will need to do about 1/2 a loop, then re-orientate the jewelry wire on your pliers so that you can fully complete the loop.  After you have reoriented the wire, push the wire the rest of the way around the jaws of your pliers.  When completed it will appear as shown. 


Instructions for Making Many Figure 8 Connectors Step 4H showing loop in jewelry wire.
Instructions for Making Many Figure 8 Connectors Step 5H showing using jewelry tools to grip jewelry wire prior to making a loop. Instructions for Making Many Figure 8 Connectors Step 6H showing jewelry wire shaped by jewelry tools.
Step 4H Step 5H Step 6H

Step 7H:  Remove the jewelry wire from the jaws of your pliers and it should appear as shown below-left. 

Step 8H:  Now you need to cut the excess jewelry wire with your flush cutter.  Position the flat side of your flush cutter as shown below-center and cut the wire at that point. 

Step 9H:  Your finished figure 8 connector should appear as shown below-right. 

Instructions for Making Many Figure 8 Connectors Step 7H showing figure 8 in jewelry wire prior to cutting. Instructions for Making Many Figure 8 Connectors Step 8H showing cutting jewelry wire with jewelry tools. Instructions for Making Many Figure 8 Connectors Step 9H showing completed figure 8 made out of jewelry wire.
Step 7H Step 8H Step 9H

Instructions for Making Many Figure 8 Connectors Step 10H showing cutting jewelry wire.Step 10H:  Because the cut of the wire in step 8G left a sharp end on the wire on your spool, in order to be ready to make your next figure 8 connector, you need to cut about 1/16 inch of wire of the end of the wire.  Make the cut with the flat side of your flush cutter toward the spool of wire.  Now you are ready to go back to step 1G and make your next figure 8 connector. 

In some applications we need a connector similar to the figure 8 connector so that we can connect two loops that we would otherwise be unable to connect, but we do not want to change the orientation of the components being connected.  For these situations we use a modified figure 8 connector made as described in the  next section. 

 

Instructions for Making Modified Figure 8 Connector out of jewelry wire.

Making a Modified Figure 8 Connector out of Jewelry Wire using common jewelry making tools:

The modified figure 8 connector is an important connector used to connect two loops without changing the orientation of the two components (as would occur if a regular figure 8 were used.)  This component is important in connecting earring bodies to ear wires and in connecting two closed loops to one-another.  The modified figure 8 connector appears as shown above-right.  Instructions for making this connector begin below.  

Step 1I:  Select a piece of jewelry wire at least 1 1/2 inches long.  Using your round nose pliers, make a "P" loop in the end of the wire.  Click here for instructions on how to make a "P" loop.  

Step 2I:  Convert this "P" loop to an eye loop.  Please click here for instructions on converting a "P" loop into an eye loop

Step 3I:  Grasp the eye loop with your bent chain nose pliers and bend the wire tail about 90 degrees in the plane perpendicular to the loop that you just made.  When completed the jewelry wire component should appear as shown below-right. 

Instructions for Making a Modified Figure 8 Connector Step 1I showing a "P"  loop in jewelry wire. Instructions for Making a Modified Figure 8 Connector Step 2I showing an Eye Loop in jewelry wire. Step 3I to instructions for Making a Modified Figure 8 connector showing jewelry wire bent by jewelry making tools.
Step 1I Step 2I Step 3I

Step 4I:  Using your round nose pliers grasp the jewelry wire tail near the 90 degree bend and make a loop in the wire.  This will probably be a two step process as you will probably need to release your grip on the wire and re-grip so that you can complete the loop without your pliers getting in the way.  When completed the wire should appear as shown below-left. 

Step 5I:  Cut the excess jewelry wire with your flush cutter. 

Step 6I:  Close the final loop and you have a completed modified figure 8 connector. 

Step 4I to instructions for Making a Modified Figure 8 Jewelry Finding Step 6I to instructions for Making a Modified Figure 8 Jewelry Finding using common jewelry making tools.
Step 4I Finished Mod. Figure 8 Connector

An alternative approach to making a modified figure 8 connector involves making a regular figure 8 connector and grasping each loop in a different pair of bent chain nose pliers.  Once you are holding both loops tightly then twist one of the loops so that it ends up perpendicular to the other.  The approach described above will probably work better, but every jewelry crafter should try both approaches. 

 

Making Wrapped Figure 8 Connectors made out of jewelry wire shaped using common jewelry making tools.

Making a Wrapped Figure 8 Connector using Jewelry Wire and Common Jewelry Tools:

Above we discussed making both a conventional figure 8 connector and a modified figure 8 connector.  Both of these connectors had open loops on either end.  The connector that we will make here has loops that are wrapped closed and are therefore stronger.  This type of connector would be appropriate to use for a jewelry component that required additional strength like a watchband.  You can view a wrapped figure 8 connector at right.  The steps involved to make this wrapped figure 8 connector are described below:

Step 1J to instructions for Making a Wrapped Figure 8 Connector using common jewelry making tools.Step 1J:  Cut and straighten a piece of 20 gauge wire that is about 2 1/2 inches long.  Soft wire will work, but 1/2 hard wire tends to work better if it is available. 

Step 2J:  Using your round nose pliers make a loop in this wire segment about 3/4" from one end.  The loop needs to be a complete loop as shown at right.  Instructions for Making a Wrapped Figure 8 Connector out of jewelry wire Step 3J

Step 3J:  Again using your round nose pliers, make a second loop in the wire, adjacent to the first loop, but in the opposite direction.  When done, your wire should be in a figure 8 shape with about 3/4" of excess wire on either side of the Instructions for Making a Wrapped Figure 8 Connector using common  jewelry tools Step 4Jmiddle of the figure 8 as shown at left.

Step 4J:  At this point, you can open one side of the figure 8 using your bent chain  nose pliers and slide one of the components you intend to connect into position as shown at right.  Now you are ready to wrap that end of the figure 8 Instructions for Making a Wrapped Figure 8 Connector out of jewelry wire Step 5Jconnector closed. 

Step 5J:  To wrap one side of the figure 8 connector closed, hold the figure 8 loop in your bent chain nose pliers and wrap the wire tail 180 degrees.  In the picture shown at left, the short end of the wire is the end that was wrapped 180 degrees. 

Step 6J:  Now connect the opposite end of the figure 8 to the other component that you want to connect as you did in step 4 and wrap that side of the wire 180 degrees as you did in step 5.  Both sides of the figure 8 will now have about 1/2" of excess wire. 

Step 7J:  Cut the excess jewelry wire on either side, leaving between 1/8 and 1/16" of excess wire on either end.  Step 8J to instructions for Making a Wrapped Figure 8 Connector using common jewelry making tools.This excess wire will be squeezed flat to complete the wrap.  Watch Jewelry Making Project Using Wrapped Figure 8 Loops

Step 8J:   To complete the wrapped figure 8 connector, use your bent chain nose pliers to grasp one side of the figure 8 connector and using a second pair of bent chain nose pliers gently squeeze the cut end of the wire on that side of the figure 8 flat.  Perform this same squeeze using two pair of bent chain nose pliers on the opposite side of the figure 8.  This will complete your wrapped figure 8 connector as shown at right between the watch face and the heavy silver chain. 

The picture at left shows how two wrapped figure 8 connectors were used to make a watch band from a bracelet length segment of silver commercial chain.  To complete this watch, the commercial chain bracelet was cut in the middle with sufficient links removed so that the overall length of the watch band with watch was 7 1/2" our target length.  (Your target length could be different based upon the circumference of the intended wearer's wrist.)  Because the figure 8 connector was wrapped closed, this watch band will be very strong.

Summary of jewelry making instructions:

Making loops is one of the most important jewelry making skills.  Almost all jewelry making projects described on our WigJig web site start with a loop in jewelry wire to fix the wire to our WigJig jewelry making tool.  Sometimes we cut that initial loop off the final jewelry wire component as we finish the component, but we still need that loop as we begin to shape the jewelry wire.  This summary web page provides instructions in making many different type of loops in jewelry wire.


 

 

 

 

 

 



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