Among the first steps in any jewelry making project is straightening the jewelry wire. This step is mandatory because jewelry wire is sold in coils or on spools and develops a natural curl as a result of the way it is packaged.
There are many jewelry tools to help in straightening jewelry wire. One of the simplest and easiest to use is a piece of leather. Fold the leather in 1/2 and use it to hold the wire. Pull the wire through the leather several times while squeezing the leather in your fingers.
The jewelry tool that we prefer to use instead of leather, is nylon jaw pliers. Instead of pulling the jewelry wire through leather, pull the jewelry wire through the jaws of nylon jaw pliers while squeezing the pliers closed. Select here to view a video of how to straighten jewelry wire using nylon jaw pliers. Sometimes when making jewelry you will find the the jewelry wire is too slippery to allow you to get a good grip for pulling the wire. Should this be the case, you may find that it will be easier to pull the wire if you make a loop in one end and hold the wire by that loop while pulling it. Select here to view a video with instructions on how to make a loop in jewelry wire.
We also have detailed pictures of how to straighten wire in our online book "Wire Design Basics". Finally, you can view the four steps in straightening wire with nylon jaw pliers below:
Finally, please select here for more pictures on how to straighten jewelry wire.
Updated instructions on straightening jewelry wire using common jewelry making tools:
When we first started making jewelry using our WigJig jewelry tools, the first step in every project we started was to cut a segment of jewelry wire to the appropriate length. After a few years of making jewelry, we got a little smarter and realized that it is easier to measure the length of jewelry wire consistently when it is straight. For this reason, we have changed the order we use in the beginning steps of a jewelry making project. Now for every jewelry making project, we start by straightening a segment of jewelry wire, while it is still attached to the spool, using our nylon jaw pliers jewelry making tool before we cut the wire. This allows us to use the spool of wire as the handle that we use to hold the jewelry wire securely while pulling it through the jaws of our nylon jaw pliers. Once we have a long segment of straight jewelry wire, then we measure the length of the wire and cut to the length we need. Please note this change in our jewelry making instructions helps to economize on jewelry wire by allowing precise measurement of the wire before cutting. Sometimes as we get older, we get smarter. Sometimes, but not always.