Past Jewelry Making Techniques:
We maintain a techniques web page that provides links to the discussion of techniques in our prior newsletters. You can visit this web page here. Follow the links on that page to the discussion of the technique in that newsletter.
Jewelry Making Technique:
This week's jewelry making technique is our new instructions for how to wrap wire. Wrapping one wire segment around another is the technique that we use instead of soldering. It fixes and makes a wire component permanent. For the purposes of this discussion we will treat the wire we are wrapping as a "wrapped" wire, the center wire in the wrap, and the "wrapping" wire. The "wrapping" wire is the outer wire that is wrapped round the "wrapped" wire. Here are some thoughts on how to make high quality, consistent wire wraps. We begin these discussions with the loop already completed. If you need to view how to make this loop, please select here.
First, whenever possible use 1/2 hard wire for wrapping. Soft wire will not wrap as tightly or consistently. 1/2 hard wire simply works better. This does not mean that you can't use soft wire, just that it will be more difficult to make tight, consistent wraps with soft wire.
Second, use your bent chain nose pliers to hold the wrapped wire. Normally, we are making a wrapped loop and we hold the loop in our chain nose pliers to preserve the round shape of the loops and to stabilize the wrapped wire.
Third, keep the wrapping wire perpendicular to the wrapped wire. When the two wires aren't perpendicular the wrap will have gaps. When the two wires are kept at a 90 degree angle to one another while wrapping, the resulting wrap will be tighter and more consistent.
Fourth, push the wrapping wire don't pull it whenever possible. Hold your bent chain nose pliers in your non-dominant hand and use the thumb on your dominant hand to push the wrapping wire. Push with your thumb as close to the wrapped wire as possible.
Fifth, don't shortchange yourself on wire. Try to leave about 1/2 inch of wrapping wire to spare. This is most important for beginners. When you get down to 1/4 inch of wrapping wire, you will find that it isn't safe to continue pushing with your thumb. You can easily puncture your thumb if you aren't careful. Using a little more wire than necessary is a good idea for beginners.
Sixth, as you get more advanced in making your wrapped loops, you can experiment with using less wire. When the wrapping wire gets down to about 1/4 inch, use two pair of chain nose pliers -- one to hold the loop in your non-dominant hand and the other in your dominant hand to push the wire. Remember, a little blood and a puncture wound are nature's way of reminding you to use two pair of pliers.
Seventh, when you have wrapped enough wire and are satisfied with the result, you are ready to cut the excess wire. Cut the wire with your flush cutter using the flat side of the cutter toward the finished wrap. This will leave a flush cut end on the end of the wire.
Eighth, after cutting the excess wire, you will have a very short wire tail on the wrapping wire. Use a second pair of chain nose or bent chain nose pliers to simultaneously squeeze and twist the cut und of the wrapping wire until it is flat and tight against the wrapped wire.
Finally, if the wire you used happened to be soft wire, or if you find small gaps in your wrap, you can tighten the wrap up using two pair of chain nose pliers. Continue holding the loop in your non-dominant hand with one pair of pliers and use the second pair of pliers in your dominant hand to squeeze and twist the wrap until it is tight. Sometimes you can squeeze the wrapping wire length-wise to close up any gaps in the wrap. Use your bent chain nose pliers to do this.
For more information on making wrapped loops in jewelry wire using common jewelry tools please select here.
Hopefully, these tips will help you to make tight, consistent wire wraps.
Nostalgia Corner -- Some of our favorite jewelry making designs:
This week's featured design in our Nostalgia Corner is the design for making our Wrapped Link Bracelet shown at right. We selected this project because it uses a lot of wire wrapping, our jewelry makingtechnique for this newsletter. This project uses 20 gauge wire to make a link like the one shown here. This link combines several qualities that we like to incorporate into our jewelry. First, it is very strong and won't pull apart and second, it is very delicate and aesthetically pleasing. This link can be made in a variety of lengths, but when made into a link that is longer than 1 inch, it will use a lot of wire. A length of 3/4" is recommended as a compromise and uses about 3.5 to 4 inches of wire to make each link. 1/2 hard wire is preferred when making this link.
Please select here, or select the picture above right to view our free instructions for making our Wrapped Link Bracelet out of jewelry wire using our WigJig jewelry tools.
All content on this web site including jewelry and wire designs are copyrighted© by WigJig. WigJig® is a registered trademark. Last modified: 04/14/2009