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 weeks jewelry making technique is a discussion on getting started. Our experience is that many people succeed in learning to make jewelry, but some don't. Let's first discuss some common errors that people experience in getting started that make it harder for them to be successful.
Many people see a jewelry design and that design is what motivates them to begin making jewelry. Unfortunately, if that design is not suitable for a beginner, it may be a bad choice as a first jewelry project. The biggest single error that people make is in picking a first or second project that is too difficult. We recommend making the Queen of Clubs Earrings as a good first jewelry project. It is suitable for beginners and allows you to make something that looks hand made and can be used as gifts.
A second error that people make is not accepting that everyone should use practice wire and make about 3 pieces out of practice wire before cutting your good wire. Sterling Silver and Gold Filled wire are almost at record high prices. Don't cut a segment of this expensive wire until you know exactly how much is required because you made the component in practice wire and measured both before and after so that you know exactly how much wire to use. For the Celtic Triangle Earrings above, we made this component out of practice wire about 7-8 times before we were satisfied with the technique. Any time you are making a new component, you should assume that you will need to make that component out of practice wire a few times until you are satisfied that you can make it properly. Just as it is when you learn any new skill, everyone needs to practice, including us.
A third error that many novices make is in not following the basic steps. The basic steps are easy. First you measure and cut the wire to length, second you make a loop in one end of the wire, and third you straighten the wire. Many people forget to fully straighten the wire using nylon jaw pliers. This results in some irregularities in your finished jewelry item.
A fourth error that many people make is in placing all their pegs in the pattern at the beginning. Unfortunately, this is something that we learned relatively recently. You should always begin every pattern with only two pegs and add pegs as you go. Many of our patterns on our web site don't show this, because when we documented that pattern, we weren't smart enough to know it at that time. Now we know that if you have a pattern with 6 pegs and you start with 6 pegs, 4 of those pegs are going to be in your way and making life difficult.
A fifth error that people make is in not pushing the wire with just one finger while you hold and move the jig with your non-dominant hand. Intuitively people want to grab the wire and hold the wire by the end of the wire and keep the jig stationary. The important thing in making wire components is to keep the wire straight until you are ready to bend it against or around a peg. Keeping the wire straight isn't easy to do when you grab the wire. You will tend to add kinks and bends to your wire using that approach. If you essentially hold the wire stationary, by pushing it with only the index finger on your dominant hand touching the wire, while you rotate the jig with your non-dominant hand you will find that it is easy to keep your wire straight. Once you understand and can accomplish this technique you will be much more successful in making jewelry items with our jigs.
A final error that is relatively common is not releasing your grip on the wire after bending it against a peg. Releasing your grip allows the wire to relax back to its normal position. By releasing your grip after you bend the wire against a peg you ensure that your wire component won't spring out of shape when you remove it from your jig.
The above are the six most important techniques that must be mastered/errors that must be overcome. We also discuss some other common jewelry making errors starting here or here. If you haven't visit that page and the two that follow it lately, it would probably be a good review. Above all, don't get frustrated. Like any skill worth learning the skill of making jewelry from wire and beads does require some practice.
Nostalgia Corner -- Some of our favorite jewelry making projects:
This weeks featured design in our Nostalgia Corner is the design for our Queen of Clubs wire and beads earrings. As we discussed above, this is a great beginner's project. Please note that contrary to our instructions for making the Queen of Clubs Wire and Beads Earrings, we recommend that you start with two pegs instead of three as we show.
This simple earrings is a great way to embellish a pair of interesting beads into earrings. These earrings make great gifts because they look hand made and they are unique. If you are selling earrings this is an excellent earring that you can make and sell for less than $10.
Please select here, or select the picture above to view our instructions for making the Queen of Clubs Wire & Beads Earrings jewelry making project.
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