Profitable Wire-Wrapping Gemstone Techniqures
The main idea behind wire wrapping is to create a decorative shape. A wire can be bent into a curved shape or a more complex pattern, so each piece is one of a kind. Whether you are just starting out or are an experienced jewelry wire-wrapping artist, there are a few tips you can follow to ensure you get the most out of your wire-wrapped jewelry. Using basic shapes, and patterns, with a little patience and practice, you can create some killer unique pieces of jewelry. And if you are entrepreneurial, these go over well as juried Craft Shows and Gem Shows. And of course on Etsy and Amazon Hand Made.
Basics of wire wrapping
Creating wire-wrapped jewelry is a great DIY project, in case you have never ventured into it before. Besides gemstones and cabochons, you can use stuff like broken pottery, sea glass, sea shells, or other things you may have around the house. The wrapped items can be made into bracelets and earrings, but especially drop-pendant style necklaces, meaning that the wrapped pendant hangs below the necklace. The tighter-fitting choker is cool, but I prefer this look on regular necklaces that tend to hang down 18 to 24 inches.
Tools of the trade
When making jewelry using wire, it is important to use the proper tools. This includes a good set of wire cutters. There are also several other useful tools, such as files, jigs, and mandrels. Other useful tools are a chasing hammer and a pin vise. A good pair of pliers will also come in handy. Using a plier that has smooth, flat jaws is helpful. You can also purchase a jewelry-making jig, which is very useful for constructing a wire-wrapped pendant. Another great tool is a WigJig jig board. It's made with a wooden handle and can accommodate up to 16 gauge wire. It's also a great way to ensure consistency in your work.
One other great tool is the nylon jaw pliers. These are the perfect size for recycling and straightening the wire. They're also less likely to scratch the wire. You should also have a ball-peen hammer for creating a dappled texture.
Common gauges used in wire wrapping
The wire you choose should be the right gauge. This is important because the wrong kind of wire can cause poor results. You should start out with inexpensive craft wire, and then move on to higher-grade jewelry wire as you become more adept.
The wire you choose should also be of the proper hardness. Softer wire will not hold its shape as well. You can purchase semi-hard wire that will allow you to maintain an intricate shape under moderate stress.
The best wire to use for a wire-wrapped jewelry project is copper. It is also the cheapest. You can purchase wire in several different gauges, so you can choose the perfect wire for your needs.
The key to making a wire-wrapped pendant is, to begin with a base, which is made from 18-22 gauge wire. Then, you can attach multiple stones.
Choosing the right gauges is an important step when making wire-wrapped jewelry. There are a wide variety of different wire types available, and each one has its own uses. By knowing the basics of each type of wire, you will be able to pick the best types for your designs.
Medium gauge wire is usually used for earring components. It may also be appropriate for masculine designs. It is a versatile size that works well for bangles and miscellaneous parts. It is also ideal for wire cage designs.
Larger gauge wire is used for more complex designs. It can be hammered into heavy centerpieces or bent into bracelets. It can also be used for wire wrapping small light beads. It is not suitable for open-loop links, and it should be shaped with the finer types of jewelry-making tools.
The thin wire from 24 to 28 gauges is often applied in techniques based on needle-lace. It is also used in coiling and lashing. These techniques make finished wraps very delicate. It is also useful in bead crochet and Viking knitting.
A half-hard or semi-hard wire is good for basic wirework. It can be found in several colors, including gold and silver. This wire can be made into head pins, double-wrapped hooks, and jump rings.
Artistic wire is what is known as dead soft, and is ideal for wire-wrapped jewelry. It is sold in a variety of colors and is suitable for intricate wire work. It is also very flexible and is available in sterling silver and gold. It is perfect for creating a beautiful and unique piece of jewelry.
Dead-soft wire is extremely malleable and can be bent easily into a myriad of shapes. If you use dead-soft wire to create an element that will be put under a lot of stress, such as a clasp, it is recommended to harden the wire after shaping. To harden the wire, so it can hold up to the stress, place it onto an anvil and strike it with a hammer. Please note: This will cause impressions in the wire.
Half-hard wire is malleable; however, it will maintain an intricate shape under moderate stress. It is useful for weight-bearing parts of wire-wrapped jewelry. You can also harden half-hard wire so it can be used for an element that may be subjected to high stress, such as a clasp.
Full-hard wire holds its shape for wire-wrapping jewelry. Its tempered nature holds intricate designs well and is excellent for clasps. Wire size is determined by gauge or thickness of the wire. Wire-gauge ranges from a very fine 26 gauge to a very heavy 14 gauge. It is best to choose the diameter that suits the size of your piece.
The most commonly used wire wrapping sizes are 20-24 gauge. They are easier to work with and hold their shape nicely. However, they are not the sturdiest. This is especially true with bracelets, which take more abuse than necklaces. It is also difficult to create a thick band for a ring with this wire.
There are many other types of wire, such as tiger tail, and memory wire. Some jewelry makers like the look of antiqued brass.
Shapes you can create with wire-wrapped jewelry
Creating shapes with wire-wrapped jewelry is fun and easy. Whether you're just starting out, or you're an advanced wire wrapper, this technique can help you create a wide variety of effects and styles.
If you're just starting out with wire wrapping, you should start with a cheaper metal. You can then work your way up to a higher-grade wire. Brass is a great choice because it's harder than the other types of wire, and it will keep its shape better. If you're looking for a cheaper option, try copper.
Patterns you can create with wire-wrapped jewelry
Getting started with wire-wrapped jewelry patterns can be fun and easy. You can create jewelry pieces that are unique to your style. It's also a great way to add a bit of texture and dimension to handmade items. You can use any kind of gemstone or shell and apply it to a metal wire.
Some of the most popular things to wrap are pendants. The wire can be made into a single layer, making it easy to twist with tools. However, you can also wrap your wire around a more elaborate shape. These can include earrings, necklaces and bracelets. You can also wrap up crystals and sea glass.
For example, you could use a moonstone teardrop to create a beautiful pendant. It can be worn as a statement piece or to protect against evil forces. You can even add a different colored bail to your pendant for Halloween.
Pendants are often made with round or oval wire.
It's important to practice to improve your skills. This is especially true for beginners. You should also practice with a variety of gauges to get the best result.
If you're not sure what to make, there are several free wire jewelry patterns. You can also get special offers and newsletters from Interweave. These are a great way to keep up with the latest trends and get special offers.
For an added bonus, you can find a wide range of wire-wrapping jewelry kits that make it easy to make intricate and beautiful pendants and bracelets. You can also find wire-weaving tutorials to help you get started.