Making wire jewelry is a popular and rewarding hobby for many people. It can however be confusing to beginners who are just starting out. This article will introduce you to the various tools and materials you will need to get your jewelry making hobby started.
SETTING UP YOUR JEWELRY WORKSHOP
Whether you are making your own wire wrap jewelry as a hobby or you are starting your own business making wire jewelry, you will need to have an area that will promote creativity and enable you to concentrate. Spend some time planning and organizing your jewelry making workshop now so that you will be more productive when you get started.
Many of us do not have the luxury of a private workshop where we can escape from the noise and interruptions of our busy homes. This doesn’t mean you should lose hope and give up on your wire jewelry making dreams, it just means you will need to be a bit more creative with your space.
Try to find a place that is as private as possible, away from phones, televisions and other interruptions. Perhaps you can clear a space out in your garage or attic. Maybe you have a corner of a guest room or a spot in your basement.
Next you will want to consider lighting. Lighting is very important in jewelry making. Find a room near a window with lots of natural light if you can, but if you cannot find such a location, you will need to invest in a natural lighting alternative. There are special types of lighting and bulbs available that simulate natural sun light. Just do a search online and you will most certainly find something. Full spectrum bulbs are close to natural sunlight.
You will also need a way to organize and store all of your jewelry making tools and supplies as well as a surface or bench to work on. Professional jewelry benches can be expensive, so if you cannot afford one, visit a used furniture outlet, flea market, or good will outlet and purchase a bench there. Look for a sturdy solid wood desk that is wide and deep enough to give you plenty of space to work on. If it doesn’t have drawers, you can purchase an affordable organizer with drawers at any home improvement store. This can be used to store your supplies.
You will also need a chair. You should take your time when shopping for a chair as you will spend a lot of time sitting at your desk. You will want a chair that is comfortable and has wheels so you can conveniently slide around your workspace.
If you are unable to invest any money right now into buying your furniture, don’t let that stop you. Your kitchen table will work as a descent substitute. Many beginners get started that way.
WIRE JEWELRY MAKING SUPPLIES
There are a wide assortment of pliers and cutters available for wire jewelry artists and each tool has its own purpose. Most professional and experienced wire jewelry artists will normally have a big collection of these tools on hand, but for a beginner it is not necessary. You will only need a few to get started. Pliers are made with various nose shapes and some are made fitted with springs. Springs enable the artist to control tension on the wire. Pliers are also available with nylon jaws that prevent scratching on the wire.
Flat Nose Pliers
These are excellent for holding, flattening and straightening wire. You can also use these pliers to make angular bends.
Round Nose Pliers
Round nose pliers are great for making bends, curves and for forming loops. They are also great for detailed and delicate work.
Flush Wire Cutter
A good flush wire cutter will cut through gold, silver, brass or copper wire and give you a flush even cut.
Wire comes in a variety of different sizes, otherwise known as gages. Smaller wire has a higher gage number. For instance a 28 gage wire has a smaller diameter then a 14 gage wire. For your first wire jewelry pieces, it is probably best to begin with a higher gage wire, which will be easier to work with. Once you become more skilled at this, you can then start working with thicker and stronger wires.
Wire also comes in a variety of different shapes: round, square and half round. Round wire is a more popular choice amongst wire jewelry makers, but the other shapes can give your jewelry pieces a unique and interesting look.
Wire also comes in different degrees of hardness. Obviously softer metals are more pliable and easier to bend where as hard metals are stiffer and more difficult to bend and shape. Wire hardness is available from dead soft to extra hard. Dead soft wire is very soft and easy to work with. It is excellent for sculpting , but be careful with this wire. It is very soft and it can be easily damaged if not handled carefully. Hard wire is the most difficult to work with and manipulate, but it does have an advantage over the others as your jewelry pieces will be more durable and last longer.
Wire is also available in a variety of different metals. You have your choice of copper, silver, gold or brass. Copper and brass are cheaper than gold and silver. It may be best to start out with the cheaper materials until you become more experienced.
CREATING YOUR FIRST PIECE OF WIRE JEWELRY
Once you have found a good work area and have your basic supplies, its time to start practicing and creating your first piece of jewelry. In the beginning it will certainly be challenging to come up with your own designs, but thankfully there are many accomplished wire wrap jewelry makers out there to help you along the way. Go online or to your favorite book store and purchase a beginner book on wire jewelry making or invest in a home study course. There are great courses online that come complete with all the tools and instruction you will need to get started. You can even start your own lucrative home based business making wire jewelry.
I hope this introduction to wire jewelry making has helped and has gotten you excited enough to explore this craft in more detail. Happy jewelry making!
Ralph Serpe is Webmaster and founder of two popular online communities for visual artists: Creative Spotlite – Free art lessons for beginners. ArtInstructionblog.com – Free art instruction for beginners. Both sites offer instruction on a variety of different mediums including oil painting, acrylic painting, watercolor and more!
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