When I first got into jewelry making, I got very frustrated by what should’ve been a very simple step: bending the wire into loops. All the step-by-step instructions I read made it sound like it was so easy. ‘Take the pliers and make a loop.’ But all the loops I made were ugly and misshapen. I nearly gave up!
But I didn’t, and neither should you. Everyone goes through this, and with a little practice you’ll be making loop after perfectly loop in no time. You may also want to try these tips on how to make wire loops—they certainly worked for me!
Prepare to make mistakes
There’s no shortcut to perfect loops; practice really makes perfect. But while you get the hang of things, use cheap wire (like copper or craft) and inexpensive beads (since you may end up scratching some as you figure out how to work the pliers). Don’t worry. Once you get better, you can graduate to sterling silver wire and those gorgeous crystals!
Bend along the bottom plier
Any jewelry tutorial will tell you to shape the wire around the plier to form the circle. Instinctively you’ll try to loop it on the top tine of the plier, which is a good starting point. But you can’t close the circle because it’ll be blocked by the other end of the pliers. So, in the middle of the process, switch the wire to the bottom tine of the plier. Then, close your loop. (See the step by step of this technique.)
I didn’t realize I was tensing up and holding the pliers
so tightly until a friend pointed it out to me. I guess I was so frustrated and worried about making mistakes that my fists were actually clenching! But if you hold the pliers too
tightly, you’ll damage the wire. So be aware of your grip—and be gentle, gentle, gentle.
Get crimping pliers
These are great for tucking in the ends of the wire, or pressing it down against an eyepin or beadlink.
Bend with your fingers
Use your thumb to shape the wire around the end of the pliers. This is much better than actually twisting the pliers itself, since you’re less likely to dent or misshape the wire. This little change will dramatically improve the way your wire loops look!
Twist and shout!
Well, maybe not shout, because the neighbors will think you are crazy. What we mean is, when you are manipulating loops, jumprings and links, don’t pull them out, twist them. Use the same motion you would make while twisting a door knob. This helps you retain the ‘curve’ of the loop so it’s easier to put it back into shape.
Fix mistakes with a nail clipper
If you need to trim very fine wire, use an extra pair of nail clippers. This will help you trim as closely as possible. This only works for thin or delicate metals like sterling silver or fine silver.
Photo from jewelryclassroom.com
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