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Topic: Beginner in need of advice and help  (Read 3616 times)
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« on: November 17, 2010 10:38:27 PM »

I am unemployed right now and have lot of spare time. So I decided to learn how to make jewelry at home cos I was always interested in it. I read articles and books, saw numerous youtube videos and researched on different tools and supplies and figured I was ready to start it. So I went ahead and bought some supplies. First thing was a ready made kit and that wasn't that difficult so I figured I could proceed to the next step (This is when I went and bought some really supplies and tools). I tried making a pendant today and was extremely disappointed with the result. The you tube videos make it look so easy. I consider myself to be pretty creative when it comes to arts and crafts and I have a knack for it. I feel where I lack is the basics and that is what is important. The final product (not really final cos I left it midway) looked like a pendant but so clumsy and amateurish. I will try and post the picture tomorrow.

I want to know if it is possible to do this on your own or should I join some professional class for it. Also can you please suggest a good brand for supplies. I got a store brand tool set and it doesn't seem to be all that great.

Thanks and sorry for the long post
« Reply #1 on: November 18, 2010 05:49:30 AM »

What kind of pendant are you trying to create? Wire wrapping, metal stamping, etc.


« Reply #2 on: November 18, 2010 10:12:15 AM »

I tried to make a pendant with wire. It looks like a tree with branches. I found the tutorial on youtube. Its supposed to be with wire and beads but I tried it using only copper wire. The main problem that I am facing is how to get the wire remain straight and not all bent and twisty. The wire comes on a roll and it looks so smooth but when I open it and start working with the wire you can see the bends in it. May be I am not explaining it well. I will try and post pics as soon as I can.
Diane B.
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« Reply #3 on: November 18, 2010 10:39:19 AM »

I don't think that most wire workers take classes to learn what they know, but they might take them to learn specific things or just a basic class to get started.

There's loads of info on wireworking online, and you might also want to check out this page at my site on wire:
...and perhaps Art Jewelry magazine's site in the forum for "Wire Working" (if you join as well--free--you can also ask questions):

Be aware that wire comes in various degrees of stiffness/bendability as well as thicknesses and colors/composition.  There are ways to "straighten" wire before using it, etc., and some types will be harder to bend or stay in shape than others.

(Like most any other art/craft/topic, there are always certain kinds of basics to learn that help a huge amount!)

Diane B.

P.S.  For very high-quality metals and jewelry findings, some sites and local stores sell "better" (and more expensive) items than others.  Most crafters don't use those unless they're really getting into the higher-end markets becuase of the expense, but you might want to check out some of the jewelry supply sites on this page of my site which has both:
http://glassattic.com/polymer/jewelry.htm (click on Suppliers, near bottom of list at top of page)

« Last Edit: November 18, 2010 10:48:31 AM by Diane B. » THIS ROCKS   Logged

few of my photos
(had to move them from YahooPhotos, so many now without captions)
« Reply #4 on: November 18, 2010 11:51:18 AM »

Diane gave you some excellent advice and links. Do check those out. Wire comes in different thicknesses called gauges. I assume you used a thicker gauge for the outside of the pendant and the tree is a smaller gauge. Smaller gauges such as 26 or 24 definitely kink easier than say a 20 gauge wire would (the higher the number the smaller the thickness). You can straighten wire with a pair of nylon jaw pliers. You will find an example on this page:


Clamp the nylon jaw pliers onto the wire and slowly pull the wire through it, because the jaws are nylon and not metal they will not scratch your wire. I hope this helps a little. Be patient with yourself, as with everything there is a learning curve to wire forming and making nice neat loops.


« Reply #5 on: November 18, 2010 03:43:17 PM »

(Like most any other art/craft/topic, there are always certain kinds of basics to learn that help a huge amount!)

Thank your response. I think that is where I am going wrong - the basics. I read so many articles and did lot of research. I saw numerous videos that gave me the confidence that I could do it. However when I actually got down to doing it the results were disappointing. The videos make it look so easy and I follow it step by step with the same materials. Still my end result wasn't that good. I am posting some pics to give you a better idea of my problem.
« Reply #6 on: November 18, 2010 03:46:34 PM »

Be patient with yourself, as with everything there is a learning curve to wire forming and making nice neat loops.


Thanks. I guess this is what I wanted to hear. The videos make it look so easy. After watching the videos, I was so sure I can do this on my own without taking any classes. Now I am having doubts. I used a 20GA wire for my project. That is what the tutorial recommended and her results were amazing. I am attaching some pics on my next post as to what I wanted it to look like and how it ended up looking like. Smiley
« Reply #7 on: November 18, 2010 04:16:42 PM »

Pic 1 - The 20GA wire that I purchased. I want to maintain this clean look that it has now.

Pic 2 - As soon as I start working on it, I get these types of bents which is so difficult to smooth out. Even when I manage to do it, it doesn't regain the look of Pic 1

Pic 3 - Ear Wire.. The coil is not a smooth circular one. It is so clumsy.

Pic 4 - Hoop earring - is not strong. Very delicate. When I try to wear the earring, it bends and changes shape. I used a 20GA wire as shown in the tutorial.

Pic 5 - Unfinished pendant. The outer circle is a disaster. This is the problem I am facing with my project. The wire doesn't retain the original shape. Even a slight bend spoils the look.

I am posting some links of what I am trying to achieve. How do the products in these links look the way it does. Do I need some professional tool or machine to bring back the wire to the original texture. The last link has a similar hoop - like the one I created. I am aiming for mine to look like that. What should I do to get there?

  • =tags&includes[1]=title&filter[0]=handmade

  • =tags&includes[1]=title&filter[0]=handmade

  • =tags&includes[1]=title&filter[0]=handmade

  • =tags&includes[1]=title&filter[0]=handmade

« Last Edit: November 18, 2010 04:30:11 PM by edifiz » THIS ROCKS   Logged
Bionic Dingo
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« Reply #8 on: November 18, 2010 06:15:46 PM »

First of all when you start jewellery making, (or anything, really) you make alot of ugly stuff. EVERYBODY makes alot of ugly stuff. (You just feel like they don't because the only ugly stuff you ever see is your own) Don't let it bother you, you're teaching yourself new skills. If you were teaching yourself piano you woulden't expect to sit down after a week and hammer out a perfect "Ode to Joy". Learning takes time.

The kind of kink you've got in your wire there looks like you've been pulling the wire out of it's coil (like an extension cord. Does that make sense?) rather than just letting it unwind by itself. It looks like a twist, pulled tight.

As for hoops, yeah, copper is a soft metal. You can, however, strengthen it somewhat by work hardening it. Metal gets stiffer as it's subjected to force (bending, hammering, drawing, etc.) What you wanna do is put your hoop down on a flat metal surface (back of a vice works great, most folks have these in their garage anyway) and hit it a few times very gently with a soft mallet (paper, nylon, wood, or rawhide.) You can use a metal hammer if you like, but that will flatten your metal into more of a squared cross section. Make sure you flip it over and do both sides. It'll still be bendy, but less so than before.

<< I'm on Etsy!  www.magpiehouse.etsy.com >>
« Reply #9 on: November 18, 2010 06:45:15 PM »

@ Bionic Dingo


I still want to know if this is a case of wrong techniques or just the lack of practice. Will practice help me achieve the perfection that I see in those etsy links? Or is it something else? Can you tell looking at the pictures?

Also can you suggest a good brand for tools and the size of the pliers. I got the local store brand pliers and they seem to be really small.

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