March 26, 2012

Playing with Square Wire

I am a "round" wire-worker. Actually. All my designs are made with round wire.
Last week, I ordered some square and half-round wire from Wire-sculpture. This place has not only sterling silver and gold-filled square wire, but also copper and bronze- they are in my favorite price range :)
A couple days ago I got a package and could not wait to play with new wire.
First, I wanted to make a bracelet. Or bangle...


Next, I wanted to make a ring from the book WireWork by Dale Armstrong.  Really, I love this ring.

March 22, 2012

Zigzag of Luck

Hooray! I just got the Step by Step Wire Jewelry magazine with my article in!
I submitted my design of Zigzag of Luck
April-May 2012 issue.

March 19, 2012

DIY: Crystal Dangle Earrings + Video

Spring is here, and you want to change your wardrobe and maybe, make new jewelry. Why not to make a new pair of crystal earrings? It's fun and easy!

To make a pair of earrings like mine, you will need:
  • 6mm Swarovski bicone crystals - 6
  • 2.5mm metal beads - 6 
  • 2" headpins - 2
  • Earwires -1 pair
  • Chain nose pliers, round nos pliers, wire cutters
Here, you can watch a video how to make these earrings:


PS. I thank my friend Tanya for capturing video and photos while I was making this beautiful earrings.

March 6, 2012

Basic Tools for Wirework

When you start working with wire, you need tools. Often, I am asked, "What tools do I need for wire-wrapping?" There is a huge range of jewelry tools available. I would say you need four tools for sure :) But...The more you work, the more tools you have, believe me. 
So, let's look at some tools. Pliers.

1 - Chain nose pliers have tapered tips, smooth jaws and slightly rounded edges for shaping and bending. They are very useful for opening and closing jump rings.

2 - Wire cutters are for cutting wire and headpins. To cut memory wire use special  memory wire shears!

3 - Nylon jaw pliers have plastic jaws. These pliers really useful for straightening wire. Hold one end of the wire between the jaws of a pair of flat nose pliers in your non dominant hand and hold the nylon nose pliers in your other hand. Place the nylon nose pliers on the wire, next to the flat nose pliers, then draw the pliers along the wire to remove any kinks and to straighten it. Notice: the more you straighten the wire, the harder it becomes!

4 - Flat nose pliers designed for making sharp bends and right angles in wire. Flat nose pliers can also grip flat objects and work well for straightening bent wire.
5 - Round nose pliers have tapered, conical jaws for making round wire loops and curves. Use them to round ends of memory wire or to loop wire for beading and wire wrapping designs. If you want to make consistent sized loops, mark the pliers with a permanent marker so that you always place your wire in the same place.

6,7 -  Bail making pliers have round, barrel-shaped jaws that help you create the perfect bail for any sized pendant.

Also, I have another extra tools that I use in my wire work.

8 - Steel bench block won't go anywhere as you work to texture, flatten and shape your metal pieces. Use this block for your metal stamping work too!

9 - Chasing hammer  has a large face for flattening and a ball-peen side for riveting and metal design.  If the head of a Chasing Hammer is totally flat, then you will mar your wire if the edge of the hammer happens to hit it. If it is too convex, there is only a small striking area in the middle. Choose a hammer that is only slightly convex.

10 - Steel Ring mandrel for forming and shaping rings sizes 1-15. Unlike plastic ring mandrels, you can use this solid metal mandrel for hammering metal. Form rings directly on mandrel!

11 - Automatic Wire twister. Twist almost any size wire at twice the speed! Also, I use the twister to coil the wire! Just love it!

12 - Pin vise for twisting short-to medium-length wires.

What's your favorite jewelry making tool?

March 5, 2012

Metal Etching - My First Try

I never thought I would do anything with metal etching. Well, never say "never", right? Thanks to Meredith Arnold, I wanted to try etching.
I had everything I needed to start:  metal (copper and nickel silver) disks, PCB Enchant (ferric chloride), Staz-On ink with rubber stamps, black ultra-fine Sharpie, washing soda, gloves...
First, I started with copper disks. I bought a small stamp with butterfly at Michaels (on sale for $2.00) and a leaf stamp for $1.00. I used to make scrap-booking cards and books. What could be easier to make a nice stamp? Hah! Paper and metal "behave" differently. If it was easy to make a leaf stamp, but my butterfly wanted to "fly" away and smear the print... I had to re-stamp it 3-4 times, I think. But I am happy with  the results.