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Jewelry Making Journal

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Jewelry Making

When you cut a piece of wire, the ends are usually rough or sharp. We don’t want to them to scratch or poke anything.And besides that, wire jewelry just looks much nicer when the wire ends have been neatly smoothed off.Here are three different tools you can use to smooth off your wire ends:First, you can use a cup bur – a tool with a little cup-shaped file on one end that’s made specifically for smoothing and rounding wire ends.You just put it over your wire end, rotate the tool a few times, and you have a nice, smooth end.A second tool you can use is a jewelry file.File in one direction, and make sure you get the very tip of the wire smooth – as well as all the way around the tip.A third tool you can use to smooth off your wire ends is a knife-sharpening stone.You can get one of these pretty cheaply in stores that carry camping and hunting supplies.You can use it just as you would use a jewelry file.2. Work-Harden Your Wire Componentsto Make Your Jewelry SturdierWork-hardening makes wire stiffer – so your finished jewelry will be stronger and less apt to get bent or pulled out of shape while being worn.Here are three ways you can work-harden your wire:First, if you want to work-harden your wire before you work with it, you can pull your wire through your fingers, or through nylon-jawed pliers, or a through piece of fine steel wool:The steel wool can also protect your fingers from sharp edges on square or half-round wire, and make your wire clean and shiny before you start your project.Don’t over-harden your wire at the beginning of your project.Even pulling your wire once or twice in one of these ways will make a difference in its hardness.So be careful not make your wire too stiff at the outset – or you’ll have a difficult time trying to bend and shape it.Another way to work-harden wire is to bend it back and forth.This is something we often do with jump rings to make them sturdier and stronger.Third, you can hammer-harden your finished wire components.You can place your wire component on a steel jeweler’s block and use a nylon, rawhide, plastic, or rubber hammer to pound on it.You need to have a steel bench block underneath your piece of wire, and pound the wire all over.Be sure to turn the piece over and pound on the other side too.Not mentioned in this video:You can also tumble-harden wire jewelry that can withstand a trip through a rock tumbler.3. Adjust and Straighten Your Wireworkas You GoDon’t wait till the piece is finished to start straightening and re-aligning things.Every so often while working on a piece of wire jewelry, see where things are getting lopsided or out of whack, and make corrections as you go.It’s usually much easier to correct something that’s twisted or lopsided before the piece of jewelry is finished.4. Make Similar Wire Components UniformIf you’re making a piece of jewelry that requires multiples of one component, your finished piece will look so much more professional if you make all those matching components as close as possible to being the same size.Here are some easy ways to do that:First, you can use a fine-tip Sharpie marker to mark the exact spot on your tools that you’ll be using when you make these components.For example, the marks on my round nose pliers help me make the same size loops every time:You can also make really convenient measuring templates – such as marking a popsicle stick with the exact lengths of wire you need to cut.Popsicle stick measuring template for making headpins Here’s a cool way to make a flexible template from a twist-tie – like the kind that comes with bread bags and trash bags.

Source: 6 Ways to Make Higher Quality Wire Jewelry (Video) — Jewelry Making Journal