How to Make Shapes Out of Craft Wire for Jewelry

Written by katherine kally
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Create handcrafted wire pendants and charms for your jewellery designs using craft wire and a wire-wrap technique. The secret to creating precise shapes from wire is to make a jig that follows the outline of the desired shape, complete with every indentation and curve that gives the shape distinction. Beginning jewellery wire artists should start with a design outline with few shape intricacies. Once you get the feel for the wire wrapping technique, increase the difficulty of the projects.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Design template
  • Tape
  • Marker
  • Wood block, 1 inch or thicker
  • Finishing nails
  • Hammer
  • Measuring tape
  • 22-gauge craft wire
  • Round nose pliers
  • Flush wire cutters
  • Jump ring

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  1. 1

    Tape a design template for your wire jewellery element onto a 1-inch or thicker wood block. Trace around the outline of the design with a marker. The overall size of the design outline is slightly smaller than the finished jewellery design. Remove the template.

  2. 2

    Hammer finishing nails 1/3 of their height into the wood every 1/4 to 1/3 inches along the lines of the design outline. Place nails into every indentation, bend, curve or dip in the design. The nail outline is a jig.

  3. 3

    Measure the outside perimeter of the jig. Cut a length of 22-gauge craft wire that is 1 inch longer than the perimeter of the design jig. Run the wire through your fingers for to soften and straighten it. Warm, straight wire is easier to shape around the design intricacies of the jig.

  4. 4

    Grip one end of the wire with round nose pliers, 1/4-inch from the end. Twist the pliers to make a loop. Slide the loop over one of the nails in the jig. Select a nail that is closest to where you plan to attach the wire charm or pendant to a necklace or bracelet. For example, if the wire design hangs straight up and down, hook the nail at the top of the jig.

  5. 5

    Wrap the wire around the outside of the nails in the design outline. Press the wire to shape it into indentations and around curves as you go. Make another loop at the end of the wire. Slide the hook over the same nail as the first loop.

  6. 6

    Lift the wire shape straight up to remove it from the jig. Cut away any excess wire. Open a jump ring with round nose pliers and slip it through both loops. Attach the jump ring to a necklace or bracelet.

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