Saturday, December 15, 2007

Saving Silver Wire #1 - The Bead Unit

This blog records my process of creating art jewelry, with adventures, examples, and techniques! Click on the images to enlarge.

Now that silver has gotten so expensive, we want to save as much silver wire as possible, don't we? I've developed a few techniques to save my wire – I often work right off the roll of wire. This way I don't waste ANY wire at all and there are no odd lengths of wire to throw away. Here's how I do it on a recent earring project that involves a pine cone charm, a bead unit and a handmade ear wire.

There are three parts to this project. Here's Part 1 (The Bead Unit) – come back for Part 2 (The Ear Wire) and Part 3 (Putting it Together). I'm using 20 guage round sterling silver wire.


I hold the roll of wire in my left hand like this and work from the end.

2. I flush cut a tiny end off the wire so it will be nice and even.

I slide the beads onto the wire.

Next, I grab the very tip of the wire with the round-nose pliers, a third of the way up, and roll the wire around, making a loop. I bend the wire a little bit at the base, so the loop is centered like a lollipop on a stick.

I go to the other end of the beads I have stacked and hold the wire in the round nose pliers, again a third of the way up.

I then make the second loop. I center that loop and then flush cut the end.

I wiggle both wire ends back and forth a bit until the loops are completely closed.

I place the bead unit on my steel bench block and tap very lightly on each loop with my ball peen hammer to harden the wire.

Here's the finished bead unit.

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