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Have a great beading idea, technique or time-saving tip? View helpful tips from other beaders and submit your own to share with the worldwide jewelry-making community.

Beading Resources > Simple Tips

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Some wire spools have plastic holders to keep wire from unraveling. This makes a cute bracelet. Can be wire-wrapped, strung or glue flat back beads ... use your imagination.

- Nancy


You can use safety pins as your own personal wire coiling gizmo to create small wire coils for detailed wirework and maybe even for wire guardians.

- Angelica from Wisconsin


Cleaning Copper Wire

Copper wire will patina, or darken and discolor, with age. If you prefer to keep your copper wire bright, coat it with a clear sealer or polish before stringing and let dry. Soaking copper in white vinegar will help to clean it.

- Fire Mountain Gems and Beads Tip


Finishing Wire

Beading wire can scratch the wearer if it is sticking out or not clipped close enough to the crimp. A good technique to finish a necklace so that the wire is hidden is to make sure your last bead or two are large enough for the remainder of beading wire to be threaded back through and clipped.

- Fire Mountain Gems and Beads Tip


Hammered Wire

Add visual interest to wire creations by flattening or hammering your wire:
  • Use a metal rolling machine to flatten wire before or after the wire is coiled into a design.
  • Add 3-D surface texture by hammering wire with a ball-peen hammer before or after it is coiled into a design.
*Note: Use gentle, even hammer strokes to create a uniform look. Using square wire is a good choice for hammering and flattening, because it doesn't roll.

- Fire Mountain Gems and Beads Tip


No More Wire Blemishes

To keep your wire looking smooth and blemish free, using the right tools is essential. When making wrapped loops, using a pair of round-nose or chain-nose pliers will make nicely rounded shapes that close tightly. For jumprings that close securely and are not bent awkwardly or scratched, use two sets of fine flat-nose pliers. Avoid using non-jewelry pliers that have grooves or teeth, because they will scar and scratch the wire surface when they pinch down. Scratches from pliers can snag clothing and detract from the polished look.

- Fire Mountain Gems and Beads Tip


Finishing Memory Wire

When finishing the ends, use either a basic loop or ball ends. For loops, bend the wire against the natural curve. This is easier than forcing the wire to bend into the curve. If using ball ends to finish, adhere with E-6000 Epoxy or similar glue to hold the balls in place.

- Fire Mountain Gems and Beads Tip


Cutting Memory Wire

To cut loops of memory wire, use shears that are made specifically for hardened wire. Memory wire will cut into regular wire-cutter blades, ruining them. When placing beads onto the wire, it's important to keep the wire in its natural shape. Avoid pulling the wire straight or the ends may bounce back, causing the beads to fly off.

- Fire Mountain Gems and Beads Tip


Wire Grime

When brass or copper wire is used to make jewelry that is worn on a part of the body that has a lot of natural oils, such as around the neck, ears or chest, the wire can become coated with corrosion. This corrosion can look unsightly if the wire is used with light colored transparent beads.

To keep your jewelry looking clean, choose a high quality metal wire that will resist corrosion, or plan your designs around beads that won't easily show the dark build up.

Periodically cleaning the jewelry in a gentle, soapy water solution can help. If your jewelry contains coated beads or natural gemstones that are sensitive to cleaners or scrubbing, test a small area before cleaning the entire piece.

- Fire Mountain Gems and Beads Tip


Avoiding Un-Centered Loops

How to avoid the un-centered loop ... When you rotate your wrists as you pull the wire, you undo the right angle you are trying to create. Try pushing your wrist down slightly to counteract the natural tendency to pull up while twisting wire loops, because you don't want to move the bend up at all.

- Fire Mountain Gems and Beads Tip


Working with Memory Wire

Memory wire is tempered wire that remembers its shape and retains its coiled form. It's one size fits all and comes in pre-formed necklace, bracelet and ring sizes. You don't need a clasp to connect the ends because they automatically stay in one place around your neck, wrist or finger.

- Fire Mountain Gems and Beads Tip


A Cut Wire Catch

If you cut wire and it goes flying across the room only to be found when you step on it later, here's a tip that will catch those flying pieces. When you cut your wire, hold a damp paper towel in your hand over the tip that will fly. As you are cutting, you will feel the wire tip fling against the damp paper. Now you know exactly where it is, and clean up is a breeze!

- Fire Mountain Gems and Beads Tip


Consistent Loops

When making a project that has multiple wire-wrapped loops, such as chandelier earrings, make the first loop, then use a permanent marker to mark that place on the jaw of your round-nose pliers. Use this mark as a guide for making the rest of the loops the same size. Since the jaws of the pliers are metal, the mark wears off.

- beadandbutton.com


A Tight Closing Loop

To prevent loops from opening, use half-hard wire and slightly over close your loops to create extra tension at the opening. If that still isn't enough security for you, try making a double-wrapped loop.

- beadandbutton.com


Multiple Wire-Wrapped Loops

To create consistent wire-wrapped loops, mark a spot on the jaw of your round-nose pliers and use it as your guide every time you make a wire-wrapped loop. A permanent marker works great, and it eventually wears off of the metal.

- Fire Mountain Gems and Beads Tip

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