Using wire is such a fun and creative way to make jewellery and once you’ve mastered the technique, there will be no stopping you! But first, you need to know what tools you need to get started and what each tool is used for.
From wire wrapping beads, creating earwires to forming many shapes with wire - you'll find everything you need below.
The beauty of wire wrapping is that you don’t need many tools, so it’s an inexpensive way to get into jewellery making before heading into other techniques such as stone setting.
Round nose pliers will be the most valuable pliers in your kit. They are used for bending wire smoothly, creating loops, jump rings and other findings.
Snipe nose pliers, also known as chain nose pliers are great for bending metal sheet and wire. They have a tapered jaw, so they are great for closing jump rings and crimps.
Flat nose pliers have wide, flat jaws which is great for gripping wide surfaces, bending angles and opening jump rings.
When practicing your wire work technique, it may be frustrating when your wire gets bent and you can’t straighten it again. That’s when nylon jaw pliers come in! Use these to straighten out your wire, they won’t scratch or damage your work.
Half round pliers also known as ring bending pliers are great for quickly and easily bend curves in flat or D-shaped wire. One of the jaws has a half round cross section for curving and forming, and the other jaw is flat which helps avoid marking the metal so you can gradually work your way around.
You will need side cutters for cutting and trimming wire, headpins, eyepins etc.
The chasing hammer, also known as repousse hammer is great for creating texture on your wire jewellery. You can use the flat side of the hammer to flatten wire up to 1.5mm.
The jewellers hammer is a great all-round hammer and can be used to tap your designs gently to work harden it.
A rawhide hammer is a great tool to have in your kit as when your work becomes warped, this can be used to help flatten it back into shape.
A triblet, also known as a mandrel is used to help you form, shape and resize rings. It is lightly marked with UK ring sizes from A-Z.
When cutting wire and creating findings such as earwires, you will notice that the end of the wire can be sharp. You can use files to gently smoothen the edges or your wire so they can be worn safely.
You can’t get started without wire! In the beginning, it can be confusing knowing which metal to choose and the correct size. We always recommend practising with silver plated or copper wire as this is budget friendly, then you can move onto sterling silver or gold and although more expensive it is easier to work with.
You will often see measurements of wire in mm or gauge. At Kernowcraft, we provide 10 different sizes in round wire, starting with 0.2mm (32 gauge) up to 4mm (6 gauge).
0.2mm, 0.3mm, 0.5mm wire is perfect for wire wrapping gemstone beads with small to medium holes.
0.6mm, 0.8mm, 1mm wire is great for making your own findings and forming large shapes.
1.5mm – 2mm wire can be used to create rings, bracelets, bangles, cuffs and also creating frames and structure.
3mm – 4mm wire is thick and can be used for bangles and cuffs, great for those chunky designs but will be harder to work with.