Must Have Tools for Wire Wrap Beginners

Updated: Oct 26, 2019


I can sense your enthusiasm for crafting, your passion for improving.

With these handful of tools, you'll be able to transform your jewelry making skills to create the solid, striking, and superior pieces you know you're capable of.

You'll produce jewelry that's unique and wearable and your sales will start to pick up as a result.

Take a look at some of the greats of the handmade jewelry industry. People like Nicole Hanna and IMNIUM (two of my favorites).

They possess the creativity and the patience required to become great jewelry artists.

And you can bet that they use the right tools for the job.

I've split the tools into three sections that I think are the most relevant;

Metals

Gemstones

Hand Tools

Read on for the top tools to create wire wrapped jewelry and let me know in the comments below what's on your wishlist.

Metals (form, gauge & where to buy)

  • Copper

  • Bronze

  • 925 sterling silver

  • 14K yellow gold filled

  • 14K rose gold filled

For the framework of your pieces:

18ga round/square wire, half hard and dead soft

18ga half round wire, dead soft

For the details:

20ga, 22ga, 24ga round/square/patterned wire, half hard and dead soft

For the wrapping and weaving:

26ga and 28ga wire, dead soft

For ear wires:

21ga round wire, half hard

Where to buy:

Rio Grande is a great choice, I use them regularly. They have a superior range of items and their products are always good quality, plus they arrive in good time.

For people in or close to the UK, Cookson Gold are fantastic. They have a great selection of metals and findings and delivery speed is like lightening. Plus they always have some sort of sale on.

Gemstones

Before you go rushing in to buying rough and rose cut diamonds, I would suggest opting for something a little more affordable that you can practice with.

Beads are great for starting out, as you can use them in various ways to create unique jewelry.

They also allow you to focus on the design without worrying about how you're going to stop the stones from falling out. Work on your wrapping skills first and then move on to the pricier loose gemstones when you're sure you can secure them.

I find that Etsy has the best range of quality gemstone beads. Terms to search for include:

  • Briolette

  • Onion briolette

  • Heart briolette

  • Drilled

  • Large hole

  • Side drilled

  • Rondelle

  • Roundelle

  • Coins

  • Buttons

  • Faceted

You can also find inexpensive loose gemstones on ebay, although I usually check a sellers feedback thoroughly first, as fakes are a problem there. Once you find a few sellers that you trust, it's worth stocking up on the items that you know you'll want more of, for me that's labradorite and moonstone.

Hand Tools (& Other Bits for the Bench)

  • Pliers. You'll only need 3 to start out. Round nose, chain nose, and flush cutters. Here are my suggestions.

  • A ring mandrel. Don't go for the plastic ones as they tend to get marked very quickly.

  • A planishing hammer for texturising the metal and a nylon hammer for when you don't want to mark the metal.

  • An anvil, to hammer against. Here's the one I use.

These items can also be bought from Rio Grande or Cookson Gold.

And that's the end of your shopping list. What have you bought so far?

Image: Jarod Carruther, Flickr

#JewelryMaking

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