I taught myself how to make jewelry and how to wire wrap. I didn’t really know what I was doing or what tools to use. In fact, until recently I used my original tools, which were a mishmash of tools my dad gave me from his toolbox and tools I picked up from here and there.
When you’re learning, I think this is just fine. I hate how the price tag of a tool goes up as soon as the word “jewelry” is attached to it.
The truth is, however, that there are certain jewelry specific tools that will make it a lot easier for you.
Here’s a little glossary of some of the wire wrapping tools you’ll want to have on hand when making jewelry.
A sharp pair of wire cutters is essential to obtain nice clean cuts on your wire.
Wire cutters create both flush and pinch cuts when cutting the wire, leaving
one end of the wire with a pinch cut and the other end with a flush cut. The
top of the cutter is the side that creates the pinch cut while the bottom side
of the cutter, the flat side, creates a straight or flush cut.
Round nose pliers are used to make loops, bends and jump rings. Round nose pliers have
tapered barrels so that various sized loops can be made. There are various
sizes of barrels on round nose pliers, and a medium size is a great place to start.
Chain nose pliers are tapered off at the tip. It is best to have two pair of pliers – you need two pair to open and close jump rings. (You can use any pliers to open jump rings as long as they are flat inside. So do not use round nose pliers. Bent nose pliers are perfect for opening jump rings.)
These pliers are great for straightening wire and holding jewelry as you make it to avoid leaving tool marks on my jewelry. Sometimes it is not possible to hold jewelry with nylon jaw pliers as the metal will slip within the pliers. Try them first and if your wire slips, use other pliers.
The nylon jaws can be replaced, too, so once they are worn out, you do not have to buy a new tool but rather just buy the replacements.
I use serrated pliers only when making rings. They will leave marks on your jewelry. However, when I make rings I pull very tightly on the wire and serrated pliers help me keep a tight grip. I hold the wire only on the end with these and then cut that part off.
These are great for opening jump rings or anytime you need a unique angle.
What You Need to Get Started:
- Wire cutters
- Chain nose pliers *
- Round nose pliers
*If you’re opening and closing jump rings you’ll need 2 pair of chain nose or other flat pliers or get a pair of bent nose pliers in addition to the chain nose pliers.
If you are making rings you’ll need:
- Wire Cutters
- Ring mandrel
- Serrated pliers
- Non-serrated chain nose pliers
Don’t make a huge investment if you are just starting. Try to use what you have around the house or what you can find inexpensively. Once you know what you feel comfortable using, invest in more expensive pieces.
It’s also good to wait to see what kind of jewelry you’re going to making the most and which tools you’ll use the most and then invest in those tools.