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
Round nose pliers are used to make loops 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 starting with a medium size is
Needle Nose Pliers
Needle nose pliers are tapered off at the tip. It is best to have two pair of needle nose (or chain nose – see below) pliers – you need two pair to open and close jump rings. (Or you can use a pair of each.)
Chain Nose Pliers
Chain nose pliers are great for holding wire and jewelry, making bends in wire, and
opening and closing jump rings. Chain nose pliers are similar to needle nose
pliers, but needle nose pliers are tapered while chain nose pliers square off
at the tip.
Nylon Jaw Pliers
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.
Bent Nose Pliers
These are great for opening jump rings or anytime you need a unique angle.
What You Need to Get Started:
- Wire cutters
- 2 pair of needle nose or chain nose pliers, or one of each
- Round nose pliers
If you are making rings you’ll need:
- Wire Cutters
- Ring mandrel
- Serrated 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.