Loopy

Yokes.jpg

When it comes to making handcrafted jewelry elements from wire, almost everything starts with a loop, and there are plenty of ways to make them. Choosing the right tool, or the right technique for each individual project can make the difference between a fine finished piece or a misshapen disaster.

The round nose pliers is a basic tool that most handcrafters have in their arsenal. They have cone-shaped jaws that start out with a very small, maybe 1mm tip, and get progressive larger as they go down. Where you position the wire in the jaws will determine how large or small your loop will be. In order to stay consistent when creating a piece with multiple loops you must be sure to hit the same spot on the jaws every time.

A better alternative when it comes to consistency and symmetry, is the step jaw pliers. These pliers have consistent tiers which get larger as you go down. Some will have three graduated tiers on one side, and a flat jaw on the other, while others have six distinct sizes, three graduated tiers on both jaws. Experienced crafters will usually own both.

Bail making pliers are also an alternative, but they are limited. They have two round jaws, each with a different circumference. They come in different sizes, and if you want the versatility of making multiple sized loops you must have multiple pairs of pliers.

A wire jig is a great way to loop in patterns. A wire jig consists of a flat surface with holes in it, and pegs to insert into those holes. There are jigs with fixed patterns built right into them, but I find the ones you can set up multiple patterns on much more functional. Pictured up above are five loop yokes that I made on a jig. You can see how these pieces are incorporated into some finished jewelry by browsing my Etsy Shop, Gene’s Joint. You can use a wire jig to loop, curve, and bend with consistency.

I will caution you when it comes to jigs, the aluminum jig that is most commonly on the shelves of big box craft stores is garbage, and no matter what you pay for it, you’ve paid too much. I have seen it branded under a few different names, but no matter what the name, it’s the same piece of trash, and not worth it. A much better alternative is one, or all (I own the Delphi, the Cyclops, and the Centaur), of the wig jigs. I have never seen one in a craft store, but they are available online at the Wig Jig website.

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2 Responses to “Loopy”

  1. Miss Poppy's Boutique Says:

    These are very good points and recommendations. I would only use Wig Jig myself. Using quality tools means the difference between grade-school-looking jewelry and professional-quality looking jewelry.

    Liked by 2 people

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