About The Work Room

The Work Room is the Creative Journal of Wendy Sue where she shares her creative journey in all things handmade. The Work Room also offers an alternative to your typical jewelry making workshops. Scroll down to the end of the page to see how you can learn to make your unique piece of artisan jewelry online.

Monday, 1 December 2008

What's my solution?


Work Room chat:
Ever wondered how wire jewellery artist make those wire wrapped cross pendant? I found this video not too long ago showing how those wire wrapped cross pendant are made. The lady in the video did it very fast and her wrapping is a little messy I reckon. When you do it, you just slow down a little so that you get a nice neat wrap and now that you've know the technique, you can be more creative by attaching beads or something to make it yours. Check out the video here.


No doubt, we all know that the best wire is sterling silver wire but we all also know how much it costs. I think I’m still considered an amateur crafter lor. Sterling silver material is probably not something I can afford to look into right now. In time to come, maybe. But for now, dwelling so much into the price tag for sterling silver wires will probably put me off from continue making jewellery.

But even as an amateur, I still want to be able to make a good quality piece of jewellery.

I tried silver plated pins and the same hoo-haas I had with pins arose. Moreover, I think those plating were so thin that I can literally see the plating flaking off while I was working with them. A total let down!

Sa Kor came back to visit early this year and she brought back these wires for me to try. These are European made silver plated wires. They have a copper core and the plating is made up of a small quantity of pure silver, to get the colour, and an alloy. The plating on these wires is a lot thicker than what you normally get from the Chinese wires.

These wires have a firm but bendable feel, it keeps it's shape really well and it has a beautiful, bright silver finish, akin to sterling silver. I’ve been using these ever since. Good quality wires, I must say and I’ve been very happy with it.

All my pieces you see in the Atelier are made with these silver plated wires. I have since crossed off head pins and eye pins from my bead shopping list. All my wire needs are found in these silver plated wires.

I’ll tell you why.

I make my own head pins

Hold the spool of wires on your left hand. (I'm right handed, so, if you're left handed, it should be the other way round la!)

Slide your bead in.

Let your bead slide further down a bit so that it doesn't get in the way.

Now, with your tip of your chain nose plier, hold onto the edge of the wire.

Turn 90 degrees upwards.

That's not enough. Turn some more. Until you turn 180 degress.

Then, use the flat surface of the chain nose plier , press them together so that they are literally crushed into each other. :P

This is what you'll get. This picture is not crushed close enough. When you do it, you should crushed them together real close in order to get the intended effect. There shouldn't be gap in between like this.

Now, slide your bead back up.(?)Cuz just now we said slide down mar, so logically, it should be back up now? But it looks like you've got a top hat on the head when you only want a head.

No worries. We're gonna tweak it a little.

Slide your bead back down to get it out of the way.

With your flush cutter, be very careful and cut a small bit off the tip of the folded part. This would require some precision cutting, so it would be a good idea to do this in a bright room. Careful also not to cut off the entire head.

There, now it looks more like a clean shaven head. LOL!

Slide your bead back up.

There. That looks more like it. :)

Now, use your chain nose plier and hold right at the top of the bead.

Make a 90 degrees turn.

Guesstimate the length you'll need to make your loop and cut off.

Tadah! You've just made your own head pin. Loop the other end as usual to make your connection.

Erm, I think it could even be pass off as one of those ball end head pins, no? o_O

An alternative to the ball-like end head pins is to make a scroll end head pins. Instead of balling up the end, you scroll up the end like this. This can even goes as part of your design.

Basically, design possibilities are endless.

I make my own eye pin.

Same old story. *yawn* :)

Slide your bead in.

Make a loop.

Slide your bead back up.

Make a 90 degrees turn. Cut off at the length you need to make a loop.

Look what we have here? ;)

And finally, what I like best.....

No more wastage!

Now, here's the trick. Do not cut off pieces of wire to make your loop or head. Otherwise, you are still faced with the same wastage problem as before.

This is what you do.

Always hold onto the spool of wires on one hand and slide in the bead first. Once you’ve got the required length, you can put the roll aside and do the loop forming as usual.

Notice how there is no wastage of wires at all throughout the process?

I just love it how there's control over material usage when it's done this way.

I know some may find it to be a little inconvenient to be holding a roll of wire on one hand all the time while working it with the other but this seems to be the only way that I know of to help you cut out the exact length of wires that you need without any wastage. Save whenever you can, is a good policy. No?

You'll get used to it after some time. :P

However, some wastage is unavoidable when you are making a wrapped loop. You do need to cut out excess wire for you to make the wrap and it is always a good idea to have a longer end for you to wrap so that it gives you the correct tension to help you make a nice tight wrapped loop.

What else did I do with these silver plated wires?

I made my own hook and eye clasp!

On the rare occasion when I ran out of clasp I made my own. But really, it is the eye that I made more of.

I was never quite happy about ending my pieces with a jump ring or split ring for the clasp to hook onto. I felt that it gave a very unfinished look to the piece.

I knew about end tags.

But end tags are hard to come by and I feel end tags look better paired with a bolt ring clasp.

Not with a lobster clasp.

Now, I make my own eye for the lobster clasp to hook onto. Same old grandmother story, why buy when you can make your own? I’m more satisfied with how my pieces end now than I was before.

With wires long long like this, I can also ......

Wrap a teardrop bead

..... the way I’ve always wanted to.

I even ....

Made my own jump rings.

I wouldn’t recommend you to make your own if you want to do chainmaille. You’ll probably die of exhaustion unless you have a coiling gizmo and a jewellery saw!

This is for the odd one or two that I need to connect the clasp and eye to finish off a piece or to make a connection.

Okla, so I did tried making a chainmaille piece once. With ALL handmade jump rings using 1.0mm thick wires! LOL :) But that was it lor hor.

I’ve been using these wires for almost a year now and I do think they have work wonderfully for me. It’s a great way to get the look of sterling silver for much lesser.

If you are interested to get these silver plated wires click here for more info. This will also work great for those who wants to make wire jewellery.

I have 20 samples pack of these silver plated wires in 0.6 mm to give away.

The first 20 readers to leave your email on the comment box for this post will get a pack of these wires. Each pack consists of ½ metre long of 0.6 mm European made silver plated wires. Postage paid for by normal post.

I will mail you personally to get your address to send them to you. Limit to one sample per reader, alright? :)

Oh, and also only for local shipping addresses, ya.

This is something interesting I found on the metaphysical properties of silver. Silver, it is said, to serve as a mirror to one's soul, allowing a view without judgement. It provides a strong connection between the physical and astral bodies. Used with gemstones, it attracts and retains the qualities of the stones. It enhances the powers of the moon.

Hhhhmmmmm....... interesting..... if only la I knew what are astral bodies and what can the powers of the moon do...... o_O

post signature

23 hollers:

Jenny Pong said...

Wendy, I need samples and you have not get back to me on the things I have asked you... Please email me the quotation etc. =D

Wendy Sue said...


Mailed you already.

Joan said...

hi wendy....i would like to hv the sample too....

Wendy Sue said...

Do remember to leave me your email address so that I can get back to you.

Cal said...

Hi Wendy, may I have a sample pack please?



CaL said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Angelyn said...

Wendy, I would like a sample pack too!


Law said...

Please send me a sample... I will mail you my address.

Wendy Sue said...

Ok, let's do it this way. Leave a comment here and then mail me at atelierworkroom@gmail.com, your shipping address for the sample pack to be sent to.

You do have to leave a comment here first before mailing me your address so that everyone and I can keep track of the first 20. Fair enough?

No comments, no sample ya.

Jules said...

First time to your site. Great to know of the freebies. Love to try it out. Watch for my email then....


Wendy Sue said...

Sample wire pack for all of the above has been sent out by normal post. :)

atleng said...

can i have a sample?i think i'll make head pins etc with those and my normal wires and compare what is the difference(you describe it until its so nice)


Justine said...

Hi Wendy, you are sure using the wire for many applications! I'll like a sample too, I will mail you later. Thanks


sar said...

very creative ways of using wire. please send me a sample, i will email u my address

Ang said...

Wendy, I am interested in the wire sample, please send me a pack! I will mail you my address. Thanks!

Wendy Sue said...

Wire sample pack for the above sent out today by normal post.

10 more wire sample pack left.

Jeff (Kah Keong) said...

Love your site, a lot of interesting information. Wanna get a sample pack of the wires for my cousin that is trying to make her own jewelery. Will introduce your site to her.

Joanne said...

pls can u send me a sample?i would like to compare with the copper wire i'm currently using

Wendy Sue said...

Sample packs sent! :)

Jeff: Thanks!

Closet Alert said...

Sample pack still available? I want one please.


Anonymous said...

Very resourceful with wires as can be made into many items as well as saving costs.

I have just started on beading and would like to learn to wrap loops. I've read in beading magazines that half-hard wires being used for wrapping loops but not sure what gauge to use for normal bead hole. Can you let me know where I can buy them from locally? Thanks in advance. :) Emily

Wendy Sue said...

Closet Alert: Yes, still available. :) and they have been sent out already.

Emily: You don't necessarily need half hard wires to make wrapped loops. :)

It depends on what wires you are referring to. As far as I know, only precious wires like sterling silver and gold filled comes in different temper. Temper is the term used to mean wire hardness.

To my knowledge, craft wires, like copper wires usually come in a standard hardness. They are usually malleable enough for most projects. My experience however has only extend to as far as craft wires.

But if you are using sterling silver wires though, I would oerhaps suggest you to use dead soft. Most jewellery artist normally use half hard wires for making frames and it might be more difficult to manipulate for a beginner.

Online, you can get them from Beading.com.my but they are dead soft if I'm not mistaken. They also have a physical shop in Times Square, so you may wanna check out their store n can even ask them stuffs.

Marinacraft.com.my also has sterling silver wires in dead soft and half hard.

As for brick n mortar bead shops, I'm not exactly sure where but have heard that there are many bead supply shops in Petaling Street, along Jln Tun HS Lee. So, if you are around the corner maybe you would wanna walk around and have a look see. Or anyone who knows any good bead shop to recommend, feel free to leave a comment here.

As for gauges, I think 22 gauge, somewhere around 0.6mm would work fine for most beads to do your loop and wrapped loop.

Or if you would like to understand more about wire in jewelry making, you may be interested to read up this article by Eni Oken here.

Hope this helps. :)

Charmaine said...

Hey darl, would love a pack of sample too~Thanks!


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