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.

Tuesday, 13 January 2009

Lolly Loop 101


Work Room chat:
For a video instruction of making a lolly loop, you can refer to Bead & Button website here. The video however is only made available to registered user but then and again registration is free! ;)


I’ve noticed that many of The Work Room readers are beginners to jewellery making and I thought this article would be helpful where I share on how I make loop. Loop making/ wrapping is after all, the corner stone of jewellery making involving cold connection. What is meant by cold connection here is that the connection for this type of jewellery making does not involve fire, i.e soldering.

How often have you come up with a loop like this?

What’s wrong, you ask? Well, let me now put that loop side by side with this loop.

The one on the left is the loop from the picture above.

Still can’t spot the difference?

Alright, I’ll open up the loop a bit so you are able to see what I’m trying to say here.

Can you see it now?

Notice the difference in the ends of the two? The one on the left has a rather straight end and the one on the right has got a curved end.

How is this important you may ask? Try looking back at the second picture above. You will notice how the loop on the left ends with some sort of a ‘V’ edge instead of a nice and smooth curve like the one on the right. The ‘V’ end is due to the straight end that you see in picture three.

Well, not to say that it’s anything damaging to your work. Merely a matter of workmanship. ;)

So, one very important note to keep in mind when making your loop is this. Always start by making a curve at the edge of the wire before making your loop to avoid that straight end. It’s probably one extra step but it might be worth it for a nice lolly loop. ;)

Just in case you are wondering why I’m calling it a lolly loop is because I remembered watching an American beading show Beads, Baubles and Jewels who refer to a nice round loop as a lolly, round like a lolly. :) I thought it was really cute so, that sort of gave an impression! LOL….

Anyway, I’m digressing a little there already. Let’s get back to our main discussion, shall we? :)

As I was saying, yes, a curve at the edge of the wire prior to looping.

How we are going to make this curve is easy. Grip the end of the wire with the back of the round nose plier.

You really need to grip right at the very edge. How do you know that you have grip it right at the very edge?

Simple. Make sure that you do no see, not even the slightest bit of wire jutting out from the other end. Like this.

If you still see teeny weeny bit of wire jutting out from the other end like this….

…..then you know you haven’t reach the very end yet. Push the wires further in until you see nothing on the other end and give it a slight turn upwards.

Basically, that’s the first step I would recommend you to do prior to looping. Next, I’ll be dividing the discussion of making loop into two different segment. The first would be where you are looping a wire end, akin to making an eye pin and the second, where you will be making a loop with a bead strung onto the wire.

Whilst both seems like doing only the same thing, but the way I’m doing for one is slightly different from the other.

Let’s first look at how I make a loop on a wire end. You may call it an eye pin, if you like.

The method is simple and straightforward.

After the initial ‘end-curve’, grip the end of the wire with your round nose plier. You may grip at whichever section of the round nose plier that you so chooses, depending how big or small you want your loop to be. For me, I usually grip with the tip of the round nose since I like to make small loop.

Then, with one continuous turn of 180 degrees, turn the wire such that the ends meet the other wire.

This is what you’ll get.

You will notice that the loop is not very centred but fret not. All you have to do is just to reshape it with the round nose plier.

This time, grip at the other side of the loop like this.

Then turn it slightly backwards to position the loop in the centre.

Now, you get a nice centred loop, or you can call it the eye pin. :)

(if you have been following me around The Work Room, you should know by now that I always slide my bead in first before I do any work to the wire :)

There! :)

Next is making a loop with a bead strung onto the wire.

First is to make a 90 degrees angle turn and then cut off the length you need to make the loop.

The length I normally cut off is usually this much.

But of course, it also depends on how big of a loop you want to make. Bigger loops would undoubtedly requires longer length of wire.

I don’t measure before I cut by the way. But because I’ve been doing this for so long already, I kinda get a hang of it already and the length I cut off is usually pretty what similar.

The loop I normally make are small ones, usually the size of the tip of my round nose plier.

Before I continue with the looping part, I would really like to make a mention of this.

When it comes to making a loop on top of a bead, one of the things I tried to avoid is this.

Notice how there is like some sort of a short ‘neck’ in between the loop and the bead?

A loop should look as though it is part of the bead and so it should sit nicely right on top of the bead. When you have gaps like that between the loop and the bead, you may find the bead is loose and moving below the loop when that really shouldn’t be the case.

It took me quite a while before figuring out.

You see, in order for to loop to sit just right on top of the bead such that it forms part of the bead itself is to make the loop as close as possible to the bead. And, the make the loop as close as possible to the bead, what is important is to make your 90 degrees bend as close as possible to the bead.

How close of a bend that you can make to the bead depends a lot on the tool that you use.

I used to use a round nose plier to make the bend because i)the magazine and sites that I refer to when I first learn to make loop suggested them and also ii)for convenience reason because since I’ll be using the round nose to make the loop, I might as well also use it to make the bend to save the hassle of changing pliers.

As I’ve made mention before in my previous posts, I’ve got with me two stainless steel round nose plier from two different manufacturers. The size of the tip of the pliers are of course significantly different.

You see that the one on the right has got a sharper tip than the one on the left.

How you will be making the 90 degrees bend is this.

Grip the wire right on top of the bead with the tip of round nose jaw.

Then, turn the wire end downwards to form a 90 degrees angle.

See the ‘neck’ forming?

If this is the case, then common sense would tell you that the sharper the tip, the less gap it will create, no?

The bend on the right is made using the round nose with the sharper tip on the right in the picture above and the bend on the left with the left plier.

Yes. But I can tell you that that stainless steel tip on the right is the sharpest I have ever come across already after having used two economy versions and two stainless steel versions of round nose plier. No matter how sharp the tip is, I still think it would leave some gap. The size of the tip merely affects the size of the gap it will leave behind.

So, how?

:) I wouldn’t be bothered talking about this if even I myself haven’t found a way to work around it.

Use the chain nose plier.


Make your 90 degrees bend.

See how close the bend is to the bead now?

Not convinced? Alright, to show you that I did not push the bead upwards, I shall hold on the wire end.

< size="1">Convinced now? ;)

Now that we’ve done with the bend, the next thing to do is to make the loop. Some people like to make the loop in one turn like what I did with the wire end just now but I personally find that you can create a nicer loop with two turns.

This is how I do it.

Make your first step turn.

Depending how big you want the loop to be, grip onto the end of the wire. I like to make smaller loop. So, I normally grip with somewhere near the tip of the round nose. If you want to make a bigger loop, you might want to grip further in.

Yes, there are occasions when you need a bigger loop too, depending on design.

Next, make a somewhat 90 degrees turn upwards.

Stop right there. This is what you’ll get.

Then, grip onto somewhat at the back of the loop.

And then you are going to somewhat close the gap by pushing the loop down from the back of the loop. Errmm, imagine you are closing one of the lid of containers with hinges. Ok, not exactly a very good analogy there but close. I can’t think of a better way to explain this at the moment!

And there you have it…….

A nice lolly loop! =D

Of course I’m not claiming this to be the best method but this is a method that I found to have worked for me after much trial and error experimenting with different methods that other jewellery makers use.

So, you may want to play around a bit to find one that ultimately works for you. ;)

One of my earlier concerns when it comes to loop making was how to make consistent loop.

So, when I came across Bead Smith three step pliers, I thought I’ve found the Holy Grail to make consistent loop because that was what it was advertised to do.

I was so excited to try it out when I finally got my hands on them but almost fainted when I saw the results!

The first step which is also the smallest one creates a 4mm loop, 5mm for the next and 6mm the last one. 4mm loop?! That’s considered huge already for a normal loop connection! Just look at the picture. Here, I use a 4mm Swarovski crystal bicone bead.

Can you see how disproportionately huge it is compared to the ones that I normally make? o_O

The thing is, with more practise and as you go on making jewelleries, I think the estimation just comes to you? Well, it did for me. I’m not saying that I make carbon copy consistent loop throughout but they are satisfactorily consistent? ;)

I try not to be too hard on myself, which I always have the tendency to and that almost always drive me nuts!

But anyway, if you would like to know a trick for consistent loop, this is what I’ve found some jewellery makers do.

They mark their pliers.

You make a mark on the jaw of your round nose as a guide for you to know where to loop so you’ll always end up with the same size loop.

You can use a fine tip marker pen or something to draw the line but I didn’t do it in the picture above because I don’t like to scribble on my tools. So, I’m making the mark with the masking tape for illustration purposes only. :P

So, that’s basically a guide to making loop, done The Work Room style. ;)

Remember, as cliché as this may sound, practise does indeed makes perfect. :)

p/s: up next….wrapped loop 101, maybe?. So, stay tuned, alright! ;)

post signature

0 hollers:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...