Round Loops and Spirals: Free Tutorial by Fee

Jewelrylessons.com is one of the best places online to find jewelry making tutorials and interact with other jewelry artists, especially wire wrapped jewelry artists.
One of my favorite tutorials from the site teaches how to make perfectly round loops, and how to turn those lovely perfect circles into more attractive spirals than those that can be formed from slightly teardrop-shaped simple loops.
The tutorial was written by jewelrylessons.com teacher Fee, and she has generously made it available as a free download.

Free round loops and round spirals wire wrapped jewelry making tutorial by Fee of jewelrylessons.com
Free round loops and round spirals wire wrapped jewelry making tutorial by Fee of jewelrylessons.com

How to Make Simple Loop Links and Rosary Style Chains

Once you’ve mastered how to make simple loops, you will find it easy to make simple loop links and rosary style chains.

Simple loop links connected to form a rosary style chain.
Simple loop links connected to form a rosary style chain.

For this exercise you will need

  • Several eye pins made from 1 1/2 or  2-inch lengths of 20 gauge dead soft wire.  The starting lengths of the wires (before they were made into eye pins) must be known.  The eyes of each pin should be of equal size.  This is achieved by forming every pin’s eye at the same point of the round nose pliers’ nose.
  • Several beads.  Beads around 6mm in diameter work well with 20 gauge wire.
  • Round nose pliers
  • Flush cutter
  • a ruler for measuring
  • Flat nose pliers (optional)

Before beginning, you should know that while simple loops are extremely useful in jewelry making, there is a more secure type of loop called a wrapped loop.  Some advantages of simple loops are that they are faster to make and use less wire.  However, there are situations in which simple loops should not be used, such as where they will

  • support a great deal of weight, such as when very heavy beads are used
  • be frequently manipulated; for example a simple loop should not be used to join a clasp to a necklace or bracelet
  • formed with inappropriate wire gauges.  Generally, the thicker the wire the more stable it will be as a simple loop.  The correct balance between wire gauge, bead size, and the overall look of a piece must be carefully considered.

To begin, measure the length of the eye pin’s tail.  That is, measure the length of the eye pin not including the eye itself.

Measure the tail of the eye pin.
Measure the tail of the eye pin.

Subtract the measured length from the original length of the wire before it was made into an eye pin.  This will tell you how much wire was used to make the simple loop.
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Marketing Your Jewelry Business with Facebook

The New York Times has a helpful article today about how to market small businesses using Facebook.
Some key points, as it relates to jewelry artists:

  • Use a “page” rather than your personal profile for your small business marketing.  People will become your “fans” rather than your “friends,” and allow you to use your personal profile page for personal purposes.
  • Don’t push sales.  Many online venues that work well for marketing such as blogging, Twitter, Flickr, and Facebook work best when they are used to develop relationships with your fans and customers.  Use Facebook to interact with your fans, allow them to get to know you and your jewelry better, and share interesting information with them.  Have you ever been to a furniture store where a pushy salesperson won’t just leave you alone and let you look around?  What if instead of hounding you they put out a plate of cookies, had a video playing of how a particular piece of furniture was made, and had a photo album of various arrangements and decor ideas for each furniture group?

I found this article helpful and plan to set up a Facebook page once I get this blog going. Maybe you’ll find it useful too.

How to Make a Simple Loop and Simple Loop Eye Pins

The simple loop is the most fundamental “cold connection” in the wire wrapped jewelry maker’s arsenal. Very simply, it is made by turning the end of a piece of wire into a loop. These little loops have very important uses, though, from linking beads together to form rosary-style chains to attaching the dangly bit of an earring to its ear wire.

A simple loop eyepin, a fundamental component of wire wrapped jewelry making
A simple loop eyepin, a fundamental component of wire wrapped jewelry making

The following jewelry making tutorial will show you how to make simple loops and eye pins. An eye pin is a short piece of wire with a simple loop on one end.
To make several simple loop eye pins you will need:

  • Several 2-inch lengths of 20 gauge dead soft wire.  For practice (and for some projects!) use inexpensive copper or craft wire.  It is important to measure the wire accurately if you will be using these eye pins for a project.
  • A wire cutter, such as a flush cutter
  • Round nose pliers

The following instructions are written for right-handers.  Left handers must simply reverse the instructions.
To begin, hold your round nose pliers in your right hand with the hand oriented as though you were about to cut a piece of paper with a pair of scissors.
Turn your hand back and to the left so that the nose of your pliers are pointing to the left, and the back of your hand is facing up.
Pick up a piece of wire with your left hand.
Bring the wire to the nose of the pliers from behind.  As the wire enters the nose of the pliers, it will be moving toward you.  Grasp the end of the wire with the nose of the pliers.  The wire should be positioned such that its end just barely protrudes from the nose of the pliers, and the tail of the wire emerges from behind the pliers perpendicular to their nose.
If you will be using these eye pins for a project, it is important to make them uniform.  In order to make all of the loops the same size, you should either make careful note of which spot on the nose of the pliers you are grasping the wire with (such as exactly half way between the base and the tip) or you should mark the spot with a Sharpie marker.  A Sharpie mark can be easily removed later with rubbing alcohol.

How to grasp the wire with round nose pliers
How to grasp the wire with round nose pliers

Begin to curl the wire into a simple loop by rotating your wrist, hand, and the pliers away from you (so that your fingers move downward and your thumb moves upward).  Rotate about 1/2 turn, until it would be uncomfortable to continue turning your wrist.
Curl the end of the wire about half way or slightly further, until it would become uncomfortable to continue rotating your wrist.
Curl the end of the wire about half way or slightly further, until it would become uncomfortable to continue rotating your wrist.

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