Jewelry making is interesting work for children who wish to make jewelry of silver and other metals. It is an ancient and honorable craft which has unlimited possibilities.
An interesting feature of this type of craft work is that from the beginning, with a few essential tools, materials, and simple working drawings, one can learn to make really wearable jewelry. As in any craft, practice is necessary in order to acquire the workmanship which will give good results.
Wire may form the foundation of a piece of jewelry, or it may be applied as a decoration. It is often twisted to add lightness to a design, and can easily be formed into coils or line units of decoration for flat or curved surfaces. Twists and coils of wire can be made of round, half round, or square wire.
Keep the 14 gauge or heavier wire in coils. Wire of a lighter gauge may be wound on spools. If kinks occur in the lighter gauge wire they can be removed by holding the wire ends firmly and the length taut while drawing it over the edge of a wooden bench, or block of wood.
The word "jig" is a mechanics' term given to a device which is used to guide a tool or a material. A jig makes the forming of an article easier during construction and makes the finished pieces mechanically more perfect. When a design requires duplication of parts, a jig is often used.
Often a design calls for a twist of given length, sometimes a tight or loose twist. To determine the length to cut the wire is important. The gauge of the wire as well as the number of twists the wire is given will determine the length of the finished piece. When round wire is used, two or more lengths are necessary for the twist. A rope-like effect may be obtained by twisting a single length of flat or square wire. All wire should be annealed.
Twisting Wire 18 Gauge or Lighter
Measure the amount needed for the twist. Loop the wire length in the center, and insert the two loose ends through the hole in the spool. Hold the ends in the jaws of a table vise. Insert a small steel rod through the loop of wire, and pull the wire taut. Hold the spool firmly against the rod. Turn the rod to twist the wire.
Twisting Wire 16 Gauge or Heavier
Hold the looped end of the wire in the jaws of the hand vise. Clamp the loose end in the jaws of the table vise. Turn the hand vise to twist the wire.
To Determine The Length
In cutting the wire for a definite length of finished twist, the following examples have been given of two round wires of different gauges and lengths.
Select a round steel mandrel the diameter of the coil desired. Place between two blocks of soft wood parallel with the grain of the wood.
Press the blocks between the jaws of the table vise to form a groove in each block. Remove the mandrel from the blocks, and file a groove at a right angle to the groove made by the mandrel.
Coiling the Mandrel
Place the mandrel between the blocks in the groove letting the end extend beyond the blocks about 1/2 inch. Hold the blocks in the jaws of the table vise tight enough to hold the blocks but loose enough so the mandrel will turn and move out of the groove as the wire is coiled. Make a few coils on the end of the mandrel.
Clamp the mandrel and coils in the jaws of the hand vise. Hold the loose end of the wire in the filed groove during the coiling.
During the process guide the wire and keep the coil even. Use the hand vise as a handle to turn the mandrel to form the coil.
The above processes, once mastered will allow imaginative decoration to be added to the jewelry.
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