Skip to main content

Useful Tips For Budding Wireworkers #1 TOOLS

This is the first in a series of handy info and tips for anyone interested in making Wirework jewellery.

First of all let me explain that I am by no means an expert in Wirework! I've been making Wirework jewellery for nearly three years and am self~taught: everything I have learnt has come from the internet, books and DVDs. But I have so much more to learn and so much more practising to do!
First things first ~


There is a wide variety of jewellery making tools available for Wirework, some are absolutely necessary, some you can live without!

You need several different types of pliers for Wirework ~ these are the pliers I use everytime I make a piece of Wirework jewellery ~

  • Roundnose Pliers ~ for creating loops and round bends

  • Chainnose Pliers ~ for creating bends, tucking in ends of wire and holding the wire

  • Flatnose pliers ~ for creating bends, holding the wire whilst making spirals, flattening wire

  • Wire cutters ~ Cutting wire (obviously!) Make sure you buy a pair that cut the wire flush (flat) at the end

Another pair of pliers that are very useful but not absolutely necessary when you start making Wirework jewellery are Nylon~Jawed pliers. The jaws are made of hard nylon which won't mark the wire and are used to straighten your wire before you start work. They also can be used to grip the wire as you work with it, although I find they don't grip very well but then mine are pretty mangled now!

Hammer And Bench Block

A bench block is a small piece of steel used with a Chasing or Ball Peen hammer to flatten wire, which in turn hardens it and adds interest to the design. The round end of a Ball Peen hammer can also be used to add texture to the wire. Again, not absolutely necessary when you start Wireworking but I couldn't live without mine! It helps to cut down noise when hammering if you put your bench block on a folded towel!

Very useful for smoothing the ends of your wire to prevent scratches or your piece of jewellery catching on things!

Cup Burr
Creates a rounded, smooth end, very useful for the ends of earwires to prevent scratching the ear.

And lastly ~
Tool Magic!
This is a liquid rubber that you dip your pliers into. It dries in a couple of hours and leaves a coating on the pliers that helps to prevent them marking the wire. It can easily be peeled off when you've finished. Just don't inhale the fumes!

I hope you have found this interesting and useful! Below are links to jewellery supplies sites I've used and recommend.
Cookson Gold ~ Everything you could possibly need for jewellery making! (UK)
Palmer Metals ~ Bullion, findings and jewellery supplies (UK)
Fushion Beads ~ Beads, tools, wire and lots more (USA)

Next time..........
How to oxidise Sterling Silver and Copper jewellery!


  1. What a great idea cinnamon - you know, I have never even heard of a cup burr - what a bloomin good idea! I always faff around with files and sandpaper to round my earring wire ends. Doh! So there we go - helpful to everyone not just beginners!


Post a Comment

Your comments and questions are very welcome!
If you would prefer to contact me directly please use the contact form on my "get in touch" page.

Popular posts from this blog

Etching Silver Using Nail Art Stamps

So my love/hate relationship with etching sterling silver continues. I've tried a few times now and always end up with different results most of them not that great to be honest. I've tried connecting the silver and a piece of copper to a 9v battery and also heating the ferric nitrate. Sometimes the results are good sometimes not so good. I currently have an etched piece of silver sheet waiting to be reticulated and rid it of the mess that is the etched "pattern". 
I now know that using stamps and Stayz On ink just doesn't work with silver - the time needed to etch using ferric nitrate is much longer than etching copper and the ink starts to wear away after about an hour. This results in the pattern being patchy as the resist is eaten away and the silver ends up quite lumpy and course looking. I have yet to try using pnp paper. I don't know why but it all seems a bit of a faff to do. I don't have a laser printer so would need to find somewhere or someone…

Embossing Metal With My Sizzix Bigshot

I must admit up until a few weeks ago I was vaguely familiar with the name Sizzix but as to what you actually did with a "Sizzix" I was completely in the dark! That was until I stumbled across a video from Vintaj showing how you could use their embossing folders with a Bigshot to create designs on metal ("metal" - my favourite word after chocolate!)
I was really impressed and itching to have a go, I just needed a Bigshot........ I waited a few weeks then when the urge to possess one overcame me I went out debit card at the ready..............and the shop had sold out! So I trundled off to The Range on the off chance and came home clutching my own surprisingly heavy pink and black wonder machine. It sat on the dining room table for a couple of days while I waited for the embossing folders I'd ordered online to arrive then the time came to start playing!

I started with some pre-cut 24g copper hearts and the Wildflower Vines and the Butterfly Swirls Deco Embossin…

Rolling Mill Textures On Metal

I had another play with my rolling mill last week using some of the texture sheets from Etsy shop Rolling Mill Resource. I used some sterling silver and copper sheet and soon discovered it's best to get organized before you start!

I cut the sheet to size and worked out which design was going on which piece of metal. I also tried a feather but more on that later. Most of the sheet I used was 20g/0.8mm with one piece of 18g/1.0mm and one of 22g/0.6mm.
I've read that you should do a dead pass of the metal through the rolling mill with the gap the same size as the metal and texturing item. I'm not sure what this is supposed to achieve but I don't bother doing it. Judging the correct size of gap between the rollers is a trial and error thing that you discover by setting the gap then starting to roll the metal through. If there's too much resistance you make the gap bigger until there's just enough resistance to roll the metal through without giving yourself a herni…