Saturday, August 30, 2008

Now With New and Improved Loopiness!

I have been practicing making wire loops using with 20 gauge copper wire. It's pretty flexible wire and the gauge is small enough to go through the beads but large enough to be easy to see. I'm using glass beads from a bag of 'assorted glass beads @ some very cheap price per strand' - most of them are junk, but there are some pretty cool ones in the mix. The chain of beads I've made so far is surprisingly pretty for the quality of the materials

I've figured out a few things that are really helping me make neat, round and consistent loops. The how to guides I've read haven't suggested all these these things, but I'm happy to share.

#1 Mark the round nose pliers so you make the loop at the same spot each time. This gives uniform sized loops. I painted the bottom of the pliers up to the point where I want to bend the wire for the loop with some bright pink nail polish I had sitting on my desk.

#2 Before you start the full bend around the pliers, just using the very tip I make a small bend - this way I don't end up with a flat bit in the loop - they're turning out very round.

#3 Measuring to cut the wire for the second loop - this has been a challenge. I used a steel mm calibrated ruler for a while but I've pretty much figured out how to eyeball it using the width of my left index finger. I guess I could put a little mark on my finger with a Sharpie to be even more precise...

#4 I'm using my nylon nosed pliers to bend the loops when connecting them together and avoid tool marks. I bend the loop up from a completed circle, add the loop on the next bead and then bend the open loop down to close it - keeps the nice circle I've created from getting flat or otherwise distorted.

Here's my little practice set up:

And here's a close-up of the most recent loops:

Later this afternoon some of my family from the L.A. area are coming into town to see my nephew play football against our local university team, so this may be all the beading I get to today.

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Blogger Lisa Spangenberg said...

I am really really liking this style of necklace.

Now thinking about going to Venice and Milan and Florence, to buy beads . . .

August 30, 2008 at 9:02 PM  
Blogger Dawno said...

Thank you! I'm now working on one with clear oval beads and the light blues/sea greens in the 'best of the junk beads' assortment.

I won't give up on stringing or the vintage stuff, but the more I practice, the better I get, so I will probably do a few of these "apprentice" type works with the copper wire and cheap glass before I move on to the sterling wire (price=ouch) and gemstones or more quality glass beads (got my eye on some really beautiful lampwork out there).

August 30, 2008 at 11:34 PM  
Blogger A Beaded Affair said...

Lovely work. I found you through a search for copper. Will look forward to seeing more of your copper experiments. I love silver too but work all the kinks out in copper first but copper has become very popular and it is starting to sell in jewelry now too. Don't discount it.

September 1, 2008 at 8:53 AM  
Blogger Dawno said...

Hi, and welcome Lois! Thank you for the comment (and compliment) - I have noticed a lot more copper jewelry - the price of silver and gold has made it difficult to use much and still make affordable pieces, so I can understand the rationale.

I love the look of copper and will continue to use it a lot.

September 1, 2008 at 11:12 AM  

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