Now With New and Improved Loopiness!
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: