my shoppe              contact me              newsletter              my studio              about lampwork

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

tuesday's table {wire}


for today's tuesday's table {say that three times fast! lol} we're going to begin with the basics. beading wire.

so what kind of wire is best? {i think you can figure out my fave lol}

when i first began this journey of designing jewelry {way back in 2002} everyone was using .019 soft flex wire. it never even occurred to me that there was another choice. i knew about .014, which is great for stringing delicate things like pearls of tiny gemstones, but it is not good for anything with meaty weight. even .019 isn't your best choice for stones 8mm and larger.

when you use a thin wire, despite its having 49 strands inside its plastic coating, with things that are heavy you end up with too much stretching. heck, it will even break fairly quickly. there's only so much wire can take, after all.

thankfully i rarely have anyone return items for things breaking. in all these years i can say it has happened less than ten times. however, things can and do stretch with constant wear. it's a bummer because no one wants to see holes and who wants to see the string itself? i sure don't. sometimes i'm so surprised by other jewelry designers when they leave so much slack in their creations, that one can see the hole along with the wire. certainly, i don't want it to be so tight that it will snap on you, but naturally jewelry will stretch and it will begin to have its own slack so you don't need to leave so much that it will be noticeable to the person buying it. it's a sign of poor craftsmanship.

so rule of thumb: if you see a bracelet whereby you can see the inside of the beads hole and/or the wire it's strung on, move along. do not buy that item. it tells you it's made by someone who doesn't have good knowledge of how something should be made.

what kind of wire do you use and why?

i use soft flex .024. it is the best there is. here's what i purchase... click HERE. you might not need the 1000 feet but if you are in this business for the long haul, this is the BEST choice. it's the best for your money. if this is your hobby, go with the 100 or even 30 foot.

the .024 wire is in the 'heavy' category for that very reason: you can use heavier beads. i've been using it for the last six years and has proven itself golden {although i buy the silver kind, ha}. it's fairly costly yes, but you have to weigh your options. would you rather purchase the lesser expensive wire and then have customers returning their things to you because they're breaking? no. that would close your doors rather quickly i'd imagine. i think it's one of the main reasons why i've been here so long, because i know that my work is GOOD work. i take pride in it. i don't worry about things breaking. (unless you put your bracelet on the roof of your car and drive off... lol this has happened before)



how do you cut your wire?

lots of designers probably use a pair of nipping or flush cutter tools, but not me. i would never cut the wire with something so expensive {tools are costly, hello}. i bought a pair of $1.99 scissors from Hobby Lobby {you know, the kind with the colorful rubbery handles?}.  these puppies are super sharp and last at least a year or so of constant cutting. typically i put out 50 or more items a week, so just imagine how much cutting they get and they are still going strong. when they begin to lose their cutting power, i give them to the kids to cut scraps of paper and then go buy myself another 2 dollar pair. lol seriously, for that price it will take you years to get up to what you would pay for flush cutters. in all these years i think i've gone through four pairs. four. no joke. {mind you, these are sharp scissors, and so you might end up paying a bit more if you cannot find this exact type, but you can purchase these online at hobby lobby by using the link above} by the way, my handles are pink. ::winks::

remember, if you have good bones to your piece, you'll produce something that will last a long time and make your customers happy. isn't that what it's all about anyway? :)

by the way, sorry i missed last week. we've had some Internet problems {all fixed now!}. yay!

have a great day!

1 comment:

Zondra Art said...

Happy Women's Day!
Kisses.