Gen. info (re wirework)
....basic wire shapes
Types of wires
...plastic-coated ..telephone wire, etc. (metal core)
...other metal-core wire
...all-metal wire
.....colored metal
Coils..Spirals...Twists ...mesh ... hinges
Tools ...pliers,hammers,cutters,other
More info re handling wire
Uses & ideas for wire
... figures, jewelry, memo holders, attachers, adhesive for, etc.
....wrapping + frame-outlines

Books, videos, Online groups, etc.
Other Websites
....also, my Wire Play class notes:


see the Jewelry page and the Pendants-Cording page for suppliers, and much more info on findings, etc

see also the Wire Play page which contains my notes and lessons for a wire class I gave to kids-beginners

all kinds of wire

Connie Fox's lessons, basic wire info
(Single Eye Pins, Double Eye Pins, Wrapped Eye Pins, Eye Pin Variations, Jump Rings, Jump Ring Variations, Spirals, Simple Clasp, "S" Clasp, Coils)

and loads of other wire info (Work Surface, Lighting, The Wire, Wire Cutters, Pliers, Wire Wrapping Jig, Hammers, Saw Filing, Bead Reaming, Measurement Mystery Tool, Drawplate and Punch Bead Compartments, Designing Wire Jewelry, Antique and Polish, Digital Photography of Jewelry, Wire to Web)

WigJig University's many simple illustrations and lessons on working with wire (click on all 6 pages)

various beading techniques

Preston Reuther's site (most selling his "system" for learning wirework): (many lessons, download with Acrobat Reader) (home page)

Connie's page for many types of tools used in wirework (definitions, info, etc.)
...also suggestions for basic tools (and also next-level) tools needed for doing wirework (...she suggests very good quality names for every tool, but buying that level of quality for each tool isn't necessary unless you want to do a lot of wirework, and make high-end jewelry from more expensive wire, etc.)

online video lessons re various techniques for wire and jewelry making (which may include basic techniques)

some Basic Wire Shapes

NOTE: more info on jewelry findings, etc., & making them, is in Pendants > Top Loops,
and in
Jewelry > Connectors + Clasps
(...loops, eye pins, head pins, clasps, spirals, coils, etc....)

jump rings can be purchased in many sizes, colors, and even several shapes, but you can also make your own
 . . . (lessons):  wind the wire around a dowel, and it should be wound so tight that there are no spaces between the rings
...from there, you can cut each individual loop of the coil with wire cutters
...OR to cut all the loops at the same time...bring the wire down to the end of the dowel (or remove it and hold it in your fingers), brace it against a wood cutting surface, hold the dowel and wire firmly while using a jeweler's saw (with a bit of beeswax on it?) at a 45 degree angle.  As you cut the jump rings will either fall off the cutting blade or onto it
... . .
....lesson on coiling and cutting your own jump rings (coiling instructions are more precise than most people might need) at Jewelrymaking (fancier)
…often purchased machine-cut jump rings (and jump rings which you make yourself and cut with wire cutters) don't have a totally flat cut edge, so they never do close entirely ... but you can file the ends to make them flat and smooth (or use a jeweler's saw to make them)
...jump ring variations ...hammered, twisted wire, and double (jump rings)
ALSO chain maille techniques (many many patterns using many jump rings joined together) (2nd half of page)
.....many photos and links re chain maille jewelry
....Wigjig's lesson on making a box chain (aka square or Queen's chain) with jumprings

making head pins from plain wire
(hammer end to create a "paddle" pin, then file any roughness
....or bend over one end with round nose pliers and close tightly, below tip)

simple loops .... most often used as end loops, or for making an "eye" pin
...the basic loop is the foundation of most jewelry making... it's pretty simple once you get the idea, then you can make loads of jewelry
...loops are often made at the end of a length of wire (or at the end of an eye pin or a head pin) --though they can be made in the middle too'll need a pair of "round nose" pliers (also called "rosary" pliers), since regular flat nose needlenose pliers just won't work well
simple loop (not re-centered) ...basics lesson
...problem solving your loops, if necessary (loop next to bead) (loop next to bead at each end) (double loop at each end of bead)
(double loops can also be used to hold things ) (they make a bend first, then make the loop) (she makes the loop first, then straightens the neck)
"neckwear" for eye pins (a tube or coil)... plus hammered eye on eye pin

Desiree's lesson on making a simple loop in the middle of a wire length by holding the wire at its midpoint with round pliers, then crossing each end of wire to the opposite side (for creating a top loop in a wire frame around a pendant) (step 1, part 1)

"wrapped" loops
*'s lesson on making a (single or) doubled-ended wrapped loop which can have a bead in-between, for a "chain" of beads
wrapped loop with diamond shape below (for green earrings) (middle of page)

(for making spirals --- see below in Coils, Spirals, Twists)

"U" hooks (...hook at one end, loop at the other end):
lesson on complete simple clasp (both parts)...single-wire U hook+loop, plus lessson on figure-8 shape as other part of total clasp)
Corgi's lesson on making a hook+loop, with perpendicular loops... plus lessson on figure-8)
Connie's lesson on making a hook+loop with perpendicular loop (with thick wire), for a clasp end (top part here is also hammered)
lesson on making a single wire hook+loop (loop "stop") at end, and wrapped loop
lesson on making a doubled-wire hook+loop (though they can be different shapes and sizes than this!)
"S" hooks (hook at both ends)
lesson on making a (fat) S-hook for a clasp
Eni's lesson on making an S-hook for a clasp, and also "wrapping" a doubled-back cording with thin wire to create a loop for jump ring
Connie's lesson on making an S-hook for a clasp (14-16 g wire) (hammered)
photo of S-hook to attach to loop on either side (click on Fig. E),1789,HGTV_3225_3108675,00.html
lesson on 2 basic wire hooks (photos prob.gone tho)
Connie's swan clasp (with spiral)
"toggle" wire clasp, with figure 8 with one loop larger into which the toggle fits

lesson creating "spacer bars" using a length of wire made into coils in several places

ear wires
...there are several types, esp. the French type (aka "fishhook") which pass through the ear hole but don't clasp, and the kidney type (which actually close under the ear for more security)
(.....purchased French earwires generally look like this: )
simple French earwire
adding a bead to simple French earwire
"wrapped French hook" ...but don't put the final loop at the last... just bend the end out slightly like regular French ear wires (click on pg. 2 also)
round and square ear wires (made on a WigJig, but not nec.)... they also hammer the shapes
weird looking ear wire, made with "decorative" headpin,2025,DIY_13762_3520387,00.html (click Fig. D)
...Klew often uses a metal "charm" finding between the earwire and earring to give extra design and interest
..."gypsy" ear wires, with multiple loops at bottom for hanging dangles
...various types of dangle earrings
... some instruction (click on each for more)
...earrings in the fancy galleries these days seem to have ear wires that are integral to the earring rather than a loop and hook effect... one way to do that would be to use oversize kidney wire ear findings... straighten out the safety hook part (kinda twist it to the side and straighten it, and bend it around til you are happy)...then sandwich that part in between layers of clay....leaving the long oversize wire part to come out as a massive earwire... works nice. ....or maybe put one between the two halves of a lentil bead before you put it together (may have to put some clay inside and bake the wire into that) Emma
....plastic earwires are very inexpensive, and many people can wear them if allergic to metal wires ...they come in various colors (including black and white) and can also be dyed. ....they are more durable than they at first appear to be ….I wouldn't use them on intricate, expensive earrings, but they can be very effective on the simple, less expensive designs....the colored wires provide an interesting effect with polymer clay dangles. Carol C. 
..."stops" for the back of earrings... my mother came up with the idea of using a plastic margarine lid ... punching disks out of it with a hole punch... then poking a hole through the center for earring stays....(a really cheap method to keep from losing an earring... I put them on all my earrings now). Linda H. 
...for purchased metal hoop earrings ... after slipping your bead(s) onto the hoop, bend the free end up just a bit to allow it to slip into the metal hole at the other end

"wire wrapping"... wrapping stones or other objects with wire in various ways to encapsulate them, plus adding a loop/etc. for hanging as pendant
(see more below in Ideas for Wire)
Micki’s lesson on doing a simple wrap/holder/top loop for a flat oval stone (or whatever)
Cris's many fancier wire wraps and embellishments, on pendants
Eni's many lessons on various wire wraps and embellishments (most $5 each,downloadable)
NixCreations' many fancy wire-wrapped pendants (...also click on other pages under the category "Wrap It Up")
Eni's lesson on making "herringbone" weave to capture a round bead with wire, with fancy weave at top and bottom
...NixCreation's "Indian wrap" weave (same as herringbone just above) around flat round bead (rounded edges)... sells DVD
more tips on wire wrapping

(see more lessons below, especially under Coils, Spirals etc.)


Plastic-Coated wire (w/ metal core)
... telephone wire, Twisteez, etc.

The telephone wire most of us use is 25-pair centrex
.. inside the outer gray plastic sleeve, you have 50 small, solid copper wires which are coated with PVC. The clay bonds to that very nicely and the coating behaves in the oven just like the clay does.
.......some thicker, phone wires
often have a different coating that doesn't stick to the clay.Halla
..."25 pair" wire is the right stuff (for bonding with the clay).  It has 26 gauge copper wire with a pvc coating
(smaller pairings often are not copper --copper will bend and keep its shape), and are most often 24 gauge which makes bigger holes in the clay. 
....There is one major advantage to some of the smaller pvc coated 24 gauge pairings can get solid color without stripes, etc.
....The very best kind of telephone wire seems to be the red, yellow, black, etc., ones (bundled together inside a the gray plastic sleeve) that comes generally from older structures, so if you see someone renovating, check out the telephone wire that's being removed. 
...Also check out your local wire or industrial supplier.
...I never thought of approaching an electrician. They always have tons of scrap wire too!

Fun Wire (by Amaco)'s plastic coating is thicker than on telephone wire
...comes in 18, 22, & 24 gauge
...PVC-coated, copper (or silver) wire (underneath) in 18 solid colors:
........light pink,.red,,orange,,lavender,,purple,,yellow,,light & dark blue, turquoise, mint green, green, black and white (more?)
...can be cut with scissors or nail clippers
...can be purchased locally at Hobby Lobby and Wal-Mart..& maybe other craft places

Twisteez Wire ...pliable, plastic-coated, copper wire
....comes in more colors than telephone wire, but fewe than Fun Wire? (rainbow colors, some are pastels)
....can be purchased at some craft stores, or online

Twister Fun Wire??...colored wire (same as Twisteez?)

Most plastic-covered wire actually bonds to the clay when baked with it (it's chemically related)
....make sure that the ends of the telephone wire are covered because the plastic covering actually shinks a bit in the process (of baking). Ohio
.....Although Pier (Voulkos) started using telephone wire in her jewelry in 1984, it wasn't until 1989 that she discovered that it could be baked into clay. "I first played with it as a child making bugs and jewelry. It was a common recyclable material used in children's craft projects. It is a perfect compliment to the colorful clay." Discovering the bonding properties opened up the world of making jewelry for Pier. "I could now make earrings without having to glue each and every wire into the clay."

wire loops and U's ...used as hangers & connectors
..because it bonds to clay during curing, clayers can make hangers and connectors of various types with plastic-covered wire to use for pendants, ornaments, dangles, etc,
.....insert both "feet" of an upside-down U-shape wire into the clay... no glue nec. (see Pendants > Top Loops for more)
.....or use it as a connector by inserting one end into the clay, then making a loop in the projecting wire... then wrapping the loose end around under the loop (for "wrapped loops," see Jewelry > Connectors)

Debbie Anderson's tiny shoes attached to cording with wrapped-loop telephone wire connectorsand connectors for dangles
...and her tiny purses with double-wire handles (click on Polymer Clay Art)

fancy polymer bugs, many with telephone wire
..Joanie's swap (3 pages)
...Joyce Fritz' bugs have tiny twisted wires for legs
frog with wire legs and feet

Marcia Rocha's funny sculptures using clay & wire (animals, people, things)

PolymerPeg used small coils of telephone wire as "tube" beads on a necklace
short length of telephone wire added to back of clay cutout for added strength,1789,HGTV_3238_3335450,00.html
Sarajane used white telephone wire for the strings on her clay banjo
Tamila's flowers and leaves on telephone wire stalks in "flower pot" (with bunny) (gone)
LindaWTX's telephone wire, coiled connectors (gone)
Emma's (Pier-type) wrapped attachments to necklace (gone)

Jeanne R. used lengths of tel. wire to create impressions for her faux brick wall

lessons & ideas from Twisteez (simple lesson using wire as spiky hair)
....other ways to use colored plastic-covered wire with clay (or with other things) for figures, etc. ....

wire figures and "note holders"

Klutz Press has a book called Wire-O-Mania, by Haab and Torres, with lots of ideas for making things with telephone type wire (not clay, but inspirational)
...Design Originals has a short book called "Down to the Wire" with cute projects
...Barbara McGuire has a book "Wire in Design: Modern Wire Art & Mixed Media" with some telephone wire

In effect, I made my own custom colored "telephone" wire by painting on (the telephone wire?) two coats of green tinted liquid clay to see how delicate I could get... I baked between coats
.......You can paint liquid clay over plain wire to make your own custom telephone wire but it takes many thin coats to avoid drips. It probably would be too fragile a coating on large gauge wire unless many coats were applied. Jody
...I twisted two strands together and coated them with liquid clay. It turned out to be very strong.

What's the wierdest thing you've "wrapped"
I've wrapped firepolished glass triangles to painted metal discs with striped telephone wire.  Very cool.

Telephone wire can be used to weave baskets as well... polymer bits would adhere to them
...or a large multi-loop bubble wand made with twisted wires

Other things that work and bond with the clay are those colored, plastic-covered paper clips
...and also the S'ghetti round lacing for crafts that can be bought at crafts stores (though there's no wire inside).

Other metal core wire
colored (& clear)

check out your local industrial wire suppliers

(at the hardware store) go to where they have the house wire, the wire that is wrapped in plastic coating. They will have the cut ends right there, look to see if it contains what you want.

I saw a necklace that someone made using bright colored paper clips (some striped ones, black ones and bright gold ones as well) from Staples & Office Depot. Each wrapped chain segment (1 paper clip) began like a figure 8. The ends were then wrapped around the middle after being connected to another clip. The designer added fun things from the "chain" of wrapped paper clips. Cheryl T-W

Softflex (jewelry quality) wire is made from very thin, marine quality, stainless steel wires woven togehter and then nylon coated; flexible and knottable; 12 colors, 3 diameters; used primarily for cording (see Jewelry > ) and
"CHANGE IN TERMINOLOGY! Soft Flex long ago was coated in clear nylon, then the color being called Clear or Clear Satin. For the last 14 month's we have been processing the color "Silver" into the clear nylon resulting in a very nice matte "Silver" finish, a more refined color. When we launched the product line called Soft Touch we also used "Silver" in the nylon coating from the very beginning. Please note from this point forward our color selection for clear will no longer be used in our order processing. Please place any future orders requesting the color "Silver". This is the very same product with same strength, as you have been using for the past 14 month's!"

Soft Touch jewelry-quality wire (available only in Clear; same performance as Soft Flex Wire with 50% more supple drape)

All-Metal wire

gold and silver (& copper) "jewelry wire" can be purchased in crafts stores, bead stores, and online... usually on a spool or in coils
...wires available at craft stores don't have as much silver or gold in them as those which can be purchased from Fire Mountain, etc. (except copper?)
......higher end jewelry usually uses these higher quality wires for ear wires, and other wires which will show
...these wires come in various thicknesses

jewelry wire can also be salvaged from metal findings like earring wires, clasps, jumprings, etc.

galvanized steel or copper wire from the hardware store... packaged in a coil.
.... (for what type of thing?) ...I recommend 20 gauge wire if it is small, like mine; but 18 gauge would be better for a bigger piece.
....copper wire is normally softer than steel, so you might want to go with a thicker gauge for copper (wire gauge #s increase as the diameter decreases, thus 28 gauge would be much thinner than 20 gauge).   Barb
...You may want to try any company in your area who wharehouses and distributes copper by the spool. They usually sell scrap and smaller spools of lesser weight.

I used wire from the floral dept. @ Michael's. It cost around $.99 for approx. 25 pre-cut 20" peices (. It is not the prettiest wire, but it's fine for what I am using it for. It is also packaged straightened, not coiled. So there is no need for straightening the wire, which is a PITA. It can also be spray painted if you really want to get fancy.

Memory Wire permanently-coiled, tough, wire in long coil
...comes in 4 diameters ..beads are usually strung onto it
...used for making bracelets or anklets or rings, necklace chokers, wine glass charms
......can also make Christmas ornaments... decorative coils for placing around candles/jars/cans... etc. put "stops" at ends of wire, can curl wire backward into loop
, or glue on a bead, make hook & loop fasteners for single coil necklaces, etc ... using roundnose pliers or other tools
...Memory Wire is dfficult to cut, and too tough for jewelry-type wire cutters... must use regular wire cutters or other tools or even kid's Fiskars scissors, or bend back and forth to break (possibly with heat), etc.

MORE lessons, info & examples
see much more on using Memory Wire in Jewelry > Bracelets (lessons/photos at DIY on making bracelets, necklaces, etc.) (more info about Memory Wire bracelets)
...PolymerClayExpress (3 sizes)
...Primitive Earth (4 sizes)

TSI  1-800-426-9984 (they also also sell findings, stones, beads, boxes, sterling & gold sheet & wire, tools, etc ; excellent service, really nice people, don't need a resale number)

Rio Grande (members only)

guitar wire . . . I think the strings, cut in little pieces, would make funky hair-do's on dolls too. Lots of uses!  Geo
….Julia's guitar wire bracelets (&Geo's --she will upload somewhere?)

The "piano wire" as the hobby shops guys call it can be found in those plane/car model building hobby shops.  I think it's also called music wire.  Desiree
...The hardware store sells piano wire (same as “steel music wire” at hobby shops?) in tons of different diameters and you can cut it down to the length you find comfortable. A cut-off wheel on the Dremel works great for this - just wear safety goggles. Jacqueline
….Do not try to cut piano wire with diagonal cutters; it left a slight crimp in my DH's cutters (of course I didn't use mine, they are smaller)  Kat

Also, if you have access to any place that does welding, welding rod is good too.  Jacqueline

metal allergy..."hypoallergenic" (wire/metal) means it's less likely to cause allergy than "regular" (metal), whatever that is, so it doesn't necessarily mean a whole lot. ...Allergies to metals happen when some of the metal leeches from the earring post and reacts with your ear. But niobium/titanium is not supposed to leech..... there are plastic stud findings at Rings & Things, but there's the minimum order... btw, in bulk, silver earwires are less than 50c apiece. ....of course, there's the option of making your own earwires, which would be really cheap. hello summer!
...hypoallergenic usually just means that there is no nickel in them (what causes problems in most people). Some things labeled surgical stainless steel are labled hypoallergenic even lots of them have nickle it really depends on how severe the allergy is. ... plastic earwires are damn near impossible to find..... sterling silver is kind of expensive, but worth it ... or a nice coat of clear nail polish keeps the itchies away for a few months until it wears off and you have to reapply it. something weird

colored metal wire

the (metallic?) colored craft wires seem to be all pretty much the same thing: a copper wire core covered with a colorful coating. The color doesn't rub off, but it chips easily if you manipulate the wire too much or too forcefully with bare pliers. Wrap the jaws of your pliers with masking or painter's tape. Duct tape will also work. Any tape will tear where the wire rubs it, so you'll have to replace it frequently. Alice

Artistic Wire jewelry-quality (permanently colored, enamel-coated, copper or silver wire, resistant to scratching, peeling, hammering, tarnishing, and marring; square or round;
...50+ colors... 14 gauges (10-24 ga)
...for wire wrapping and forming, and for use with the jigs, Twist N’ Curls and Weaving Dollies well as the Wacketdown™, Nylon Tipped Hammers, Anvils, and L & D Drawplates.
...IMO there is pretty much no point in even considering using any of the artistic coloured wires as use for ear-wires
...Even if you could get the ends of Artistic Wire nice and smooth for going into the ear, the coatings would come off, and they are not made of nice metals to wear. Emma

niobium (coated?) wire is a great metal for allergies too.  Emma
...Even if you could get the ends of Artistic Wire nice and smooth for going into the ear, the coatings would come off, and they are not made of nice metals to wear. Your best bet is, as you said, to try niobium which is hypo-allergenic. However, this wire tends to be very thin, might not look that wonderful. Sterling wire is pretty good price, and available in variety of sizes - I would use that if I were you (or gold filled too)
...... Alternatively, you can buy the findings you like and still embed them into the clay. I have used both methods before (using wire, and embedding pre-made findings) But, anything going through the ear, I personally would not want craft wires, becuase the coloured ones tend to flake a lot, and usualy are a copper wire underneath, so you might end up with flaky green ears! Emma

(thin oxidized coating??…need more info)

I took your advice and went to the hardware store; black coated wire is so exciting that I can't hardly stand it.


Coils... Spirals...Twists ...Mesh... (hinges)


(for permanently coiled wire to purchase --Memory Wire-- see just above)

make a coil (loop?), then embed both ends into clay on pins, jewelry, etc. I have also used gold colored wire (no telephone)--kind of gives another interesting look (see more in Jewelry)

Chris Gluck's lesson on making funny, simple bugs (could be people) coiled colored wires for arms/legs,1789,HGTV_3256_1385790,00.html

Cindy P's lesson on making a wire coil with fancy ends to create minibook spine

Dar’s wire ladies” pins ...(body is one large, flat, fairly triangular polished stone, multi-wrapped with wire and beads ...for hair and head, loose coils of wire around a ring of wire ... each legor leg is a short wire with loop at end (one has tiny stone attached to loop for shoe ) and

intertwined wire and fiber made into a coil
...Wigjig's lesson on making a twisted and coiled cord from wire and fiber (or other cording) --they use a colored wire and twist it with a (gold) cord; the resulting twisted cord is then wrapped around a thin rod to create a coiled cord
Wigjig's lesson on mixing specialty fibers with wire (twisting, coiling, necklace, etc.)

coiling a coil ...Susan B's lesson on amulet-type figure with flat body, molded head, and coiled wire for arms (made with Twist 'n Curl mechanism)

special tools for making coils:
LeRoy Goertz "Coiling Gizmo" … you can turn wire into intricate beads
Wire Coiling Gizmo, plus video tape on various ways to use the coils, ~$13
Corrine Gurney's Coil Wizard

wire coiling and shaping devices, wig jigs, knitting spools, hammering/flattener device, etc.

check Carol Duvall show . . especially for air date Mar 13, 2001 --
.........Wire Glass Decor, creating coils & then wrapping beads on wire with turn thing

Cheryl's framed pendants with wire coils sticking out here and there

lesson creating spacer bars, using a length of wire made into coils in several places

the rings of coils can also hold up notes or other paper items placed between them, or even to hold a small frame upright, etc.

(to make your own jump rings by "coiling" wire around a rod then cutting down the length of the coil, see above in Basic Wire Shapes > jumprings)


Wire spirals can be made tight (solid, all "rings" touching) or loose (space between rings)
...can be made large or small... and from any most any type or color of wire
...can also be made in shapes other than round (rectangular, triangular, etc.)
...can also be hammered

Wire spirals can be used functionally and/or decoratively
...functional uses could be as "stops" ...e.g., at the end of a wire threaded with beads, to keep the beads from slipping off (instead of using a head pin, or instead of making a plain loop)
.......Celie's "stands" (for earrings, in this case)... she curves slightly a long heavy wire and forms one end into a loose spiral... two wires like this are placed into a polymer base (and crisscrossed in the curved areas once or twice for design purposes)

memo holders... photo card holders, etc.
.....(for examples of these and lessons, see below in Other Uses

Connie's lesson on making spirals
spiral at end of wrapped loop.... decorative, on front of "pendant",1789,HGTV_3352_1399580,00.html
spiral as bottom part of an ear wire... and spiral added at end of beads on earring (top photo)

Connie's swan clasp with spiral

bead "cages" (from 2 spirals
on the same wire)
lesson wire spiral rolled up to the center of a length of a wire... then a second spiral rolled up from the other end (mirror-image, like a scroll)... then one spiral is slowly rolled up and on top of the other ... coils are then spread apart to allow a bead to be placed inside before closing again (can just start with photo # 9 or 10)
...lesson on making a wire spiral (better pics than above)
.....BUT not putting a bead inside the cage... instead, they pull all coils apart by grasping the innermost coil at each end and pulling outward ...then wrap an eye pin with thin wire, and insert up through bead (...& make second loop at end) ... so wrapped eyepin is visible inside cage as decorative element


Has someone already mentioned wire twisting with these egg-beater type drills? (I'm talking about hand drills with a rotating crank on one side -- about $12 new at discount stores, $2-3 at flea markets if you are lucky.) There are several ways to do this, but basically you put two exactly equal length strands of wire in the chuck instead of a bit, tightening it up snugly, and fix the other end/s in a clamp, around a post, or something. Cranking the drill until the wire is evenly and tightly twisted gives a really cool metal element to use with your clay.

piece of wire about 6 ft. long… put the two loose ends in a drill chuck and loop the outher end over a round bar held in a vice turn on the drill, don’t over twist . I use 10 two 6 gauge . After twisting take a hammer and flatten the twisted wire. What to do with this flat braid ?. . . I use it for braclets, rings, etc. Lysle?

Dotty. . . I'm sculpting gold wire around a lot of my clay things now and  have something called a "Safety Wire" twister, for twisting two wires  together.  When twisting one wire, I use square wire and a small electric  hand drill.  Works perfectly, both of them.

…This is also a good method for making aramature wire that will hold the clay. I was taught in a wire class to use a small drill- like the Fiskar's drill. Put tape on it.... and hold it in a small vise.  You can put wire or tubes of varied sizes into the drill- just like a bit... and hold them... a wire can then be turned onto the base wire, by turning the handle of the drill. I hope this makes sense.  You can turn the wire directly onto your wire using the drill. Kathndolls

About the twister. . .  We learned this technique from Celie Fago…She used a simple hand-operated drill -- one of those that look sort of like an old egg-beater, w/ the turn crank. When I got home I raided my husband's tool stash and found an old one that works just fine. Insert a small metal cup hook into the slot where the drill bit goes. Double a 3 ft. length of 22 gauge brass wire, hooking one end on the cuphook & the other in a small vice or twisted around something stable. Crank and twist! That's all there is to it. You can make two twists & apply them side by side with twists going in opposite directions so that it looks like one braided wire. The twisted wire makes beautiful side bales on pendants.
..One more thing: in class, we annealed (heated) the wire before twisting. This made it more supple. Just loosely coil the cut wire, being sure to tuck the ends in securely, and put it on a hot plate or electric stove burner for about 3 minutes. Remove, allow to cool. You'll notice the wire being much softer. Most metalworking/jewelry books have more details on this. Karen S. in Colorado

I think I saw Carol Duvall use a hand held mixer like that. She tied the loose ends to a chair and to one beater and turned it on! Jean/PA

Yes, in the "olden days" we made twisted plant hangers w/ yarns & an electric hand mixer. That would probably work for twisting fabric cord, too. You have more control w/ a hand-powered drill, especially if you're twisting the brass wire. P.S. I mentioned annealing, but w/ 22 and 24 ga. wire you don't absolutely have to do that. It works OK w/ wire right off the spool. Karen S.
I used to work in electronics and we use to use drills to twist wire. Just shove the ends in the drill..then hold the other ends or tie them to a chair etc. You'll have tons of twisted wire in a flash!  JAN @

I have a mini-vise that I can put on my work table and just fasten the other end in that. It goes so fast you have to be careful not to over-twist however. I work a lot with square wire which can be twisted single and the results are beautiful.Dotty in CA

You can twist two (or more?) wires together this way too. . .

intertwined coils as cable or chain, made from 2 or more coils (of diff. colors in this case)...Wigjig's lesson
...shows wrapping several wires separately around a thin rod, then removing each and stretching them out the same amount (they do 3 times the original length), then wrapping one around a second one to nest it, then wrapping a third around the first two, etc.

wire "mesh"

thin wire can be "knit" into a tube with only a knitting nobby or doll

mechanized version:
...Bond America has now also put out a gadget for "knitting" lightweight wire into tube cording. It's called the Wyr Knittr
(don't know if it will also work for yarn, etc., like it's cousin, the Magicord)
(when the finished cord is stretched by the weight of a pendant, it may not look quite as large and holey as it does here )
...uses 28-, 30- or 32-gauge wire to knit tubular mesh ..." the knitted mesh can be flattened, compressed, braided, folded, and twisted as well.... will be light as a feather...they sell thin colored wires too.
...for a totally different effect, just drop a 6mm or 8mm bead down the center of the Wyr Knittr™ and the mesh automatically encloses the bead. Or thread the wire with seed beads or small bugle beads ...."
" and
(see Pendants & Cording > Braided-Woven-Knitted for a description of how the Magicord works, which is similar)

see more on knitting wire below in Tools

Laura Balombini's pages with patterned clay sheets over wire mesh, etc., creating the upper bodies of amazing figures, birds, etc. (keep clicking on Next to see more)
Gwen Pina's figures with patterned clay over woven wire frames, or other media, for upper bodies

for actual wire mesh to buy, see Wire > Wire Mesh

(for hinges ----see Coils just above, but mostly Vessels > Hinges... Pendants-Cording > Hinges & Lockets & pivots hinges... + Books > Hinges... + Frames > Tri-Fold Panels

TOOLS... Pliers, Hammers, Cutters, Jigs, other (PolymerClayExpress) (enter cutters in the search box to see various types, at various prices)|SUPPLIES/Tools (lots of tools! --look toward bottom)* (inexpensive pliers--various types, at Consumer Crafts)

Connie's page for many types of tools used in wirework (definitions, info, etc.)
...also suggestions for basic tools (and also next-level) tools needed for doing wirework (...she suggests very good quality names for every tool, but buying that level of quality for each tool isn't necessary unless you want to do a lot of wirework, and make high-end jewelry from more expensive wire, etc.)

how to hold your pliers, and more info

There are various kinds of pliers that are helpful for working with wire; for the kinds of things we'll probably be doing with polymer clay and wire, both jewelry pliers and other pliers may be useful. Some places to look for pliers are hardware stores and Radio Shack, bead stores and other specialty stores, and online.

The business ends of pliers come in various shapes. I'm not sure of all this, but I think that needlenose pliers are just any which have long, relatively slender jaws. Chain nose means that the inner sides of the jaws are flat, and round nose (or "rosary" pliers) means that the jaws are tapered cylinders (good for making loops for jump rings and other smooth curves; just where the bend or loop is created on the tapered jaw will decide how large it is formed). Some pliers even have one jaw round and the other flat (for doing????). There are pliers made especially for opening or closing rings or split rings, and lots of others (see the websites below for some of them).

Regarding the types of wire cutters:
...The different cuts refer to how the cutting blades come together.
.......Flush cutters should cut at the outer edge of the blades so that you can cut right next to ("flush" with) the surface. This can be at the top end of the pliers or at the side. The cut wire will look as though it has been pinched in two, like this: ><
.......Cross (diagonal?) cutters are made like scissors but with short thick blades. They leave a rougher end on the cut wire. The end cutters I've used have blades angled only on one of their sides and completely flat across the top. This makes them create a cut that is almost at a right angle to the surface they're used against since the blades are beveled from only one side. With these, one end of a cut wire would look pinched and the other end would be almost perfectly flat and require very little filing. Barbara
...Also, the cheap cutters usually are made out of a lower grade of metal and will get damaged/nicked when you cut something hard (memory wire would be the worst).

--“flush” cutters (aka "side" cutters?) leave the wire ends cuts straight so they can butt together
--“diagonal” cutters will leave the wire end cut on the diagonal, so that it’s not straight -- this the type similar in shape to ordinary garage wire cutters (if no type is mentioned, the cutters are probably this type)
....If you use a diagonal cutter to cut wire, you need to then file the end flat. . . . have beveled cutting edges, which is not the best way to finish the exposed end of a wire. Desiree

 (from Celie Fago) -- straight end toenail clippers -- cuts wire cheaply as well as or better than wire cutters! ….My last instructor called them "flush cutters." They work well for me…

It appears there are flush cutters for wire and ones that aren't for wire. From what I can tell they look practically identical. Perhaps the only way one can really tell is to try cutting wire (or perhaps the stronger ones are the more expensive ones...DB). All flush cutter will cut wire, but the ones that aren't designed for wire will begin to show dents in the blade edges and become useless rather quickly. You may have noted a wide price range for the same tool ($3 - $60). That's mostly due to a wide range in quality. If you're just starting wirework, you may want to stick with a basic set of low cost tools - round nose and chain nose pliers, toenail clippers, a metal file, a decent hardware hammer and steel block. Then, if you find yourself really getting into it you can advance to the higher end Swiss tools (which I have been told are the finest and most expensive.) Desiree (one pair of flush cutters) (how to use flush cutters)
--“side” cutters (same as flush cutters probably)

I don't use jump rings anymore for exactly this reason (they can let things slip off the ring sometimes).  I use only split rings now, and with the new split ring pliers they're very easy to open and attach.  And they don't come open after you put them on your jewelry like jump rings do.

You didn't say how the wire was being marked by the pliers.. . . First off, you should be using a smooth jawed pliers, not a pliers with serrated jaws. Assuming you're using smooth jawed pliers here's a couple of other things to consider.
..If it's being marked by the square edges of the pliers' jaws, grinding, filing or sanding the edges so they have rounded profile may help.
..If the marking is an indentation, possibly you're squeezing too hard; don't squeeze so hard.
..If none of these help, try wrapping the jaws with a couple of layers of duct (or other cloth based) tape.
..If you're going to be working with a lot of aluminum wire, modifying the jaws by cementing on a layer of leather as someone suggested may be a more permanent fix. Dave
If you take some Emery cloth or a file and slightly break i.e. round the edges on your pliers you won't tend to mark your wire.  The other part is contolling the pressure you apply.

….My daughter solved the tape problem, the fiber reinforced strapping tape works much better (than masking tape), lasts longer (to wrap around the jaws of pliers to avoid scratching metal).

For more permanent solutions, there ARE some pliers offered with nylon jaw overlays.  But these generally mean a rather wide plier jaw, as the nylon overlay pieces are held to the underlying steel jaw often with a screw, or whatever.  What that means is that if you want slim needlenose pliers, you won't find it in this style. ...You can also get, or make, a few styles of pliers with brass jaws, which are steel jawed pliers that have had their working surfaces ground down by a couple millimeters and then had brass overlays soldered in place, so the working surface is soft brass. This works well for gold or silver work, but is likely still too hard to protect an anodized aluminum wire from marks.
..And, while I've not personally tried it, a couple other possibile solutions you could experiment with are dipping plier jaws in a lacquer, like maybe even nail polish or something, or the "plasti-dip" rubber-like dipped coatings you can buy.  These latter might be too soft a surface for a long term coating, as they're more intended for things like tool handles, instead of their working surfaces.  I've used this stuff for coating tweezer ends to be used for holding jewelry when cleaning, such as with a steam cleaner, without the tweezers scratching a highly polished surface.

..Another possible coating you might try, that I suspect would be longer lasting than the dip coatings, would be electronics type heat shrink tubing.  This stuff, you can get at radio shack or other electronics outlets. it's a plastic tube that shrinks to about half it's diameter when heated just hold it over a hot stove burner, for example).  Intended for insulating wires and electrical connections, the shrunk on plastic is nevertheless fairly durable stuff..Peter
……One other suggestion I have which I have used in the past is to grind your pliers out and glue in some hard leather and cut to shape. You can use an old pair of shoes or boots to cut some from. Chris H

For storing my pliers and cutters and still having them handy,, the best thing I found is a towel bar. I attached it to the front of my worktable shelf so the pliers sit on top of it and are ready to go if the urge to tweak something strikes! Karen H.
...someone else uses magnetic metal strips on the wall here and there to hold pliers

artist's paint tube wringer (also used by rubber stampers) can make corrugated sheets of paper, thin metal, or even thin WIRE (thanks for the tip to Meredith Arnold)

I tried using a child's toy to create a cord with wire. I can't remember that name of the toy (Knitting Nobbie?) -but it is like a spool with 4 plastic hooks or nails in the top of it. It is used to knit a hollow cord, but with soft wire it can be pretty neat. You can usually find them in Michaels and other large craft store. Crocheting the wire is also interesting. If you add beads to your wire before you begin, you can push them into your work as you proceed. It gives the look of sparkles in seaweed. Cheryl T-W

3 and 5 pin Knitting Spools & “Weaving Dolly” (4 pin)
Weaving Dolly lessons

Hi, I just discoved 28 and 30ga fine silver wire.  I have been crocheting bracelets, with at least 15-20 Austrian lead crystal or gemstone 4mm beads, with the wire, and they are turning out really nicely.  They resemble tennis bracelets.  I also experimated and made several necklaces, two of them round cord, like what comes out of a knitting spool.  They are lacy and really pretty.


You can use a hammer to pound wires to flatten them ...hammering is usually done after any bending has taken place
...hammering will give wires quite a different look, which is sometimes more sophisticated
...whole wire items can be hammered, or just parts (spirals, shapes, coils)

Hammering wire will also make it a little stronger (anneals or hardens it) since it compresses the molecules
... however, too much hammering can make a wire brittle (especially if it's bent later?)
....also, if you hammer wires which are overlapped, it'll be okay as long as you don’t bend that “joint” later (break)

You can use a regular hammer ....or a plastic or leather headed one (jeweler's "planishing" hammer?) 
....I felt fortunate to find a hammer in a regular hardware store (as opposed to a jewellers supply shop) that had a nice shiny smooth head. I suspect it's the kind of hammer used for hammering nails into sheetrock (those types of hammers need to create a smooth shallow dimple in the sheetrock). Desiree

"anvils" or hammering plates are used underneath the wire while hammering, because most or all wires are softer than steel
...the surface of the hammer and the anvil must be as smooth as possible so you won't leave hammering marks (unless you want to have a decorative "hammered" look).

anvil sources:  
...anvils are available at jewlery suppliers ...but will prob. be $15 and up 
...various anvils at Connie Fox's site ($11 and up)
…..can get steel blocks from TSI, but they are about $15 ea. or so. 
...temporary or scrap alternative for the jeweler's anvil?
…..Tabra started hammering with the underside of the smallest iron skillet she could find (but it probably won't be totally smooth). KateDrewW
.......iron is good if you can find a bar somewhere
...what about buying an old iron (strong enough though?)
...I have found a smooth steel block to hammer on somewhat difficult to locate... they seem to be jeweller specialty items, though you can probably find something at a metalwork shop Desiree your local welding shop may be able to talk someone out of a couple for not to much $$
...the best steel block I have is approximately 4" x 4" x 3/4"... I do have a smaller one, but it rusts easily and its surface is much coarser. Desiree

Another thing I learned from Corrine Gurney is to place your wire between layers of fabric, like suede, while you are pounding. Trina

Wacketdown tool ...(2 white plastic? slabs for work hardening wire components with your hand or with a hammer)
...."hardens your piece without scratching or marring your wire. It is great for its ability to apply uniform pressure to the design with one blow."
(enter Wacketdown in search box) .

I use two steel blocks to make my own paddle pins (instead of headpins)
... I
place the ends of my wire between them (about 1/8" of the wire is between the blocks)... then I hit the block with the hammer a couple of times.  Works very well. 

Some people are really talented with a hammer, and can do (shapes) nearly the same each time.

You can flatten a twisted wire too ... to twist wire, put the loose ends of 2 wires (I use 10 to 6 gauge) about 6 ft. long in a drill chuck... loop the other end over a round bar held in a vice the trigger on your drill ...don’t over-twist.... then after twisting, take a hammer and flatten the twisted wire.
...I use this flat braid for braclets, rings, etc. Lysle?

REMEMBER.... plastic coated wire won’t work for hammering .....and most colored wires will scratch.


WigJig --makes various sizes and shapes of thick, clear plastic jigs (plastic allows you to see a pattern underneath); these use metal pegs and round, etc., plastic spacers for larger smooth curves --see below; $6-50

The Olympus WigJig is really versatile, particularly if you get the new spacers that you put on the pegs to vary the size of the

Wire Wizard (created by Corrine Gurney, "Beadlady") --slender rectanglar metal jigs, ; Universal Jig and new Deluxe Jewelry Jig (twice as many holes), spacers--$50-75

I have both plastic and metal, and like the metal one best. It has two sizes of peg and two sizs of holes. .She advertises in Bead and Button and Jewelry Crafts. Trina

lots of info & comparisons/features of several jigs at's Jewelrymaking

”Wigjig University” –loads of lessons and information

their index of jewelry design techniques

Jag Wear's patterns and lesson for using (homemade) jig

Wig Jig's wire coiling and shaping devices, wig jigs, knitting spools, hammering/flattener device ("Wacketdown"), etc.
Wig Jig's Handi-Bender for bending thicker wires (search for Handi-Bender)

Scrapbook's jig, Artistic Wire, pliers
....and book on scrapbooking using wire

Dick Blick's Wire Bending Jig (for bending thicker wires also)

(Softflex) –sells all kinds of wire-related things

Kate Drew-Wilkenson, the wire-wrap queen . . .as I understand it, came up with this jig business, at least one for making your own earwires.

making your own jig

....lesson on making a simple jig at's Jewelrymaking

.... lesson on making your own jig from wood with graph paper, using nails (an awl to punch pilot holes) at Jag Wear
Connie's simple nails and wood jig, and earrings made from it

....(lesson from my class):  To make a special shape, or one you want to repeat *exactly,* make a jig.  The best ones are made by inserting dowel pegs (I used 1/8” diameter) into pre-drilled holes in a piece of wood, but nails can also be used (get smallest heads possible!).  Draw or trace shape onto wood.  Insert peg anywhere there will be a bend (use several to make a “curve” –or use spacers, see below).  Hold the end of the (long, not too stiff) wire off to the side, near the top.  Wind wire around pegs, holding previous wire down with a pencil or eraser, etc. to prevent its lifting off the nails.  Press all wire down flat, then remove by jiggling gently and pulling up (esp. if using nails).  Cut off any extra wire.
(the WigJig people have thick-walled plastic tubes they call "spacer presses" for pressing down the wire in their jigs... the tube hole is just large enough to fit over their pegs... something similar could probably be found to fit around a nail...)

Outlines:  Use simple cookie-cutter-type shapes to copy.  Draw onto paper; begin bending, holding it against the drawing to see where the line should go next.

Spacers: make some round or square “spacers” which fit over the pegs like donuts. …the ones you can buy from might fit (check their hole diameters). . . those will allow the wire to be bent into wider loops or have squared bends, etc.  Diane B.
The Olympus WigJig is really versatile, particularly if you get the new spacers that you put on the pegs to vary the size of the curves.
…..I own the Wire Wizard, and Corrine Gurry suggested going to the hardware store and getting the plastic spacers (washers?) that fit one on top of the other.  The smallest had a hole that just fit the metal pegs in the jig.  Works great.  About .35 per spacer  :-)  Syl


Jewelry-type wire can be bought at crafts stores, but more selection will be available at bead stores and online. In addition to the less expensive wire, the latter two will also have the finer real-metal or "filled" wires.

(for online sources, see Jewelry)

Get yourself a bit of brass or copper wire, a modest set of round nose pliers, chain nose pliers, flush cutters, and have some fun! Desiree

if you have been buying your wire on spools, this tells me that you have probably been working with soft wire
.. you may learn that a harder wire is stronger and, strangely enough, easier to work with...(check out my articles in past issues  of the Lapidary Journal or my video - you will see why then) Kate Drew-Wilkinson
...(others disagree for certain uses? ... and anyway, any wire is fun!)

any wire can be made hardened by compressing the molecules in the wire
....this can be done by either hammering to harden
....or the best way is to use a draw plate to reduce the size of the wire ...i.e., if you buy soft copper in 18 gauge, using a draw plate (found in jewelry supply catalogues), draw it DOWN to 22 or even 21 gauge (this compresses the wire, makes it harder, and also lengthens the wire)

to keep some metal wires from tarnishing and to remove tarnish, use Turtle Wax Car Wax.....spread it on and then wipe it off = tarnish gone a protective shield that lasts about a year. Stone


liquid clay works great as an adhesive to hold wire loops or legs into clay --as hangers or projections, etc.

lessons on making holiday projects with wire:
all-wire Christmas "trees" from which to hang/display small ornaments ..and more ornament hooks
for making xmas ornament hooks with wire, see
Christmas > Ornaments (> ornament hook lesson)

memo holders ... photo holders... place card holders
...... can just make freestanding note holders by sticking one or more stiff wires into an interesting clay lump as a base, then bend wire end into an open-spiral shape......decorative uses can somewhat overlap functional ones
...Glenna's note holder with square wire spiral sticking up from base (covered with sculpted clay roses and leaves)
...Linda W's winter figures, holding decorative rods (with wire spiral sticking out of them) to hold a photo
....Miracle's memo holder (dinosaur eyes showing through egg hole, it's hands holding rod with alligator clip? on top for sign) lower the center of gravity of the (place card holder or) photo holder, use a shorter wire, or shape a design into the stem ....for mine, I made the hole for the wire in the raw pre-cured clay, then glued it in place afterward. Barb
...clay faces, with wire loop "antennae" for holding small memos (can attach faces to computer, door, or even dashboard with Velcro)...Confabulations' "computer buddies"

"stands" for jewelry
Celie's stand for earrings... she curves slightly a long heavy wire and forms one end into a loose spiral
... two wires like this are placed into a polymer base (and crisscrossed in the curved areas once or twice for design purposes)
DB: where are more?

can "write" with wire (21 or 20 gauge) scrolls worn as pendant, pin, barrette (see more in Letters-Inks > Lettering)
Maggie's lessons on making cursive lettering with wire ...writing names

hook-type bookmark (multi-S curved wire, with large hook formed at top end ... S end of wire placed inside pages, hook fitting over top of book .... dangling beads attached to end of hook hang outside the book along spine.... thick wire --22 g, hammered)

embellishments for use in scrapbooking (various ideas)

Tonja's looped wire embellishments on crackled foil, on frame ("table art")

is anyone out there is weaving with metal wires? (find photo) 
---see Laura Balombini or __Pina's figures with woven-wire torsos (top parts of wire torsos covered with clay sheets)

Connie's bangle bracelet lesson
Claude's large wire spirals as design elements, plus wire chain in Moroccan type dangle necklace
I made hollow filigree beads with cornstarch peanuts (dissolved out later) wrapped around a cylinder, ala Jody Bishel order to make the peanuts stay in place, I wrapped wire around them... that also gives a little sparkle inside after the peanuts are dissolved. Genevieve
earwires integral to the earring, are very popular in all the earrings in the fancy galleries, at least here where I live (rather than a loop and hook effect)
... straighten out the safety hook part of those large oversize kidney wire ear findings with pliers (kinda twist it to the side and straighten it, and bend it about til you are happy) can then sandwich that part of the wire in between layers of clay, and all sorts of other nifty ideas, just leaving the long oversize wire part to come out as a massive earwire
....or maybe, put one between the two parts of a lentil bead before you put it together (may have to put some clay inside and bake the wire into that --just thinking aloud here). Emma
.....As to when components want to twist around when worn (in the longer lengths of necklaces), the only solution I've found is to be sure to connect the components with jump rings between, rather than connecting them to each other directly.  It doesn't completely solve the problem for me, but it cuts down on it considerably.
.....(those connections weren't just simple like for a rosary, or just twisted)... each connection had two extra loops of wire -- like a simple drawing of a bee OK? -- and the whole thing was wonderful.  She has worked in jewelry for many years and just worked out her own way of doing.  The only  hint she could give me for starting was "16 Gauge brass wire from the hardware store" and just play

lesson on making a simple figure from wire + two or three pieces of corrugated cardboard

Susan B's lesson on making a tiny simple wire figure ...then (partly) clothing it with caned clay (sheet of spirals)
Marcia B’s a tiny wire body with a polymer cane slice wrapped around (square orientation) for a dress...head of wrapped wire, hair of 7 cut loops of embroidery floss (lesson gone)
Michelle R's lesson on making a small body from twisted wire (wood bead head)... filling it out with scrap white clay... dressing with cane-slices top (probaly disk, w/ slash to center), a textured/highlighted skirt piece, and a belt? to gather top ... hair is loops of embroidery floss gathered in the wire above head, trimmed at ends,1789,HGTV_3352_1399700,00.html
Debra G's art figure in shadow box... mostly wrapped wire, with polymer head and hands,1789,HGTV_3237_3417221,00.html
twisted wire + cloth tape + polyfill padding sheets (+ some epoxy clay) to make a flexible puppet or figure
(for little bead people made from wire and beads --clay or not clay-- see Sculpting-Body > Various More Jointed-Dangle)

Domicreative's weird little 2-ball creatures with added metal and wire pieces as arms, eyes, antennas, bellies, etc.

lesson on making cute bugs and suns, etc., (mostly flat) by bending wires into shapes
... then sandwiching parts of the wires with clay shapes for bodies, e.g., leaving arms/legs/etc.sticking out
.....(from Design Originals book "Down to the Wire")

After some experimenting, I have found that bug legs (fabulous 1 1/2 to 2" bugs are best made with 22 gauge Artistic Wire (many colors), or a 24 gauge black wire I found at Hobby Lobby from a company called "Crafts Etc!" (
... these wires are strong enough to hold up the bug body, yet I can bend the foot loop with my fingers. Fayette
...Donna Kato's straight and coiled wire "antennae" with thick cane slices or clay balls on the end of each (telephonec wire)
...Joann's lesson on making some wire butterflies with several beads for the body (gone?)
..(see many more amazing bugs with wire legs, etc., in Kids > Animals > Bugs )

sculpture or other? ...lesson on "covering" a large flat shape made from shaped wire, with a "layer" of panty hose to fill in the negative space
......could be done with a decorative sheet of clay instead of the panty hose though
...(each end of the long wire was embedded into a block of wood... then the wire "loop" was shaped)
...clay sheets simulating wood, stone, or metal would be interesting too ...

Ai-Ping attaches all her pearls and beads into and onto her jewelry or other pieces with wire for strength
I wire my beads into the clay too, but I usually use several beads in a row so it's not a big deal to thread wire thru them. Susan

Ai Ping's pearls and wiggling wire coils (but could use seed beads) wired into tops and interior bottoms of boxlike pins-pendants in various ways
... she also has a very clever contruction technique for using wire to create beads or wire coils "stalks", which wave around in a window layer, held on a wire staple shape ...some are also stable
(see full lesson on these in Vessels > Closed Construction Boxes) (photos)

Can you foil wrap and solder around polymer clay? Gail
...I've wire-wrapped baked clay ... then soldered the wire ends together
.... for some pieces, I've soldered the wires together into a sort of cage set into grooves around the bodies. I did all the soldering at the back of the pieces - I've learned that of course the clay will brown if the iron is held near it for too long! Hence all the joins at the back out of sight, just in case... for added security, I also applied 5 minute epoxy over the soldered joints (and the soldered-on suspension loop)... It seems to work quite well.
......however, if one were to slip a small sheet of aluminium foil under the wire to be soldered and over the clay - at least some of the radiant and conducted heat would be sunk away from the clay - well worth a try.... thanks for the idea.
.......I don't see why one can't use copper, brass or silver foil instead of wire - pewter would probably melt rather than solder well unless one had plenty of practice working with it of course. ...Note though that most 'gold and silver' leaf and foil available to crafters is actually anodised aluminium which is notoriously hard to solder - better to use superglue for them. Alan (many foils are plastic too)

lots of info + lessons on using wire in lots of ways ... see's Jewelrymaking ...+ message board/newsletter

(for covering wire completely with clay make trees or figures, or any other items
...see Armatures > Wire ...Houses-Structures > Scenery, Landscaping, Trees ...Halloween > Scenes, Dioramas, Houses --dead trees)

wrapping + outlining

wire "wrapping" is a popular way to create embellishment and a "hanger" for various gemstones, crystals (or polymer beads)
Micki’s lesson on doing a simple wrap/holder/top loop for a flat oval stone (or whatever)
photos of different types of wire wrapped beads & stones
links to wire wrapping websites
Cris's many fancier wire wraps and embellishments on pendants
NixCreations' many fancy wire-wrapped pendants (...also click on other pages under the category "Wrap It Up")
Tonja's wire-wrapped pendants (can't find now)
Dawn C's leaves and round slices, onlaid onto pendants over the middle of a multi-curved wire shape (inaccessible?)

...The wire either gets kinks in it, or scratched up.. one time I ended up breaking the bead! Jen
....When wrapping wire around something, I think some of it depends on the wire you are using. You want it soft enough to wrap well, but not so much that you mark it easily. Mine was done with 20g wire. If you wrap your pliers with some tape (duct tape, electrical tape etc) it can help you keep a good grip without marking up your wire. Also I use tape wrapped hemostats for holding on to the piece when needed. As far as kinks go, I try to do the wrap without twisting the wire too much, turning the bead instead of trying to twist the wire around it. ...I too have broken a bead before, mostly cause I was trying to force a too stiff wire around it... Here are the two websites I got my wrapping instructions from. follow the wig jig university link Elise
...when i wrap a crystal, i make the bale loop first, and secure it with several twists, hold that against the crystal, and then swirl the wire around the crystal, being sure to catch the tip of the crystal with a loop, then cross the wire back up, and add the final touches to finish the top.  For extra added security, i put a touch of superglue on the tip, but if you use a big enough gage wire, you shouldn't have too much problem
...I wrap shark teeth in silver and gold wire.  The pendants are added to beaded necklaces like fetishes or worn on leather lace.  I'm looking for other natural things to make into wire pendants, too.  This is a hobby for me now, down the road-who knows.  I'm interested in hearing from others who work with wire.  Everything I know comes from books and practice.  AndiSE
...…wrapping pearl and bead rings; sterling silver and gold-filled wire. The best to use is dead soft, I found.

hangers ...Tonja's lesson on bending wire around the neck of a tiny bottle to hang as a pendant

outline a whole clay shape with a wire "frame"
(using plain wire, or a wrapped wire, or wire with various beads strung on it)
....adhere it with super glue (for pendants, ornaments, etc.)
... or, if you are into time-consuming you could carve a groove with a gouge which is what I'd do for jewelry. could use metal craft wire, or (more easily) PVC coated wire like phone wire or a plain (white?) wire. This would work as both decorative trim and a way to get a loop for hanging.  Linda Goff
….what is a good gauge wire to use as the 'inside' (core) wire that is wrapped with the artistic wire?  Dianne C.
…..Linda (Goff) used copper or brass 20 ga. for inside wire or main frame, and 28 ga. for wrapping.  Geo
.....Linda Goff’s fabulous wire outlined items (click also on Wire 2, Wire 3, and Wire 4 for many wonderful examples)
...Karen G's similar random clay squiggles and shapes onlaid on animal shapes outlined with wrapped wire (with occasional beads interspersed on wire)
...Jenny's version of Linda's w/ plain wire + Helen Pope’s (some strung w/ tiny beads) (sites gone)

Desiree's lesson on making an wire-frame outline
(with plain brass wire, creating 2 loops at top --wire wrapped together to close the wire frame, or soldered-- plus 1 loop at bottom, for danglies?) (more in Pendants >Top Loops > frame w/ loops)

Desiree's wire-frame outlines around pendants, beads (lesson just above)
... also woven wire ...wire inlays...wire coils ...chain maille, etc, used with clay

Desiree's wire-frame outlines + more wire ("dressed socialite" figures out On the Town)


wires can be used as dividers to create cell outlines in raw clay sheets
... spaces between the wires can then be filled in with many things, depending on the height of the wires sticking out of the clay

liquid clays (tinted or with inclusions, or not)
... this is often done on glass (for a removable piece, like wings, or left in place)... or it can be done on clay.
..... liquid clay is then spread between the wires, coloring the cells .... then baked at 300 for most clarity
...Wendy's lesson on making multiple-component wings held together with liquid clay between them, forming cells ...each component is a S-shaped 20 ga. wire (strung with seed beads & ending with 1 larger bead)... Pearl Ex added to back side after baking... she also may use floral wire instead of beading regular wires

if you want the "wires" to stay better... when you bake them into the clay, paint a thin layer of liqiud clay on each side and where they meet the clay.... the liquid clay will also help to fill any gap as well as help anchor the wires
. . .metal expands and contracts differently than the clay, and this would help hold the wire in place as the clay is cooling. Patty B.

lesson ...I made some interesting wire shapes, and hammered them flat
......pressed the flattened wires (thin side up) into clay sheets which had been lightly textured (of various shapes)
......then I painted the shaped spaces between the wires with Pearl Ex .... baked
......started prying the wire up to add some liquid clay to make a strong bond between the wire and the clay
.........but as I am pulling the wire off, I am thinking they may look good without the wire too (with the black background clay of the indentions not covered up, and assuming the wire shape). Kellie (inspired by a Mike Buesseler pin)
...Dotty's lesson on doing the same (with wire), using a small paintbrush to apply the Pearl Ex,2025,DIY_13762_2921641,00.html
...wire for these could also be left round... or wire shape could be formed then hammered and used hammered side up
...other materials could probably be used instead of the wire too
......e.g, a smooth piece of twine, perhaps (lay it down on the clay in a design, and then brayer the twine down into the clay.... texture...apply pearlex...gently remove the twine) Kellie
..if wire is removed, could also backfill the empty indentions with clays or tinted liquid clays
..I bet the effect could look wonderful if the wire was pressed into a clay covered votive, leaving a thin area for the light to shine through where the wire was pressed in (then removed). Darla
...spaces could also be painted with mica powders in a carrier (Future, Varathane, etc.)
...Eugena uses mixtures of mica-shift powders (final metallics not as bright), painted in between her more complex wire shapes (flowers, etc.), often on highly-polished black clay

(for all info re putting runnier liquids in cells of wire or thin clay ropes, etc., see Liquid Clay > Cells)


online groups

beadandbutton's message board --"Shaping Wire"
go to and subscribe to Tammy Powell's wire newsletter. It has tips and tricks, and projects. There are several message boards, too, and lots more information on wire. Caroline in San Diego
(....I'm sure there are lots more)

Preston Reuther's website: "Gold Wire Sculpting System" ----loads of stuff; lessons, supplies, books/videos, message boards, etc.) (shows many wire techniques too)
....I fell in love with Preston Reuther’s wire  work, initially, and have the entire set of his videos.  I've tried to grow and expand my repetoire, as his style is a bit fancy for some tastes.  Marti


Design Originals just came out with a new publication called "Classy Clay with Rubber Stamps and Wire". There are many projects using Fun Wire and artistic wire including... [drum roll] Mine! hee hee [puffing chest a bit] All five of the contributing artists in the publication are from my guild so this just makes so proud of our guild - South Bay Polymer Clay Guild. Desiree McCrorey

Take a look at Barbara McGuire's new book on wire.  "Wire in Design : Modern
... Barb McGuire put together a good one too, it features many people's work including Lynne Merchant, who is the best in the business--she teaches classes in San Diego, if you ever get a chance do take one; Lynne is marvelous. Sarajane

I've been very interested in wirework and collected as many books as possible. "All Wired Up" is one of the best written, explained and graphic-ed wire books out there, IMHO. Get yourself a bit of brass or copper, a modest set of round nose pliers, chain nose pliers, flush cutters and have some fun! Desiree
...I have about 5 different books on wire working and the most helpful to me was "all wired up" by Mark Lareau . . . it has very clear instructions and illustrations. Kellie
...I agree . . . He is a hoot as well as a good teacher. Libby

Wire Art & Mixed Media"  I had a chance to read it while at The Muse.  (I have a small piece in there somewhere)  I think it's an excellent book and should give clayers a lot of good ideas. . . . Check out Laura Bombolini's work using the clay and wire!  She was my Synthesis partner at The Muse and graciously showed me how to do the kind of work she does. I think this link should get you there, but if not, just go to and do a search. Dotty

I not only purchased Kate's book Basic Wire Work (Kate Drew Wilkinson), .....but I got to watch her do her "thing" to wire, in person !! And  boy, does she teach well  !!!  Check out her  2 part article in the August and September Lapidary Journals.  The way she explains her techniques in the magazine, is ALMOST as good as getting to watch her in the flesh !

Making Wire Jewelry, by Helen Clegg from Synopsis
Inexpensive jewelry-gauge wire is readily available in craft shops. With simple pliers, it can be shaped into intricate shapes. This  entry-level book provides complete, step-by-step instructions for 60 different pieces of jewelry anyone can make color photos. 300 actual size how-to  drawings.  I know it's on my list..Jane

I've been doing wire work for years now and I like Creative Wire Jewelry by Kathy Peterson. frostysb

A student of mine brought in a new book called Textile Techniques in Metal by Arline M Fisch. Published by Lark Press.
Unique and wonderful stuff in it: crocheting with wire, weaving, coils- a lot of interesting techniques.. . . .and was just recently reprinted.  I got mine at Border's... The difference is only in how you link them together.

Check out the "Complete Metalsmith" by Tim McCreight. There is also a few books on making chain mail.

If you love to work with wire and have been looking for Celtic designs, look no further! To send for detailed instructions to create three Celtic Designs comprised of spirals and knots just send $10.00 and a legal sized, self addressed, stamped envelope to: Celtic Jewelry, 732 S. W. 3rd Suite #403,  Portland , OR 97204


shorter books (from Design Originals)

# 3344 Classy Clay with Rubber Stamps & Wire, by Kim Korringa, Debbie Anderson, Desiree McCrorey, ____,____ (rubber stamps, metal boxes, hinges, wire embellishments, etc.; accessories and jewelry) $7.99

# 5136 Stamping Polymer Clay & Wire, by 8 authors ( jewelry, postcards, metal boxed, books, etc; rippling, antiqueing, stamping, coloring,etc.) $12.99

#3301 Clay & Wire Whimsies (all ages; birds, people, animals, holiday decor, spooky characters; mostly with clay bodies and long wire legs, some wire accessories) $6.99

(not polymer oriented)

# 5151 Magic with Metal Mesh & Wire, by Jana Ewy (jewelry, candles, accessories, etc.) $12.99

# 3324 ABC's of Metal & Wire (starter projects, window hangers, jewelry projects; tips and techniques for patinas, antiquating, crimping, punching, folding, cutting and shaping metal sheets and wire into versatile items) $6.99

videos & DVDs

Kate Drew-Wilkenson has a wonderful video out, called Basic Wire Work for Bead Jewelry. She is a wonderful teacher, very detail oriented, and a real nice lady, to boot !!!  ...and she even has a sort of cocky attitude, which I like in a person !!  ;o})
.....  I'm pretty sure that you can contact her at KateDrewW@aol. or......write to her at:  Kate Drew-Wilkenson Designs, PO Box 1803, Bisbee, Az  85603 (602)432-7117

Wire Wizard Video Notebook, I (Corrine Gurney, Beadlady): "tools, tool preparation, all phases of jigging, making fancy "s" clasps with beads embedded in them, how to make your own jump rings, figure eights, simple chain and more. The jigging segment covers fancy chain elements, ornaments, pins, ear wires, how to do variations on a theme and other key tips to make wirework easier and tremendously gratifying. Many examples of jewelry made with Wire Wizard jigs are also shown. A full hour and forty-five minutes long, this is a complete wireworking class on tape. It is $39.95 plus shipping of $4. Order by phone, fax, e-mail or snail mail (digitally recorded, available in PAL format also).
tape and testimonials: and

"Gold Wire Sculpting System" ...Preston Reuther (mostly for sale? ...lessons, supplies, books/videos, message boards, etc.)
....I fell in love with Preston Reuther’s wire  work, initially, and have the entire set of his videos.  I've tried to grow and expand my repetoire, as his style is a bit fancy for some tastes.  Marti

"Wirework a New Way" ...Corrine Gurney's Coiling Gizmo instructional video, titled produced by LeRoy Goertz (of The Refiner's Fire), at $24.95 plus shipping and handling.
LeRoy Goertz "Coiling Gizmo" … you can turn wire into intricate beads
Wire Coiling Gizmo, plus video tape on various ways to use the coils, ~$13

CD ROMs (purchase)
Wigjig’s CD Roms with info on techniques and design (from the Wigjig University)

RENTING DVD's ...various wire and jewelry-related videos ($10 for one week)


(see Jewelry for most of the listings of suppliers, or above)



Rebecca N's uses of wire in various ways
Desiree's wire connectors & architecture & wire wrapping, wire weaving (blue onlay, and many others)
Xtine's cane slice beads, each branching off (with twisted wire) from a central twisted wire

Catherine’s wire separators for inlays, & spirals (website gone)
James L’s twsited and non-twisted wire wraps for pendants (gone?)
Garie’s mobiles, “movement” card, etc., using wire..
mobiles, various kinds & Calder
Marcia B’s a tiny wire body with a polymer cane slice wrapped around (square orientation) for a dress...head of wrapped wire, hair of 7 cut loops of embroidery floss (gone)
Susan B's lesson on making a tiny simple wire figure ...then (partly) clothing it with caned clay (sheet of spirals)

lesson on making a simple figure from wire and two or three pieces of corrugated cardboard (head and body, or chest and pelvis), which can then be posed or "play baseball" etc.... head has drawn face
....other ways to use colored plastic-covered wire with clay (or with other things) for figures, etc. ....
Faun's tiny figures (some with wire hair
  (website gone)

Owen's wire figures, more wire (website gone)
Grandma T’s large wire loops creating angel with pearl head... pumpkin with leaves (craft wire)
Julia S's wire architecutre for pendants
*Annie's wire loops with beads around hearts, wrapped, etc. (website gone)
Dotty McMillan’s color photo transfer pins with wire (gone?)
Preston Reuther's gallery of fancy wire jewlery, created by Home Jewelers around the World

fabulous all-wire "sculptures" --animals, nature objects, masks, etc.

Annie's misc. wire things (whole fish and smaller doodads) (website gone)

(see alsoMixing Media, Jewelry, Pendants, Armatures, Wire Play class,    )