February 6, 2012

Wire Basics: Gauge / Diameter

Before you can buy your wire to make rings, you'll need to know a little bit about wire gauge.  The gauge is the diameter of the wire.  Typical wire gauges used in jewelry making range from 32 gauge (abbreviated g) to 10 gauge.  The higher the gauge, the thinner the wire will be.  It would be difficult to make a wire ring with anything thinner than 26 gauge.

Unfortunately, I can't say there is a 'typical' size wire for rings.  A big part of the reason for this blog is to experiment with designs using different types, sizes, colors of wire and different types of beads.  For now, know that you will need multiple sizes of wire in order to make rings.  I typically use 18-26g but I know lots of people who prefer heavier jewelry and don't use anything thinner than 22.  Invest in a few different sizes and you can't go wrong.

Let me know what size wire you typically use for rings.  I love get different ideas!

February 5, 2012

Wire Needed to Make Wire Rings

Before you can start to make wire rings, you will need some wire.  Ideally, you want some jewelry grade wire.  There are so many options these days, it is really easy to get started with this as a hobby.  Your choice probably depends on the look you want to achieve or on your eventual jewelry making goals.  I recommend you consider the following types of wire to start learning:
- Colored Craft Wire: These are usually copper base with a (semi) permanent layer of color.  The color can scratch off though, so you need to be careful.  It's a good way to learn to be careful with your tools.  Some to try are Artistic Wire by Beadalon or ParaWire.
- Copper Wire:  Just like it sounds, this is solid copper wire.  If you want to save money you can buy electrical wire by the yard at a Home Center and strip it.  If you buy the really thick wire, you'll find that you'll get several different gauges at once.  I'll have to post more about this later.
- Sterling or Gold-Plated wire or Nickel Silver Wire:  All of these are great substitutes for precious metal wires and can look like the real thing.  I like the Beadalon brand.  It is slightly more brittle than sterling, but otherwise very similar to work with.
Colored Artistic Wire

Absolutely avoid plastic coated wires (telephone wire) or wire from the craft store that has a coating on it.  It can be hard to detect the coating, but this wire is totally unusable for anything but the most amateur jewelry making.  It does not have enough stiffness to simulate more expensive wires so doesn't give you the experience you need and your projects will not hold their shape.  It's just a waste or your time and money.

February 3, 2012

10 Reasons for the Make Wire Rings Blog

1.  To improve my jewelry making skills
2.  To explore a particular style (rings) to its fullest possible extent
3.  To have a visual diary of how small changes impact a final design
4.  To provide design alternatives when you don't have the materials a design calls for
5.  To help others learn to make wire rings
6.  To expand my creativity and help others do the same
7.  To dedicate my time towards a goal
8.  To meet other people who like to make jewelry
9.  To get feedback on my designs and concepts
10. To provide (and get) helpful tips that make jewelry making easier and more satisfying or improve the final result.

I hope you share at least some of my goals when you are reading this blog.  Please take the time to tell me what your goals are in reading this blog and in jewelry making so I can make it as helpful and fun to read as possible.