Making Memory Wire Jewelry

Lee Dobbins
 


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Making jewelry is a fun hobby and for some can become a full time business. At the very least, you will be able to make gorgeous and unique jewelry to wear and give as gifts. As with any hobby, you need to start with the basics and using memory wire to make jewelry is a method that requires a bit less skill than some of the others. Memory wire jewelry does not need a clasp or fancy crimping and one size fits all.

Memory wire is flexible wire that springs back to it’s original form when not stretched - kind of like a slinky. It comes in necklace, bracelet and ring sizes. You simply cut off a section to the size you want and string on beads!

Of course, the first step (and the most fun) is to decide on the beads! Some people are inspired by artisan made lampwork beads, others by gemstones beads and still others by the vast array of crystal beads. Some like to use all of the above in their beaded jewelry designs! You are only limited by your own imagination and there is no “wrong” combination of beads so choose the beads that “speak” to you and incorporate them into your design.

To make beaded jewelry using memory wire, you will need:

1. A tool that cuts the memory wire (can be found in any bead supply store - don’t use regular wire cutters as you will soon ruin them!)
2. The memory wire (sold in packages where you can get 2 or 3 pieces of jewelry out of each package)
3. Needle nose pliers
4. The beads!

Step 1 - Cut the memory wire to size. For a bracelet or ring, decide how many times you want it to wrap around your wrist or finger - wrap the wire right around your own wrist and cut to size. A necklace can only go around your neck once (well, you could probably make it to wrap around a couple times but I think it would be hard to get on and off). You want to size it so that the ends overlap a bit.

Step 2 - Now you need to close up one end so that the beads don’t slide off. Take the tip of your needle nose pliers and place them right at the very end of the wire. Now take the wire in your other hand and bend it around the pliers. The wire is pretty hard, so this might be difficult and yoy may have a hard time with this at first. Try practicing on some smaller pieces first until you can make a perfect little loop. Make sure the loop is closed off so no beads can escape. Don’t worry - if you screw up you can just cut off the end and try again! You want the loop to be as small as possible so it doesn’t detract from our design

Some people also glue on little silver end cap beads. While this looks a bit better, you run the risk of the glue not holding and all your beads sliding off. This happened to me once and is why I use the loop method. To make the loops look a bit snazzier, I just dangle a bead from them!

Step 3 - String the beads! If you are making a necklace that has a certain design or focal piece in the middle, you will have to be careful to space the beads exactly so that they are symmetrical and the focal piece is in the exact middle.

Step 4 - Close the other end. Using the method in step 2, close up the other end and you are done!

Lee Dobbins is a jewelry designer and owner of Artisan Jewelry Online where you can read more about jewelry making .

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